Day Two with “The sisterhood of the traveling wine glass.”
We had no plans for our second day in Napa so my sister suggested a full day wine tasting tour with Platypus Wine Tours. I admit I was reluctant to spend a day with strangers on a short bus driving around Napa, but in the spirit of “the sisterhood of the traveling wine glass”, I threw caution to the wind and off we went with Platypus. As it turns out there is no safer or more pleasant way to explore the Valley than with Platypus Tours. Our tour guide and driver, Mike was delightful (with a sassy top note and a lingering finish).
I really don’t know if you can arrange to see the smaller venues on your own. I wouldn’t know where to start nor do I want to do my own research especially on a quick trip. Platypus and your driver have done all the work for you. According to Mike, he chose our venues after he got a feel for the group. Our group was apparently fun but not rowdy, thoughtful but not snobbish. Makes you wonder where the rowdy, snobs get to go. I’m glad I didn’t find out.
Our first stop was at Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford.
Grgich was the largest winery on our tour and the tasting was in a lovely courtyard overlooking the vineyard. It is open to the public and I would recommend it to the white wine enthusiast although their Zin, Merlot and Croatian Grgic Vin were delicious as well.
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976 when the respected French judges declared the 1973 California Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, the finest white wine in the world. Putting California on the wine map. Their Chardonnay and Fume Blanc are still made in the French style. They are delicious, complex and pair well with food.
Grgich Hills is an organic and solar-powered vineyard.
And then the real Platypus adventure began!
Hopper Creek Vineyard
Our experience at Hopper Creek Vineyard was priceless. We tasted incredible wines and were entertained and educated by charismatic Darren, our tour host. In 45 minutes with Darren I increased my wine appreciation by 100%. He was funny, irreverent, engaging and probably a wine genius. We learned to appreciate the wine with all of our senses and if you come to my house, I will show you my wine parlor tricks for dating wines and sorting out the subtle differences between blinded wines. This is a must see vineyard but only if Darren is around to entertain your senses.
Hopper Creek is a boutique six-acre Yountville vineyard that produces about 3.5 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot per acre annually. They purchase additional premium grapes from top growers in Sonoma County to round out their portfolio with Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Petite Syrah. You can purchase wines at the vineyard which is open for retail sales but you won’t find their wines anywhere else.
An urban winery?
St. Clair Brown Winery is a gem. They serve delicious food paired with their incredible hand-crafted wines in the middle of an outdoor urban garden. They bring beauty to the center of Napa.
St. Clair Brown Winery, makes small lot, incredible hand-crafted wines. All aspects of the wine production are conducted in their state-of-the-art facility in downtown Napa.
They make about 200 cases or less of each of the wines that they produce. Their portfolio includes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Rosé of Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and a sweet Muscat.
A must see in Napa!
Last stop Razi Winery
Razi Winery is small with a beautiful modern tasting room where the delightful owner pours generous servings of his top notch wines. The setting is relaxed and intimate. I bought two bottles of exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon that will be even better decades from now. (Translation: stupid expensive but so yummy.) I justified the cost by telling Mr. D that I will store these precious bottles until my first grandchild is born in 5-10 years. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. I’m sure my sister will help me drink them when the time comes, at which time I will thank her again for suggesting Platypus Wine Tours for our perfect day together.
Be well and savor the journey. Oh and be brave and make new friends. Never drink and drive. Please drink responsibly. You knew there had to be a health lesson in here somewhere.