Joseph & Curtis’ First Napa Tour: Day 2
Our second day in Napa began with a hike through the vineyards followed by a quick breakfast, then off to Atica Vineyards for a 10:00 a.m. tasting. Antica is owned by the legendary Antinori family who has been making wine for over 600 years (29 generations)! So in 1492, when Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain to discover America, the Antinori’s were already making wine for over 100 years! The property which Piero Antinori couldn’t get out of his mind when he came to America in the 60’s was finally purchased in the 80’s. Located in the Atlas Peak District, Antica’s 600 planted acres are a sight to see. Glenn Salva, the “wine estate manager,” greeted us at the tasting area with a quick snapshot of the entire property.
Words cannot describe the amazing beautiful of this property. We walked as we tasted several of their signature wines, and were invited into the home of the Antinori’s and sat at their kitchen table like family. We tasted over 10 different wines with assorted meats and cheese. It was as if our group had died and gone to heaven. Glen is as nice a man as there is in Napa… he has been working at Antica for over 30 years! Once finished with our tasting, we went to “the cave” which is over one mile long and completely climate controlled. I have never seen so many wine barrels in my life!
Our second stop was Pride, famous for their Merlot. The 235-acre estate blends smoothly into its mountainous surroundings and California heritage. Pride was much more commercial than any of our other tastings but was still very much worth the trip. We were taken to their small and charming tasting room where we enjoyed Syrah, Merlot, Cab franc, and Cab…the highlight was undoubtedly the merlot. We then did a quick tour of the vineyard and caves, then it was off to lunch at Goose and Gander which was outstanding, rustic and charming with a full bar and courtyard and some of the best burgers we have ever had.
The afternoon was topped of at Opus One. Once again we were treated to a private tour with a personal guide who was outstanding. She walked us through the grand vision of both Mr Mondavi and Baron Philippe and how this incredible venture came to be. Modern and sleek with a very contemporary feel, the vineyard is pristine and elegant.
Making some of the most collectible wines around the world, it was interesting to witness the diversity of the guests at the vineyard (Chinese, Italian Greek, etc). Once we completed the tour we sat down and tasted the 2011 and the 2008 in the private tasting room. The wines were tight but as we gave them more time they started to open up. I thought the 2010 which we later tasted was the best of the bunch.
After departing Opus we went home for a quick shower and we were back on the van for a ride to the best restaurant of the trip. Bottega is located on the historic Vintage Estates Property, in one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, the Groezinger Estate. The restaurant is rustic and pure Napa through and through. We sat in the private tasting room in the wine cellar and were treated to the best dinner I have ever had. From the multiple aps, we tried Octopus, short ribs, Polenta, and Gnocchi). ALL were outstanding. Dinner only got better…the short ribs and black pig were amazing. If planning a trip to Napa, please do not miss two places: #1 Bottega and #2 Farmstead.
Could a trip get any better?