It was a beautiful day in Northern California on Sunday, so I schlepped my bike up to Saint Helena and went on a tour.
Rancho de las Flores. A tiny little hobby winery hidden away on Silverado Trail. Run by a sleepy aging hippy with a happy smile. But, you know, for $20 (for a Napa Cab at that), it wasn't bad at all. Very thin, without a great deal of depth, but his Cab still had that kind of very dry. earthy, acerbic character I like. An amusing place in the era of megawineries and highly-toned marketing campaigns.
Frank FamilyWineries. What a contrast. Big bucks. Approaching cult wine status. Fantastic cut stone hisotric winery building. Glitzy Larkmead Lane location. Still a little funky-the tasting occurred in an older (but not "historic" older) building split into confusing rooms and hallways. I tried their Zinfandel, which was good (but I was on the prowl for Cabs!). The Estate Cab and the more plebian Napa Valley Cab were both excellent, intense, dark color with a very earthy, leathery character. Mostly Rutherford fruit from the original family vineyards further south in the valley. Knowledgeable, engaing tasting room host-maybe a family member??? My Visa balance did not appreciate the stop.
After leaving Silverado Trail and Larkmead Lane, I saw the sign for Diamond Mountain Road. Despite the fact that I was flat on my back three days earlier with a nasty virus, I had to try this road. What a steep, shady, beautiful climb. I chickened out about a mile from the top, but I discoverd Von Strasser Winery. Cool Laborador Retrievers!
Very nice offering of Mountain Cabs and blends. I really really enjoyed the Estate Cab. More fruit than the austere Frank Family version (which was older by two years) but still incredibly balanced and interesting-this was not a fruit bomb by any means, with the a very nice, dark, earthy structured tannins that made the wine a must buy (My aching Visa). Nice folks, well worth the drive up the hidden mountain road.
After stopping in Calistoga for one of the County's best Iced Mochas, I headed back to Silverado Trail. One more forgettable winery (August Briggs)-very nice folks, nice place, no tasting fee, but I really didn't like their style of wine very much. They did have a very nice Pinot.
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach