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Trip Report 9/16/09-9/20/09: Part 3

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New Jersey
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Trip Report 9/16/09-9/20/09: Part 3

Day 4 (Saturday)

Goosecross Cellars: started the day at their Wine Basics Class. this was another highlight of the week. The class is set up on the lawn surrounded by a beautiful garden and overlooking the vineyards. The woman who teaches the class does a wonderful job making it both extremely informative and fun. Even though I had heard most of the info during the few days before the class, she put it all together in a succint manner. Highly recommend this free class

Pizzeria Tra Vigne: stopped for lunch next and was pleasantly surprised by the pizza.

Prager Port: Definitely one of the more interesting stops. I was disappointed that I didn't enjoy the port more, but I just had my first port this summer so I am not commenting on whether or not it's good! Anyway, the guys in there were very nice (but one smelled strongly of cigarrette smoke, so I tried to stay away from him)

Rutherford Grove: Large pretty room in an ivy covered building. It started to get busy while we were here and I was amazed to see a group of people with a toddler that they just let run all around screaming throughout the room. The pourer finally had to warn them not to let the child play with the heavy glass door (they just laughed). Would have enjoyed this more if it weren't for the screaming! I did like the taste and cost of the wine.

Grgich- Busy room that is a tad on the dark side with a country barn feel (in a nice way). Very nice pourer. We shared a tasting and bought 4 half bottles that were on special that day. The pourer gave us an extra souvenier glass when she was wrapping the purchased tasting glass and bottles. They were stomping grapes "like lucy" that day but we didn't see anyone do it

Jessup- This was the surprise delight of the day. The tasting room was very crowded and they asked if we had a reservation. I was afraid they were going to turn us away; instead, they made room at a small display table in the corner and apologized for putting us there, then gave us a complimentary (and yummy) tray of cheese and dried fruits. The room is bright and pretty with artwork all around. My husband and I really enjoyed their wines and when the pourer discovered how much we liked the port with the chocolate, she brought out an extra port for us to try. I think we would have joined the club if we hadn't already reached our unofficial maximum of 2! I didn't walk around the adjacent art gallery, but now wish i had

Van Der Heyden- Well I knew this was going to be another unusual stop, but I don't think I was fully prepared! Kids, dogs, flies.... Not exactly fit for anyone looking for an elegant tasting experience, but it sure was memorable. I honestly went there more for the experience than to really taste any wine (though that was good too)

Mustards- dinner was a bit disappointing. As was said in other posts, you still have to wait about 20 minutes even with reservations and it is very loud. I wouldn't have minded if the food had been better. My husband had burnt ribs and I had a dried out thin pork chop (sauce was good). I did like the crab cake appetizer, but after having dinner at Celadon the night before, we wished we had gone back there instead. We brought our own bottle of wine and the coupon for the waived corkage fee we received from Merryvale.

Day 5

Schramsberg- This was a wonderful tour and sipping champagne by candle light in the caves is a perfect start to a Sunday morning. Our tour guide was a teacher (5th grade I think he said) during the week and gives tours for fun on sundays. It was obvious how much he enjoys teaching and giving these tours.

Castillo di Amoroso- no tasting or tour here; just a quick drive up to see the outside and take a couple of pictures.

Sunshine Food Market- picked up a couple of sandwiches here to take along for the ride. Both were excellent, but one was beyond spicy hot!

Mondavi- We were able to share a complimentary reserve tasting in the To Kalon room by virtue of staying in our B&B. So we just relaxed for a bit in here and enjoyed our tasting for what we thought was going to be our last stop before heading back to San Francisco. It was still early in the day so the grounds weren't too crowded (we had tried to stop the day before, but the mass of cars and people was too much for us)

Cuvaison (Carneros district)- I guess neither one of us wanted our Napa experience to end, so we made one final stop. This is a new tasting room- very modern with lots of glass and a patio overlooking the vineyards. Very pretty spot. I liked the zin and the pourer brought out an additional zin that wasn't on the flight. Well I liked it so much, I bought a bottle. We had a little issue with the bottle. When we were packing our wine box the next day (the night before our flight), my husband realized the bottle was leaking from under the top. I called the winery and I was told that basically it was my fault. We had placed the bottle on its side in a cooler immediately after purchase, drove straight to the hotel in SF and brought it up to the room. Yet we were told it was mishandling of the bottle ("we don't sell leaky bottles") We had no problems with the 12 other bottles of wine, plus the bottles of vinegar olive oil- only this one bottle. My husband asked what we did wrong and they were gracious enough to agree to ship us a replacement bottle since we couldn't take the leaking bottle home with us and we were leaving CA early the next morning.

And that's the end of our first trip to Napa. I hope it is the first of many!

Egg Harbor Twp, NJ
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1. Re: Trip Report 9/16/09-9/20/09: Part 3

PhillyFeet

Glad you enjoyed Goosecross and Jessup. I have been wine club members of both. Goosecross was the first winery I ever went to in Napa. Went to their Wine Basics course on a whim and have been hooked ever since - Hey , since you are maxed out on club memberships, maybe you want to split one with us - my coworker just backed on me, and I was looking for someone else in NJ to share with :)

Goosecross actually sent me to Jessup earlier this year, and I enjoyed it so much I signed up for their club.

Thanks for your earlier TR. We are going to Sonoma and Napa in Dec, and I got a few suggestions, especially Summers.

2. Re: Trip Report 9/16/09-9/20/09: Part 3

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