Thursday, September 05, 2013
What an absolutely fun day we had on the Napa Valley WineTrolley. The ride was smooth since this particular trolley was built on a RV chassis where the others are built on a semi chassis. It was open and the only issue was the seats faced out the side which does not help my vertigo but with the help of our driver we claimed the front seat. Not only were we in the open air, but I could look out the front window at any time of the ride. It worked wonderfully since I never felt any discomfort at all.
Our driver Gene, Eugene, the Trolley Machine was a warm, funny and quite a knowledgeable man. He told us some great stories, he shared some history of the area and the wineries, and he even asked us all about ourselves and then remembered it all. Great guy that made our day feel even more special.
Our first stop was at the Monticello Vineyards where the Corley family has been proudly nurturing five small vineyard sites since 1969. We indulged in the tasting and found that we still feel that the dark reds are very stout, more flat and dry to our palates but we did find that some of the Chardonnays, Rieslings and Blancs surprised us with their lightly sweetened tastes that we love. Still we would not spend $25+ on a bottle of any of these wines but we were having fun and creating some great memories.
Monticello Vineyards has character, the Tasting Room setting was located in the basement of the Jefferson replica building and it was quant with a dash of exquisite put in for a grand gesture.
We even had our first taste of Barrel Wine which is taken right from the barrel with a wine thief. A wine thief is a glass sifter that is used to remove wines from the barrels to taste. Barrel Wine is not the best tasting wine but it was a grand experience.
Then our next stop was our favorite, the Trefethen FamilyVineyards. Our host had the personality that made us feel as if we were the only people in the world. He was knowledgeable and shared many stories and then he did something we thought was the best ever. He took us out to the vineyards and we were able to pick grapes right off the vines and taste them.
We were all so surprised just how sweet and tasty they were, even the white ones we later tasted were full of sweetness and juiciness.
Their motto at TrefethenFamily Vineyards is as follows and it shows in every area at their vineyard.
"One Family. One Estate. One Passion. This is who we are."
Lunch was next, so the trolley meandered into Yountville, taking the same route we biked the day before but being on the Trolley was a much more pleasant ride. We enjoyed a catered picnic lunch by Michael Chiarello’s at Napa Style Café. We had never heard of him but one of the other riders was disappointed that he was not there at the restaurant.
We had vegetarian and meat sandwiches and a salad. Nothing special but it was good and tasty.
The next two stops were not as much fun as the morning wineries.
At the Hill Family Estate we tasted our first Albarino which had a strong lemony taste but was light and crisp and very refreshing without any lingering taste.
This tasting room was located right in Yountville and was not adjacent to their several vineyards located in different areas.
Our last tasting was at Bell Wine Cellars which is performed in a working tasting room where they are making the wine in the same area.
This was our least favorite of all of them, maybe because they had wedding guests at the winery and it was pretty packed so the hosts were not very attentive to us. None of the wines stood out as anything we would want to try, especially the Port Wine he gave us once we told him how we like the sweeter types.
We look forward to more tastings in our future but we will try to be in a region where we might be able to taste some sweeter Rieslings, Moscatos and maybe even some Sangrias.
We learned so many new things about vineyards, tastings and wine itself. Just a few of the neat things we learned were about the Wine Thief we mentioned earlier, never knew this sort of item even existed.
We learned about the “manager drop” is when the vineyard manager walks the rows and drops clusters of grapes that are not going to reach their best by the time they are to be picked. The clusters then just go back to the ground to nourish the roots.
One of the outstanding things we learned is that when tasting wines we do not ask the “bartender” for another, we ask to revisit one or more of the wines. We did not taste any to our absolute liking so we did not revisit any but let me tell you we had a few party girls who did just that many times.
We took so many photos, so please check out our Picasa Web Albums.