Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Life is too short ...

We had the delightful pleasure this past week of joining some friends for "a little" wine tasting out in beautiful Napa Valley. (Actually, that's not right.  There was 'A LOT' of wine tasting done!)

I have been in California numerous times but never ONCE visited a winery while there.  
Silly me!!  This girl really enjoys her wine.

Although the vineyards were just beginning to fill in with their spring growth, 
the  hills and valleys were lush and the mustard flowers were in full bloom.

Our friends, who know wines much better than us, put together an awesome itinerary.  We stayed in Yountville, a few miles up the road from Napa.  It was a great choice being central for most of our travels and much quieter than Napa itself.   I'd like to say that the villa above was where we stayed, but alas, it was not.  That was the Patland Estate Vineyards, high up in the hills with a beautiful Tuscan landscape.  It felt like we were in Italy.

Each day we visited three wineries, all scheduled private appointments. 

For the winies, who know their wines, here are some of the vineyards we visited: 
Joseph Phelps, O'Shaughessey, Jarvis, Lava One, Chappellet, Chateau Montelena, and Patland.

We got to see some incredible wine cellars
in all shapes and sizes.

Our visit included the famous Chateau Montelena who won the white wine section of the historic 'Judgement of Paris' wine competition in 1976.  They surprisingly beat out the French and other California wines and a bottle of the 1973 Chardonnay vintage resides in the Smithsonian.

(Oh my ...  serious stuff out here in Napa!)

The chateau was quite fun to photograph 
as well as the reflecting pond surrounding it.

 Our last tasting was unlike all the others.  
Our guide at Chappellet walked us among the vineyards 
as we tasted the wines while he shared the history of the place.

It was fascinating to see the different variety of vines
and the whys and ways of
their vining.

 Growing a vineyard really is an art.
I always had the romantic vision of owning a vineyard some day
and making wine.
But that notion has been put to bed after
seeing all that goes into making a bottle of wine.

Best I just keep drinking it.

It was a wonderful time with friends,
made even better with 
some great wines!

But ....
now I really understand what
they mean by 
'life is too short to drink bad wine'!
I need a larger wine budget.