Sunday, September 29, 2013
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Today started early with breakfast at Black Bear Diner. Chosen because it was open at 6 am, it delivered on a hearty diner breakfast. The 7 grain granola pancakes were the best I have ever had. We headed back to the house for one more walk through the vineyard. Then headed to our first appointment: Cosentino. Ryan led us upstairs to the new private tasting room. It is gorgeous! Ryan quickly picked up on our sarcastic laid back style so we had a lot of fun tasting the wines. We were so impressed with all their wines:
2011 The Novelist - A well balanced Sauvignon Blanc. Good fruit but not too acidic.
2011 The Zin - We called this a Zin for Florida. It had the great characteristics of the Zinfandel grape without the heaviness.
2009 Bacigalupi Chardonnay - This reserve Chardonnay is fantastic. It is creamy with just slight notes of oak. It almost unseats the BV Reserve Chardonny as our favorite...almost. The interesting note about this wine is rhat it is from the vineyards that created the wines that put California on the map in 1979 as told in the movie Bottle Shock.
2009 Poet Meritage - We love how every winery has a claim to be being the first for something. Here they claim the first "meritage". A contest was held to come up with a new name for American Bordeaux blends. Meritage - a mix of heritage and we think merit. It is a fantastic wine. Smooth, fruity. Again, the balance really impressed us.
2010 Reserve Merlot - Another great wine. They smoothed the edges without losing the Merlot characteristics.
2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc - Best wine of the trip hands down. It is single vineyars. Unique, well balanced.
Cosentino also has a gorgeous barrel room for private events or barrel tastings. We are definitely going to try one of those in the future.
We had about an hour before our lunch reservation so we headed up to another favorite: Provenance. We had loved their blend last time, but this time the 2010 Merlot took the cake. We wound our way back towards Mustards' Grill with a brief stop at Silver Oak to try their 2009 Cabs - one from Napa Valley and one from Alexander Valley. The wines were very good. We liked the Napa Valley ones slightly better.
Lunch at Mustards Grill was fantastic. The service was superb. We had the corn tamales and ahi tuna chips for appetizers. The tamales were excellent - soft, well seasoned and full of corn flavor. The ahi chips were good, but the wasabi alioli was very strong and overwhelmed the tuna flavor. For entrees, we had the pork chop and rib eye special. Both were good. The star of the meal was the chocolate dessert: a bittersweet chocolate tart, espresso ice cream, caramel sauce and hazelnut brittle. Itnis the best dessert I have ever had. The lemon-lime tart with a huge meringue was also delicious. The service was fantastic. A great meal.
After lunch, we headed to Charles Krug. I never knew Krug was part of the Mondavi family. It was the original winery. Robert and his brother Peter had a falling out over the future of the business and Robert left to start his own winery. In his nineties, Peter still runs the Krug winery. We enjoyed the white wines here - especially the 2010 Chardonnay. They are in the midst of a major renovation of their tasting room. They are adding a deli and a lot more space.
After Krug, we headed back to San Fran. Thankfully traffic was a little better. We met up with Devon (nephew) and Nick at Hillside Supper Club. The food was very good. However, it was sadly comical that everything Nick tried to order had just run out. The best dish was the King Salmon. It had a fantastic crispy skin, but perfectly cooked with a great pesto sauce. One of the best salmon dishes I have ever had. It was an awesome dinner filled with lots of story telling and laughing.
We headed to the Marriott near the airport. Monday we had the long trek home.
Overall, the trip was amazing. We knew we would have great wine. We weren't expecting all the great food. We have a great life.