Wine Tasting in Napa

Around 8:30 we picked up the rental mini van and headed across the golden gate bridge towards Napa and wine country.

Our first stop was Oakville Grocery in Oakville. This is such a cool store. They have wine, cheese, breads, olives and olive oil, cured meats, cookies, drinks, and many picnic items.

There are picnic tables in the back and wine barrels in the front where you can sit and enjoy the outdoors and the view of the vineyards.

We continued up to St Helena to visit Justin Hunnicutt Stephens of Hunnicutt Winery. Justine took us back in the wine cave where he had a private setup prepared for us. There he poured some of his pride and joy from previous vintages. Justin is passionate about his wines and it shows.

Then we went and did some barrel samplings from his yet to be release cabernets and zinfandels. Good things are happening in those barrels. They were awesome and should be even better when they mature.

The cabs should command a higher price with the way they taste now. Thank you Justin!

We moseyed down to Beringer Vineyards to taste their reserve wines. I am a member of their reserve club and have enjoyed their wines for years. As always I was not disappointed.

Then off to Franciscan winery to taste their reserves. I have bought their wine before but have never visited their tasting room. They were good but not great.

It seems most commercial wineries are more concerned about selling wines through wine clubs and don’t spend much time talking about the grape variable, the blending, the soil, etc.

Justin Hunnicutt Stephens of Hunnicutt Wines was the exception. We talked grapes, wine barrels, and weather, soil, blending, bottling, marketing, friends, family, corks versus screw caps, and good times. That is what wine is all about.

The last stop was Mondavi wines. Their reserve tasting room was crowded and expensive so we headed to the standard tasting.

As always their wine was decent and dependable. You can buy this wine and know it will not be bad or great.

We drove back to San Francisco and made record time. The bridge was not crowded and the dive back was smooth and uneventful.