Tag Archives: merlot

P2 Day Tour Howell Mountain Napa Valley Spire Wine Collection

Let us continue our completely undeserved tour of Napa Valley’s Spire Collection: Kendall Jackson’s cream of the buttercream of the creme fraiche of the crop. A Monday or so ago, Wayward Wine posted our morning visit and ridiculous picnic at Mt Veeder in Napa’s Southwest (read here).

Plump on mountain Malbec, local cheeses and charcuterie, we pop back into the company Mercedes and roll North across the valley. Continue reading

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Black Stallion Winery Napa Valley

Our Napa Valley tour keeps rolling. Our morning snuck around Pine Ridge (read here). Our mid-day got blasted by Lewis Cellars’ monster wines (read here). By now, our palates feel numb. Our teeth look black. But ever the professional, high-functioning alcoholics, we head South on the Silverado Trail to Black Stallion.

Past the big metal horse, the winery campus feels vast, dry-scaped with olives and citrus, and recalls a mission. Here 32 acres served as Silverado Horseman’s Center until 2007, when it became a winery. Continue reading

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St-Émilion Part 1: Bordeaux and Merlot’s Vinous Sea

This Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour sends us to St-Émilion: right bank home to Bordeaux’s greatest, Merlot-based reds.

After some credit card, train-related malarkey, we leave the city of Bordeaux and cross into Entre-Deux-Mers.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWoq7cUdgAA&w=560&h=315%5D

That flatland is Entre-Deux-Mers (not Pomerol…dummy). As its name implies, it is the land “between two seas”: the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. It’s a great region for value Bordeaux. But our aim is Saint-Émilion, hanging over the Dordogne’s right bank.

Soon, châteaux actually start looking like Châteaux and not somewhat homely barns.

Landed, we leave the train with a few other tourists. One road points to town. Our march uphill begins. Continue reading

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Graves Open Doors 4: The Final Frontier: Château de Roquetaillade la Grange

This installment of Monday’s EU Austerity Drinking Tour finds us sick, drunk, and headed to the fourth and last winery in Graves in southeast Bordeaux.

To recap: a free van picked us up for “Portes Ouvertes dans les Graves” (Open Doors in Graves) in the sleepy town of Langon (below):

We tried Bordeaux’s just-fermented varietals at Château Pont de Brion (here), ate rotten grapes at Château La Croix (here), and met a red-only, family run, micro-winery at Château Caillivet (here).

Well-smashed, our white tin chariot takes us to Bordeaux’s Southern-most winery: Château de Roquetaillade la Grange:

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Luckily, we didn’t walk.

Soft hills roll with vine rows. This is the highest vineyard in Graves: roughly 100 meters above sea-level. Not a mountain, but unlike la Croix’s river-side, rotting grapes (tricky, but perfect for dessert wine), dry breezes and more drainage keep Roquetaillade’s vines happy. With all this rain, that matters.

Also unlike the rest of Langon, this “Château” has a château: Continue reading

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Graves Open Doors 3: Château Caillivet in Bordeaux

Today continues our exploration of Graves: Bordeaux’s diverse, left-bank, value region that struggles in the shadow of famed and pricier Haut-Médoc. A white van has toured us around the village of Langon, visiting its wineries for free (this is an EU Austerity Drinking Tour after all).

We leave “Château” la Croix’s rustic charm. A new driver asks for our next winery. The local girls say something. I blankly agree. But my wife’s glare cuts me down.

“They don’t like you”, she growls. “I know. But it doesn’t really matter which winery we go to.” “Yes, but you choose one, they don’t want us around”. “Fine”. Angry, tipsy, and both of us sick and stuffy we continue to whisper/fight. Continue reading

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