Sunday, April 3, 2011

Adventures in Wine Country

Last weekend I headed to the Napa Valley for a weekend of MakeMeMiniMarch cheating...

Arrived in town Friday evening (to watch the conclusion of Marquette getting whooped by UNC) and headed into Downtown Napa for dinner at Fish Story. Great restaurant. I ordered the Grilled Washington Steelhead with grilled asparagus, spring onion, green garlic & fingerling potato hash, grain mustard beurre blanc.Dinner was delicious, and the conversation was even better.
Saturday was a day full of winetasting, we had our agenda all lined up (thanks to GC for his thoughtful recommendations). We, being the dedicated wine drinkers that we are, started at 10:30 at Paraduxx. We enjoyed a tasting of the 2009 Parajaxx White Blend, Napa Valley Reds from 2006, 2007 and 2008, 2008 Parajaxx Zinfandel/Cabernet Franc, 2007 Canvasback Napa Valley Red, and charmed our way into the Migration Chardonnay and Migration Sauvignan Blanc. There was cheese and crackers served alongside this pairing and the gentleman who ended up adopting us there added to the great experience.  We took a stroll around the property, which looked like it'd be great fun on a sunnier day. (Here we were playing musical iPhone to get some pictures with the vines)

Our next stop, along what now seemed to be a fowl-centric wine tasting excursion was at Goosecross. Here we tasted the 2009 Napa Valley Chenin Blanc, 2008 Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay, 2009 Napa Valley "Oak Knoll" Viognier, 2007 Merlot, 2007 Syrah, 2007 Napa Cabernet, and the 2005 Howell Mountain Cabernet. They offered not only dark chocolate to compliment the Syrah and Cabs but a delicious Chardonnay infused peanut brittle. When asked (by the "connoisseurs" next to us) what they were known for, Jose's answer was quickly "Hospitality". I couldn't agree more!
After Goosecross we were ready for our lunch stop at Rutherford Grill. We started out with a spinach artichoke appetizer and I had a glass of Frank Family Chardonnay (since it was already beginning to look as though we weren't going to make it all the way up there). Mama Rose and I split the Prime Rib French Dip sandwich, which came highly recommended; dad had the Chicken Sandwich - both were served with MOUNDS of shoestring potatoes. (dad's lunch is pictured below)
After the delicious lunch, we headed to St. Supery where we were told to ask for the upstairs tasting room.Although the wine smelled delicious, we were underwhelmed by the tasting. It absolutely was the most tweet-worthy of all locations. Mama Rose described one of the wines "I thought the wine needed a little splenda" and dad voiced his concern over our white wine tasting "I'm worried about you two drinking formaldehyde". 
Our next stop of the day was a Paraduxx recommendation, Frog's Leap.We were sent there for the 2010 Pink La Grenouille Rougante. Everything that we tried, we loved. We had great conversation sitting at a long dining room table and walking around their gorgeous property. 

With just enough time to spare, we headed to Peju to do one last tasting. Our pourer was an aspiring rapper who had a different rhyme for each wine. Entertaining to say the least, wines were delicious as always. Mom got lost, but don't worry she didn't wander too far that we couldn't track her down. We had reservations for a late dinner at Bistro Don Giovanni. We started with the Fritto Misto calamari, rock shrimp fennel, onions, green beans, spicy aioli. Delicious. For dinner I was incredibly satisfied with the Fettuccine Bolognese with wild boar ragu, aged provolone, and sage. MOm got the ravioli and dad had the Prime Rib special.

We ended the weekend Sunday afternoon heading to Santa Rosa to try Guy Fieri's restaurant, Johnny Garlic's. Although our waitress was painfully awkward, we had a lovely meal. We were greeted with some homemade foccacia and a rosemary infused olive oil. We shared an order of Garlic Fries (how could we not, right?) and then I ordered the Volcano Chicken with Yukon Gold Mash, Seasonal Vegetable, "Maui Onion Straws" and Volcano Sauce. It was wonderful, and even the lunch portion was enough to take leftovers home for the next day.
All in all, it was a great weekend with my amazing parents, great wine, and delicious food. Until next time...