Stay rad, Napa… Stay rad.

You should know that although Kara and I have only been married for a little over a year, we have been in a relationship for a LONG time.

Yesterday, we took a quick trip up to Napa in celebration of being girlfriend/boyfriend for 9 years.

Here’s what went down (along with some quick tasting notes)…


We started our tasting adventure at Etude Winery in the Carneros region of Napa...

Etude 2009 Carneros Estate Chardonnay: Pear with floral notes  Nice acidity and minerality.  Good stuff.  88+

Etude 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir: Fennel and cherry.  Good spice and oak.  89

Etude 2008 Deer Camp Pinot Noir: Lots of Earthy blueberry fruit with hints of cola.  The goods.  90

Etude 2007 GBR Estate: A dope blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Malbec.  There is this beautiful berry pie nose to this wine.  Lots of plum and black olive (a characteristic that I am learning is quite common to Merlot)  Did I mention that this wine was dope?  91

Etude 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Berry and cherry nose.  Dark fruit on the palate with powdery tannins.  Amazacool!  92

Etude Heirloom Pinot Noir: Though we had reached the end of our flight, our server hooked us up with a quick splash of their Heirloom Vineyard Pinot.  I forgot to write down the vintage year, but I am sure you could look up the current vintage on Etude’s Website.  This single-vineyard Pinot Noir had a good berry nose.  It was very juicy on the palate with leathery and peppery tannins.  DeeeeeeeeeLish!  92+


Next we headed down the street to Bouchaine... Another Carneros winery, specializing in all things Pinot.

Bouchaine 2010 Rockin’ H Vineyard Rose of Syrah: Lots of strawberry and minerality.  87

Bouchaine 2010 Las Brisas Riesling: With about 1.5% residual sugar, this would be considered an off-dry Riesling.  There is a nice, dancing acidity.  It’s just a little too sweet for my liking.  86+

Bouchaine 2010 Las Brisas Pinot Blanc: Pinot Blanc is, in fact, a red-skinned grape that is used to make white wine.  Consider it a cross between Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir.  It has a very floral nose.  There are hints of juicy red fruit on the palate.  87

Bouchaine 2009 Rockin’ H Vineyard  Pinot Noir: Cola.  Eucalyptus.  Mineral stone.  Red apple.  Very cool.  90+

Bouchaine 2009 Gee Vineyard Pinot Noir: The Gee Vineyard is one of just a few places that dry farm their Pinot Noir.  The result is a highly concentrated, tannic, and ageable Pinot.  Cranberry and red apple dominate this wine.  Cool, as well.  90+


After our morning in the Carneros region, we headed up highway 29 towards Yountville to get some bubbles at Domaine Chandon.

Domaine Chandon Reserve Chardonnay Brut: Yeast and butter for days.  I haven’t described many sparkling wines as having butter characteristics, and yet… butter is what I’m getting.  90-

Domaine Chandon Reserve Pinot Noir Brut: Our server informed me that the Reserve Pinot is his go-to wine.  I can see why.  It is nice and nutty.  90

Domaine Chandon Reserve Pinot Noir Rose: Good black cherry fruit.  Velvety mouthfeel.  Very nice.  89


A bit further North, we found ourselves at Turnbull Wine Cellars in Oakville.

Turnbull 2010 Viognier: Coconut and papaya transitions to cheese.  It was okay.  86+

Turnbull 2007 Fortuna Merlot: Juicy red apple, black olive (there it is again), and black tea.  89

Turnbull 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Good body and fruit of raspberry and blackberry.  Dry tannins.  Good stuff.  89

Turnbull 2007 Cabernet Franc: Blueberry and bike tires.  Very nice.  89+

Turnbull 2008 Syrah: Inky blueberry fruit.  88+

Turnbull 2007 Oakville Merlot: Cranberry and sun-dried tomato fruit.  Fun and thought-provoking.  90

Turnbull 2009 Old Bull Red Wine: Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a good table wine.  I’d tell you more about it, but the only note that I wrote was the score.  Take this 88 for what it is, and move on.  I have.


Once we got back to the car, we decided to dive into a seaweed salad from CostCo. This thing was F-ing delicious! 97 points!


Next, we hopped over to Franciscan Estate to get our Cabernet and Giant Pumpkin on.

Franciscan 2010 Sauvignon Blanc: Guava.  Papaya.  Green apple.  It is what it is.  86+

Franciscan 2009 Chardonnay: This chard spends 7 months on french oak.  Lots of cream… and apple… and cheese.  This is a crowd pleaser.  89+

Franciscan 2007 Merlot: With 14 months on french oak, this Merlot has a BIG blackberry nose.  The palate is loaded with black olive (again) and green pepper.  89

Franciscan 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: 20 months on french oak for this bad boy.  Dried plums.  Cola.  Tobacco.  89

Franciscan 2007 Magnificat: Dark in color.  Boysenberry and oak.  Fun, lingering tannins.  Dope.  90

Franciscan 2007 Port: Cedar box.  Chocolate.  Grape.  Shoe leather.  As I read through my notes, I realize that I did not give this one a score.  Just trust me that is was okay, but I’ve had better.


Our last winery of the day was Louis M. Martini in St. Helena.

Louis M. Martini 2009 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon: This Cabernet was dry and fruity.  Loads of cranberry.  89

Louis M. Martini 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Big, dark plum and soft, round tannins.  This wine drinking great right now.  90+

Louis M. Martini 2009 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Raisin and prunes, with a hint of dried cherries and tobacco.  88+

Now that we were done with the day’s tasting, we headed over to check in at The Napa Inn bed and breakfast.  Sure enough, once we got settled, look what they offered us in the lounge…


Port and Sherry. So good, it's scary.

For dinner, we headed over to Tyler Florence’s Rotiserrie and Wine in downtown Napa…


To drink, we got a bottle of Spellbound Petite Sirah.


Kara ordered some deviled eggs. Considering my history with eggs, these things looked pretty good.


I got some dope grilled artichokes. Dope!

For the main course, I got a rotisserie chicken... Duh!


Kara got some gnocchi. I got kinda jealous.

After dinner, Kara and I took our wine out to the patio of Rotisserie and Wine. The restaurant provided us with a beautiful view of the river walk... That, and blankets.

So, there you go.

Kara and I have been taking trips to Napa for a while now, and I do have to say that this was one of the best trips we’ve had there.

Stay Rad, Napa.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “Stay rad, Napa… Stay rad.”

  1. Martin D. Redmond Says:

    Nice post. My wife and I went up Friday night! We hit Domaine Carneros, Olabisi, and Trahan in Downtown Napa, and BV. Had lunch at Grace’s Table….I recommend!

  2. jonnybrandy Says:

    That’s some serious wine tasting

  3. Erin Says:

    Happy Anniversary Friends! Looks and sounds like you guys had a great time 🙂

  4. jeffeckles Says:

    Congratulations on 9 years together! Kara’s gnocchi looked awesome. How did the Syrah pair with everything? Looks like a great trip, glad you guys had fun.

  5. Helen Says:

    Great post – I enjoyed it!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: