Not on the bicycle this weekend. I was boreed, and unexplored Napa Valley wineries await, so....
William Hill Winery Cabernet Sauvigon Reserve 2002 A mid-sized winery off the beaten path on Atlas Peak Road, a spectacular winding road that in fit years I like to climb on my old bicycle. Anyway, a nice place to taste, friendly, knowledgeable staff very smooth. A lot of wines to taste, as they also pour for Atlas Peak. Quite a nice dark, rich, but tannic mountain cab. Lots of flavors, but not too fruit forward. They knocked off 20% from the bottle (I also picked up a bottle of Atlas Peak Claret, based on past experience with that winery's fare) Solid B+
Luna "Canto" 2003 Sangiovese, Merlot, Cab Franc, AND Petit Sirah!!!!! A little more brusqeness in the tasting room (although they brought out doggie biscuits and water for my pack, which was happy to accompany me today) But, I have to admit I was rather blown away by this delicious, dark, multilayered, multiflavored wine. Poured from a decanter-and it needed it. Big, bold tannins, some good acid in the back palette, dark fruit, tobacco, leather, a bit of cherry (Sangiovese!), plum. I don't know what "cassis" is , but I'm sure it had that, too.
Lovely Italiante winery building with nice ceramics on display (another hobby of mine). I will be back, despite the slight brusqueness (which probably reflects a long hot day in the peak of tourist season)
Baldacci Family Estate Very nice, low key, friendly place. A cool dog greeted my pack, until the owners pulled her inside. Liked the Gewurtztraminer (very dry and crisp) Didn't care for the Carneros Pinot (I only like about 1 in 10 pinots that I try) too soft and floral and unstructured for my taste. Didn't like the Sirah, either. Not very interesting is all I can remember. The three cabs were a classic demonstration of terroir, with distinct and very noticeable differences between the three estate blends used to make the wine. I really enjoyed the base model, the IV Sons Cab, which was made from some of the oldest grapes closest to Silverado Trail. Delicious, leather, dark fruit, some graphite and very, very smooth. The other two cabs, the Estate Cab and the Brenda's Vineyard Cab (the one getting 95 in Wine Enthusiast) were just not to my taste. The lady mentioned that Reynolds Family sources their grapes next door, and I don't like Reynolds Family Cabs either!!! I am very confused/intrigued by Stag's Leap winemaking. there are dramatic differences within the same winery, in some cases. These upper level cabs were to my tastes more fruit forward, certainly more tannic, more caramel notes (I know, sounds weird). Cabs like this almost taste, to me, like they have a bit of a sweeter Zin in them! I definitely need to taste the Stag's Leap cabs before drinking or buying them, because I just don't like this flavor profile very much. But, across the road is Stag's Leap, and I love Artemis. I love Regusci, which is a couple of miles down the road. So...pretty strange.
I wanted to walk around a bit, so we hit the lovely tourist mecca of Yountville next. I found one more tasting room in town-Jessup Cellars. It was air conditioned, and a very nice and knowledegable young lady poured me some nice wines. Wooden Valley, a small valley over the mountains from Napa proper, is the source of grapes (Altamura also sources his cabs here), and like Altamura, I loved their 2000 Cab. Dark, leathery, graphite, still some nice darker fruit, no "caramel" sweetness here! Oddly enough, the 2002 had a completely different flavor profile which I didn';t care for. The 2000 Jessup, along with the Luna, were probably my favorites of the day.
Next week, I'll drag my bicycle over to Alexander Valley and try to pick up a few more.