Oct 14th: Meeting a Napa Legend

We started the morning by going and seeing Old Faithful Geyser.  No...we didn't drive to Wyoming overnight.  Not many people know it, but there are actually three "Old Faithfuls" in the world, one of them being in Calistoga, CA.   It was very underwhelming I must say, but if we were that close, I figured we should at least go say we saw it.   

...starting to make some noises


proof....ok, now it's time to go

When we were wandering around downtown Calistoga, we came upon this store, and they had signs for wine sensory experience; essentially a class to help figure out what it is that you are smelling and tasting other than using descriptions of "it was good/bad" or "it smelled like berries".  The class also explained how it comes to be in the wines that gives each of the scents or flavors.  It's not all just the grapes that goes into the process. 
We really enjoyed the class and it gave us a bit more vocabulary to be able to describe what we are liking or not liking and what is strongest on our palettes with each wine we tried. 

We headed to Raymond next.  The wine lady at Rutherford Hills gave us some inside scoop about the place as she used to work there, in that the ownership had just switched over and things were very different there now.  We had a coupon for a free wine tasting though, and Terry had tried their wine before so we thought we'd go judge the place for ourselves.  The grounds were very artsy; manequins outside, rows of picture frames, oversized plastic armchairs. 

I called this one "how our art views us" as I was standing behind the frames.  I'm so clever....ha

Almost getting taken out by yellow jackets for this shot.  No more playing near the wooden picture frames.

Our review; the wine was great, the place itself was a bit gaudy and frankly a bit ridiculous as far as Napa goes.  They took us back into the "crystal room" and were flaunting all the decanters that made of Saworsky Crystal.  The last thing I paid attention to were the decanters.  It was visual overload in that space.

There was a room to the side of this where all the barrels were stacked for aging.  It was nice enough, but then they turned the lights down for "setting the mood" and there were the battery powered tea lights around the room....again it just looked too overdone.  The picture is pretty, but it was a lot. 

After Raymond, we went over to Grgich Hills.  We went there last year, but we loved their wine (we had a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon with Christmas Dinner).  At the end of our tasting as we were deciding which bottles we wanted to take home, none other than Mike Grgich walks in.  While he was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena, his 1973 Chardonnay was selected to compete in the historic Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, where it was ranked the number one white wine.  I was just in shock when he walked in and smiled at him.  He was smiling back and just staring at me.  Our wine educator told me to go over to him, but I didn't want to interfere or interrupt, to which he said that Mike loves to meet people, especially those that appreciate his wine.  As I walked over to him, he said "It's like an angel's approaching me....I have the best job in the world".  He kissed me on the cheek and told me about 20 times how beautiful I was.  He also asked if I had to travel with a personal bodyguard everywhere I went because of my beauty.  HA.  We walked back over to our tasting and he said to Terry, "I can tell you are a smart man, simply based on your judgement of wine and women".  He autographed two bottles for us, and we got pictures with him.  IT WAS BEYOND AMAZING!!

After coming down from the high, we headed back over to Oakville Grocery for lunch. We sat at the patio tables that they have behind the grocer to enjoy the beautiful weather, write some postcards, and relax a little longer in Napa. 

We decided to drive up to Lake Tahoe Thursday night rather than Friday morning, to get the drive out of the way rather than have that long haul in the morning.  The drive seemed like forever unfortunately.  By the time we got up to the lake, it was dark out so we couldn't really see anything.  We went and had sushi for dinner, and then drove to the hotel......which was in Nevada.....Another State off my bucket list!!  (there are still a lot of other parts of Nevada I would like to see someday, but I can officially say I've been there now)   We got to sleep early so that we could wake up to start the birthday celebrating!!!!

...more to come!!!


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