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Napa Valley, Day 5

Hixson, Tennessee
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Napa Valley, Day 5

Day 5, Saturday, October 29

What a great day to be in Napa Valley. The morning was crisp and clear with temps heading for the mid 70s. I do believe this is my second favorite place on earth. The first is right where I live.

The morning began with a car caravan to Redmon Winery in St. Helena. We tasted here with Lisa Redmon-Mangelson, the owner, last year and were blown away by her wines. She makes three varietals, Chardonnay, Cab and a Cab blend, all in small lots of 250 cases or less. She gives a great talk about how they got started and how they have gotten to where they are now. We brought some of each home with us plus joined their wine club. Here is what the website says about the Chard: “Crisp and fruity, the flavors combine with hints of melon, white peach and apple”. Their 08 Cab blend comes from the Garvey Vineyard in Rutherford. “A blend of Cab, Merlot and Cab Franc is a fruit forward and very approachable wine. Milk Chocolate (Mrs. Hawkeye’s favorite) anise, cassis and dark berry compliment the soft tannins”. The 08 Cab comes from their estate vineyard in St. Helena. “Black cherry, raspberry, Asian spice and cassis blend together”. One of my favorite Cabs of the week. I have now tasted the 06, 07 and 08 and all were outstanding. Very limited supply. The group loaded up and several joined the wine club.

Our next visit was at one of my favorite places in the Valley, Chase Family Cellars. We have gotten to be good friends with Jeff Blaum the winery manager. In addition to tasting wine today, we were to have a BBQ lunch, and what a spread they arranged for us. There was pulled pork BBQ, beef ribs, salad, cole slaw and lots of the great Chase Zin. Jeff was supposed to be there for the group but had tickets for the last game of the World Series. Guess which he chose? In his place, Katie Simpson, winery owner and Rebecca Martin, hospitality hosted us. I will have to say that we got the best of the deal as they were much prettier than Jeff. We tasted the Savignon Blanc, Cab, 07 and 08 Hayne Vineyard Zins all of which were very good. But we had to settle on one and it was the 08 Hayne Vineyard Reserve. From their website: The 2008 Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel Reserve is made from our favorite five barrels of juice from the 105 year-old vines. Darker and a little more complex than the Estate Zinfandel the reserve is a great bottle to let age a bit. With just over 100 cases produced this wine is a certainly a collector's Zin. We paid $35.00 per person for lunch and wine. Normally there is no tasting fee.

From Chase we went to the Cab house, Baldacci Winery. They make several Cabs from various appellations around the valley. If you want to compare Cabs from different appellations, this is the place to go. Since it was such a glorious day, the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky, we sat outside for our tasting. Our favorite was their Diamond Mountain Cab but because we already had some in our cooler at home, we did not purchase here. Several of the group did, however. The tasting fee was $10.00.

The last stop of the day was to taste J. Gregory Cellars owned by Mark and Kandice Jessup. Mark was a previous owner and winemaker for Jessup Cellars in Yountville, and Kandice many of you will remember as the tasting room manager at Biale, now promoting her own label. We were invited to their home which was clear at the end of the Silverado Trail and then some. They really put on a spread for us on their patio overlooking views of the valley. There were cheeses, meats, bread, crackers, olives, etc., etc. to enjoy with their 06, 07 and 08 Cabs. What a great flight tasting it was. They are so new that their label is in the process of being printed and we would have to wait to have our order shipped. Also, we were treated to a tasting of Bure Family Wines hosted by Mark’s son Adam. This is a winery that I have never heard of, but there are probably lots of those. The owner, who is from Russia, used to play professional hockey for the Montreal Canadians. We ordered the 09 Cab to be shipped when Jessup ships our order. What a great way to end the day and none of the group was interested in dinner.

Since several of the group were leaving on Sunday morning, we said our goodbyes, vowing to come back next year. My wife and I had three more days of tasting before we had to leave.

Napa
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1. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

Oh, I didn't know Mark Jessup started a new label- what is the price point of the wines?

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2. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

Sounds like another amazing adventure in the wine country! I enjoyed reading your report! :)

Hixson, Tennessee
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3. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

Hi Segway,

Mark has been working on this project beginning with the vintage in 2006. He now has three years in bottles, the 06, 07 and 08 Cabs. The name of the label, "J. Gregory", is for Mark's son who is handicapped. If I remember correctly, the price point was somewhere around $70.00.

To my knowledge, he has not released any yet, because they are waiting for their label to be printed which is somewhere in process. We are waiting for shipment of our order when they receive the labels.

We first met Mark when he was winemaker at Jessup Cellars. We became acquainted with Kandice when she was manager of the Biale Tasting room and have kept in contact with her.

One that I was not familiar with is Bure Family Wines, which Mark's son Adam poured, another of those small family owned wineries with excellent wines.

- Hawkeye

Edited: 20 November 2011, 17:59
Napa, CA
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4. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

Amazing posts, Hawkeye. You must subscribe to Robert Parker or some other newsletter to find out about all these hidden gems. I've just finished reading all your recent reports here as well as day 6, 7, & 8 on that other site. Sounds like a really great trip except for you getting sick from that jerk on the airplane.

Thanks also for giving us an update on Mark Jessup. I haven't seen him since he and his ex, Pamela sold their janitorial business ten years ago. I'm glad he's starting another label.

One question for NOWI - shouldn't these be posted in the Napa Valley forum rather than this one which is for the city of Napa? It doesn't look like Hawkeye visited Napa on this trip.

Hixson, Tennessee
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5. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

Hi Supercilious,

Sorry, I did not realize that I was on the wrong forum. Will correct that on my final reports.

I use several things for finding the small wineries. Probably the first is Preiser Key. I go there and look for wineries that are not open to the public or are appointment only. Sometimes those not open to the public will let you taste if you ask. Another is WineCountry.com and the winery map. Lastly, is the web. I research the wineries found on Preiser Key and WC. Sorry, I do not have an "IN" with Robert Parker or any other reviewer.

Mark's new wine is really worth trying.

-Hawkeye

Napa, CA
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6. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

Super/Hawykeye-

If clicks to our bit.ly links are any indication, the TA Napa forums get about 10-40x the traffic as the Napa Valley forums.

The Napa forums are much older and have a *lot* more folks coming to them (TA added ("Napa Valley" a few years ago, at the request of a few regular posters).

Post wherever you'd like, Hawkeye. We'll send folks to your Napa Valley trip reports even if they were under the Boise Idaho forums! :D

Cheers,

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

Hixson, Tennessee
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7. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

Hi NOWI,

I can understand why more post on the Napa Forum, I had to really work to get the NV forum to come up . . . it kept throwing me back to the Napa Forum.

Don't know if you know Rollie Heitz of Midsummer Cellars or not, but he would be a good one to have pour at your establishment. Not only is he a very nice person, his wines are very good and at a good price point.

Have a great day and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May we see peace in our lifetime for our children.

- Hawkeye

Napa, CA
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8. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

Thanks for the reco, Hawkeye. We'll give him a call.

We just counted-- in the past 140 days, we've had more than 120 nights where Napa Valley wineries hosted private pourings here. That's a new record for us. :)

(those other nights were hosted by me (Russ), pouring wines from my cellar. Old stuff.)

May all of you have a great Thanksgiving, full of joy and happiness.

Cheers,

-The Innkeepers

Napa Old World Inn

Napa, CA
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for Napa
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9. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

I guess I don't know how TA decides on which forums to offer and I'm not sure what bit.ly links are but it seems pretty obvious to me that Napa Valley is the parent forum for the region and then each of the towns has a forum that's part of the Napa Valley one.

I'm not sure how you guys view the posts and can't understand you having difficulty finding the NV forum but I start with this page which I have bookmarked to see what's being posted in all the Napa Valley forums.

tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g580460-i10025-Napa…

On that page you can see all the town forums as well as the general Napa Valley one. It even shows NOWI as the destination expert for the Napa Valley forum.

Anyway, thanks again Hawkeye for all the great trip reports. They are a wonderful resource for those oenophiles looking for the out-of-the-way gems.

kod
Sarasota, Florida
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10. Re: Napa Valley, Day 5

I concur. Rollie was a very pleasant person who let his wine speak for itself. This provided a very relaxed wine tasting experience. My wife and I really enjoyed his wines.