Archive for Napa Valley
As Sacramento’s Beer Week approaches, I’ve got bubbles on my mind… although not necessarily of the hoppy kind just yet.
Now, I know that not everyone loves – or even likes champagne. At first taste, I didn’t really like it all that much, to be honest. But when I realized champagne reminds me of celebration – and always wanting to see life as a celebration – a whole new world began opening up for me. So I began tasting more deliberately, slowly, methodically… and eventually got hooked on all those tiny bubbles. I also found a few girlfriends (Mom included) who were into the “celebratory” nature of champagne too, and a husband who could certainly appreciate a glass when put in front of him without hogging my bottle (hello, match made in Heaven).
So as we prepare to head out of town for our semiannual Napa/Sonoma/Calistoga/Yountville/St. Helena wine tasting trip, I am tempted to hit the sparkling wine trail (http://www.winecountrygetaways.com/champagne.html) at the expense of all those “flatter”, less-pop-when-you-cork-’em wines. But I’ll probably let my more spontaneous and adventurous nature lead me wherever it will ~ to zins, pinots, chardonnays, sauvignons, and all those varietals I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting.
For Sparkling Sacramento, try:
Sparkling Cocktails at Lounge on 20 – http://www.loungeon20.
Champagne Brunch aboard the Hornblower – http://www.hornblower.com/hce/port/overview/sac+champagne
Or get pampered while sipping champagne (I can only hope) at The Champagne Parlour – http://www.thechampagneparlour.com
There’s hardly any disputing that the lush, fertile Napa Valley is gorgeous. It’s also a well-known fact that wine tasting in this region is popular and prolific. But crowds, hefty tasting fees and being herded like cattle can detract from the pleasantness of the trip… unless you know a few little secrets and are willing to experiment.
First of all, avoid the weekends, if at all possible. Second, avoid the main drag and head someplace with back country roads like Calistoga. Third, get a wine map (complimentary at many places in the area) and chart a route if you really want to visit specific wineries. Fourth, since tasting fees are the norm here (typically $10-20 per person), consider sharing a glass with your partner and maybe actually buying some wine. Most places will waive the tasting fee if you make a purchase. Fifth, be friendly with the pourers. If they think you actually like wine -and aren’t just out for a free party – they might ignore the fee altogether. And finally, if the parking lot is full and the place resembles an amusement park, consider skipping it for someplace more intimate. Your chances at learning a lot more about wine and possibly even making new friends skyrocket when you meander off the beaten path and slow down long enough to really savor each sip.