Sunday, April 16, 2006

Spring Break Part III: Napa Valley

Saturday morning's weather forecast showed sunny weather in Napa. Unfortunately, it rained the entire day. But it wasn't rainy rain where you can stay dry under your umbrella. It was that kind of continuous mist, the kind where you're not allowed to use your umbrella unless you're extremely prissy and you have some sort of small dog in a Burberry carrier. Ok, so I admit I can be extremely prissy, but at least I don't have a designer rat dog. (No offense to rat dog owners...I am open to all rat dogs.)

Ok, where was I, Oh Napa. Well, like the weather, Napa wasn't what I expected. I think I'm just so used to quaint Los Olivos. But unlike Los Olivos, Napa is massive. Gargantuousauras! What our family saw on Saturday is only a miniscule experience of all that Napa has to offer. So today, I give your our mini tour. It's so tiny. Chisai~!

Our first stop was Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. I was really excited for the cheapest alternative to the
Thomas Keller's French Laundry experience. (*Note, I am a cheap eats kind of woman...knowledge of $210+ meals only come from reading other food blogs...cough..EatDrinkNBMerry!) Anyways, unfortunately, Bouchon Bakery didn't have any seating, so we quickly left. Instead, our starving stomachs ended up going to Ranch Market Too for some quick deli sandwiches.

The Haven...Bouchon roll, roasted turkey, red onions,
missing grilled peppers, lettuce, pesto, balsamic vinagrette

The girls working at Ranch Market Too could of cared less about our sandwiches. My dad said, "No mayo please!" and they gave him a sandwich with mayo. She was convinced he said, "No mustard" and even asked my dad to prove it by showing her the sandwich slip she filled out. She also missed my grilled peppers in my sandwich. By that time, I just didn't care. Baaah!

After filling up on whatever sandwiches, we were back on the 29 ready to taste wine!
Our first stop was Peju Province

Peju Province's tastings are a lot different from the usual tasting protocal. Instead of budging into a crowd and flagging someone down, a la bar style, Peju conducts their tastings in sets of groups. When enough people come in they gather everyone together in a nice snug mosh pit and then begin their tastings. Our man conducting the tasting was very entertaining without being annoying, and very informative without being boring. I learned a lot of cool stuff about Peju Province. Their wine was very very yummy. First, we started off with their chardonnay. Peju's Chardonnay is both buttery and fruity. I liked to think of it as the Porterhouse Steak of wines! It's got the best of both worlds. We also bought some of their Provence, a mix of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and French Colombard, which is to be served cold! At first all of us were skeptical about this wine. Served cold??? But, man, that first sip was so refreshing. Umm...think Minute Maid Fruit Punch, but bougie-er! Trust me, it's good. Perfect for our summer bbq's! (Thanks Dylan for the rec!)

I wanted to spend most of our wine time in the Carneros portion of Napa. Carneros is the area known for their Pinot Noirs. I love my Pinots!

Ok next stop, Artesa Winery! Welcome to the 80's everyone. I really don't know what to think about Artesa. It's either you love it or you hate it. I think I'd love it, if I were wearing a leggings and red patent-leather pumps. Ok ok, the outside of Artesa was interesting. Someone please visit Artesa and give me a second opinion. It was just wierd. I felt like I was watching MacGyver. Well, ended up not tasting at Artesa. We just weren't feeling Artesa.

Goodbye Artesa!

Our last stop in our short trip to Napa was Bouchaine Winery, another Carneros winery focusing mostly on Pinots! Bouchaine is a hidden gem, definitely off the Hwy 29 beaten track. Bouchaine's tasting room is pretty small, but it's nice and personal. They also had some delicious cheeses and crackers. There was one apricot cheese they had, my goodness, so~o yummy. The girl standing next to me and I ended up cutting up huged chunks of the cheese and then giggled away! For $10, we tasted 4 Chardonnay's, 1 rosé and 5 Pinots. Yumm! We left very very happy!

I wanted to hit up Acacia Winery on the way home. But instead, I was shoved into the car and told, "No more Jeni!" Sniff. Maybe next time.

Ranch Market Too
6498 Washington Street
Yountville, Ca 94599
(707) 944-2662
www.ranchmarketsnapavalley.com

Peju Winery
8466 St. Helena Hwy
Rutherford, CA. 94573
(707) 963-3600
www.peju.com

Artesa Winery
1345 Henry Road
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 224-1668

www.artesawinery.com

Bouchaine Winery
1075 Buchli Station Road
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 252-9065

www.bouchaine.com

Here are some resources I used to learn more about Napa:
Interactive Map of Napa
Food & Wine's article on Napa's 14 Subregions (AVA's)

6 comments:

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Sorry to hear the weather didn't work out for you. But even SORRIER to hear of the horrible service you got at that place. It really burns me when I the server or counterperson has the audacity to question what the customer ordered- even IF the customer made a mistake (which, in this case certainly did not) it's in the best interest of the establishment to make the customer happy. I just sent your review to their customer service department- I know I know- it sounds rash but seriously- you're in friggin Wine Country and they treat you like that? Obnoxios!!

Jeni said...

TAG...aaww..thank you for thinking of us! I know, the service at the Market put a slight damper on our day. I wish I had the guts to complain, but my dad always taught us not to. Always enryo!

rick james said...

boo!!! to rat dogs and their high maintenance owners!!

Hurray for the Drunk Tommy Burger Pannini Siblings!!!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

jeni, i'm glad you liked Peju. we should join the wine club! we can blog about the same wines.

Jeni said...

DCCF...haha...yea, I don't understand how the rat dogs survive. Even with a sweater on, rat dogs still shiver. Whatever happened to natural selection? Oh...and I'm very happy that you consider my brother and I as the Tommy Burger Panini Siblings. What an awesome title!

Dylan...the wine club is very very tempting. I just wish I lived closer so I can frequent the winery for free tastings. I'm going up again for Memorial Day weekend, I'm not sure if my brother wants to go to Napa...but I'd love to check out more of the Carneros wineries for Pinots!

Jen said...

Artesa is my favorite winery! I always make a stop there whenever I'm in Carneros :). It never ceases to take my breath away...killer Pinot too (get the Reserve =)...

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