Saturday, April 23, 2016

Napa 2016 - V. Sattui

 We decided to visit Napa in the spring this year.  We usually go in the fall, but sprint worked out better for us.  It is my new favorite time to visit!  It was very beautiful!

We awoke at 4 AM to catch our flight and arrived in the Napa Valley around noon.  First stop: V. Sattui.  We had forgotten until we arrived, but we had been there years ago.
 Their tasting room was really hopping even before noon.
 I love this photo of my wife.  The first taste of wine really helped us forget the early morning awaking and flight.
 I had no idea they held river cruises.
 Their barrel room.
 We hadn't eaten since we left San Diego, so we were starved.  We bought an Italian sandwich that was phenomenal!  The other sandwich was great also, but the side dishes were so-so.
 We ate out in their grass area.
 My wife by the fountain.
 A passerby offered to take our photo.
Our rental car - a Fiat 500X.  That car was great fun!

Napa 2016 - Cairdean Winery

 Next we went to the Cairdean Winery.  This is a new place at the north end of the valley, so it is relatively undiscovered at this point.
 It has a Celtic thing going on, since that is the background of the owner.

 It is a beautiful winery with a restaurant and art gallery in the same complex.
 The fountain is the most beautiful feature.

Napa 2016 - Chateau Montelena

 This is the property of Chateau Montelena - the most beautiful property in Napa Valley in my opinion.  Upon exiting the car, this is the first thing we saw.
 Taking a few more steps, the building looks almost castle-like.
 A better view.
 Steps leading to the chateau.
 My wife after the climb.
 The tasting room.
 The wines were mostly reds, so I did not get a tasting myself.
 The property has been a vineyard since about 1886,  but was really put on the map after winning first place in a international contest in Paris in 1976 for their Chardonnay.

 Tasting complete, we decide to explore the property.
 I bought a new camera for this trip, a Canon SX60 HS, which has a 65x zoom.  Let's test it out.  Standing still, this is the scene with no zoom.
 Zooming in from the same spot, here is how the camera does.  Pretty amazing, and this isn't even at full zoom.  Much better than my old Canon SX20.
 Since it is spring, plants were blooming everywhere!

 My beautiful wife.
 Now a few shots of the property.

 Yes, they are alive.

 Back at the parking lot.

Napa 2016 - Castello di Amorosa

 Castello di Amorosa is a castle built in 2007 in the old European style, mimicking castles from around 1300.
 We arrived mid-afternoon and had this view.
An out-building.

 My wife.
 Yours truly.
 We decided to purchase the tasting and tour.  It was fairly expensive, but worth it in our opinion.  It includes a tour of the entire building including the multi-level basement.

 There were many interesting details on the buildings.

 There were several - I don't want to say fake, how about emulated? - features on the building to make it look rebuilt over the years.  They actually looked okay and will look even better as they naturally age in the coming years.  But a room that looked particularly cheesy to me was this one.  The frescoes were of very poor quality and included a few sophomoric details.  I won't spoil what they are, you'll have to see them yourselves.

 Someone was flying a drone overhead.  If you look closely, it is visible in this shot.

 Now the business end of the property.

 This is the staging area.
 Sheep on the hill.
 A Tesla - nice touch.

 A barrel room.

Heading into the basements.  Ready?  Let's go!