Monday, October 02, 2006

Vacation Day 2 - Napa Valley

Serious wine tasting began today and most of the wineries we visited are included in this posting. Liis works at O'Doul's Bar and Restaurant, part of the Listel Hotel, in Vancouver, BC, and we agreed to focus our tasting this trip on wines featured on the O'Doul's wine list, either currently or in the past.

We started at the Andretti Winery (as in Mario Andretti, the great race car driver), where we found beautiful grounds and excellent wine.

We visited the Vine Cliff Winery, enjoyed a number of good wines, and had a lively conversation with a couple of staff people in the tasting room, one of whom had spent time in Vancouver.

Next up was the Miner Family Vineyards, where we sampled fine wines and took a tour of the production facilities.

We met an engaging young couple, students from California State University, Chico, at the Miner Family Vineyard.

A short stop at Chateau Potelle Winery was a minor disappointment for Liis, as they had sold out of the superb botrytis-affected Blue Moon dessert wine we purchased last year. Chateau Potelle produces an impressive number of highly rated wines.

We then made our way to the city of Napa and made a brief stop at Angele Restaurant, overlooking the Napa River.

That evening, since we had neither booked months in advance, nor budgeted $210 each (service included) for dinner, we did not eat at the French Laundry Restaurant, in Yountville. But we did stop by to check it out, possibly for next year. If the food is as good as space, my guess is that it will be a good experience.

Instead, we selected Bouchon - a nearby bistro operated by the French Laundry - for tonight's dinner. Unfortunately, this restaurant's beautiful decor and lively environment was not matched by the quality of the performance from the kitchen. The chef must have been distracted while preparing my poulet roti, because it was much too salty. Liis' dinner was fine, so we may try this restaurant again, and we won't steer our friends away from Bouchon. But unless you have a salt deficiency, we recommend that you let your server know about this problem, in advance.

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