All good things must come to an end, and our few day holiday in Napa and Sonoma ended far too quickly. After we left Castello di amorosa, we had a bit of extra time before heading to lunch at the CIA Greystone Wine Spectator restaurant so we stopped at the lovely Freemark Abbey to share a tasting.
We got a good shot of this welcoming sign along the way. “Welcome to this world famous wine growing region Napa Valley. . . and the wine is bottled poetry.” Oh Napa, I love you.
Freemark Abbey is not what you would expect from the name. It has a long and interesting history, beginning in1886 with Josephine Marlin Tychson, the first woman who owned and operated a winery in California. It is not an abbey at all; the name comes from the three businessmen who reopened it after Prohibition. The tasting room staff was very knowledgeable about the winery’s history (which can be found here). They were also incredibly friendly and interested in sharing their wines. We were starting to feel a bit pressed for time because we were not sure how far away lunch was, but I could have listened much longer. Its hard to imagine being out in Napa back in the early 1900’s and its fun to listen to people who know and care so much about the wine and its history. Anyway, we did a tasting, and we also inquired about a bottle of 1980 Cabernet Sauvignon that they had in their display case. You see, I have been looking for a birth year wine, and it was cool to finally see one up close. They actually had someone come upstairs to talk with us about it. To give us an idea of how the wines age, he gave us a taste of one of their library wines, a 1995 Cab. I liked it. He recommended that if we were to buy an ‘80 bottle, that we go with a Bosché. We didn’t buy right then, but we are definitely considering trying to get our hands on a bottle to celebrate my big 30. In addition to the ‘95, we also tasted and enjoyed the 2001 Cabernet Franc and a 2008 Napa Valley Viognier, which was chock full of ripe melon and peach flavors, a summer day on the palate. We had to leave Freemark Abbey all too soon which gives us ample reason to return. It is located in the heart of things in St. Helena, surrounded by a gazillion, yes a gazillion wineries. In addition to tastings, they offer a wine and cheese pairing Our lunch at the Wine Spectator Restaurant was nothing short of spectacular. I am writing a post on it which may be a guest post elsewhere. If not, you will see it here soon. After lunch, we knew we had to slowly make our way back to San Francisco for our late night flight, but I REALLY wanted to go to St. Supéry. At this point, we were stuffed, and to be honest, my mouth hurt from tasting wine, but WE WERE GOING TO ST. SUPÉRY. We drove up the lovely driveway past this cute little house.
Upon entering the main building, we were welcomed and told that we were free to roam about, following a self-guided tour of sorts. There was some very neat art.
St. Supéry’s upstairs area gives you a great view of the tanks and crushpad along with a few other interesting wine education tools.
It was interesting to see this grape tree (?) stretching down into the rocky soil. We also visited the “smell-a-vision” area of the winery where, by pushing different tubes and smelling, you can get different scents that make up the nose of certain types of wine. It can often be difficult to smell the same things that the experts do, and the smell-a-vision area really helped to showcase certain scents. It is a brilliant idea and fun for novices and experts alike.
We finally made our way down to the tasting room, where we looked around and ended up deciding to make St. Supéry the first tasting we do the next time we come to California. In the meantime, we are looking to add a 2005 Dollarhide Cabernet Sauvignon to our collection. Karena from Run Beans Run said that their Sauvignon Blanc is a must try, and since I just found out that she is a fellow Jersey girl at heart, I will have to follow her recommendation. After leaving St. Supéry we found Buffalo’s Shipping Post, a shipping store we found through a brochure from Chateau Montelena. What. a. find. You can travel around wine country, buying wine til your heart’s desire, then bring it all here and have it shipped to you at once, rather than buying and shipping from each winery. They specialize in wine country shipping, and after less than a week, our wine arrive in New Jersey at my mom’s today. The cost and method depends on your state laws. We were unable to ship less than a case to MA without paying a whole lot of money, so next time we will definitely just fill a case. Its uhh more economical, of course. I planned on this being my last post from our San Francisco/wine country/Foodbuzz trip, it is getting long and there is sushi and one last winery to write about. I will end it here, and the next time I am blogging, it will be from a hotel in San Diego, hopefully with TV, PJ’s, room service, and alone time. Please wish me luck on this trip. I am not looking forward to it. :( Buenas noches to all. Thanksgiving is a week away!