Travel, Etc.

Travel, Etc.

Travel, Etc.

Travel, Etc. --> Charlene's Napa Trip 2017 Part Two

Charlene's Napa Trip 2017
Part 2

Here is part two of Fishers Wine Gal Charlene Strebing's travelogue about her spring trip to Napa Valley.

Frog’s Leap
“Time’s fun when you’re having flies!”  Frog’s Leap was one of the first certified organic wineries in Napa in 1988.  Our host, Dana, accompanied by Abbie, the wire-haired pointing Griffon, in residence at the winery since 2008, lead us through the organic gardens, vineyard and barrel storage facility while we enjoyed a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  Our tour was somewhat abbreviated thanks to the rainy weather, but we learned about their “hands off” approach to winemaking and “dry farming” which encourages deeply rooted vines making them stronger and more resistant to disease.  They strive to make wines of “balance and restraint that are subtly nuanced and easy to drink”, no big jammy fruit bombs here.

Our tour ended with a seated tasting in their lovely vineyard house.  Dana was the perfect host and a warm fire in the fireplace made our tasting enjoyable and cozy as we enjoyed their offerings of Chardonnay, Merlot, and estate grown Cabernet with cheese and crackers. Frog's Leap

Dinner that evening was at Napa Valley Bistro in downtown Napa, a diverse menu offering everything from American classics like organic fried chicken to Mexican regional dishes.  The dinner was only enhanced by their “no corkage fee” and a bottle of the wonderful 100% Cab Franc from Trefethen that we brought along.

The Hess Collection
The weather had not improved Wednesday morning as we headed the short distance from our house to Hess Collection.  Located on Mt. Veeder, it truly is “wine elevated”.  Hess also experienced damage from the 2014 quake losing several thousand gallons of wine and loss of "cellar one”.   Re-construction efforts were underway to their historic stone building during our visit.  

Hess, too, is certified “green” and utilize goats to help with weed control and decrease usage of tractor and tilling.  Donald Hess has amassed one of the largest private contemporary art collections in the world and displays his collection in museums located in his wineries in Napa, South Africa and Argentina.  

Jan was our host for an informative tour of the amazing art gallery and a private seated tasting and cheese pairing.  We enjoyed their Chardonnay, Allomi Cabernet, Artezin Zinfandel, Lion Tamer red blend and Mt. Veeder Cabernet.  Hess Collection

Lunch was at historic, "don’t miss," Gott’s Roadside (established 1949 and first known as Taylor’s Refresher) famous for their gourmet burgers, fries and killer milk shakes. Gotts

We were adequately refreshed before our trek up Pritchard Hill past Lake Hennessy  to Chappellet.  Our path was a one lane winding road navigated with written instructions since “GPS" doesn't always work up here”. 

Pritchard Hill has been home to the Chappelet family since 1967 and Molly Chappellet, at 85, still resides here, beside the vineyards.  Donn Chappellet developed the first automatic drip coffee vending machine in the 1950s and sold his business in the 1960s to purchase land in Napa.  Chenin Blanc was planted on the site when the Chappellet family purchased the land and after good advice to bottle that vintage for a quick return on investment rather than pulling out the vines and replanting, they were able to fund future winery efforts with proceeds from the Chenin Blanc.  Molly liked it so much she decided that it should remain and now her name graces the bottle. 

Elizabeth was our gracious hostess and started us off with a glass of Chenin Blanc as we toured the winery and vineyards.  Even the cloudy, rainy day could not diminish the gorgeous views.  Chappellet was one of the first vineyards to plant exclusively on high altitude hillsides, their rugged terroir creates age worthy wines with great intensity and depth.  After watching the bottling line and catching a glimpse of Phil Titus (Elizabeth encouraged us to seek out wine from his other venture Titus winery), our experience continued with a private seated tasting.  We enjoyed the Los Piedras  Red, Cabernet Franc, Sonoma Loeb Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Mountain Cuvee blend, and Merlot.  We all left with multiple bottles!  Chappellet

Next Week - Venge & Opus One!
Charlene's Napa Trip 2017 Part 1, Conn Creek and Trefethen