I picked Domaine Chandon for our first stop because you gotta start the day with sparkly, no? I went for the prestige tasting (3 tastings for $16); not bad at all considering they filled up the champagne flutes. We also ordered a trio of caviar nibbles. The order came with a glass of the Prestige Cuvee Brut.
Left: Trout roe with celery, vanilla and parsnip puree
Center: White fish row with brioche and roasted grape
Right: Osetra caviar with creme fraiche
Beautiful presentation but not very tasty. I thought that the components of each piece did not taste good and were not complimentary to the caviar. The creme fraiche had a bland taste, and the vanilla essence in the first one was overpowering everything else on the dish. The brioche and roe combination was probably the best because the dish really showcased the roe, while the buttery brioche was merely just a side to accompany it.
After Chandon, we headed over to Duckhorn to no avail: the winery was completely booked and could not accommodate anyone without reservations. Note to self: make a reservation next time. It was the same situation at Cakebread.
We did have luck at Merryvale, where the reds that we tasted were delicious and smooth. For lunch, we hopped across the street to Taylor's Automatic refresher which is known for its fresh ingredients and drive-in/diner-like menu and decor. There were about 15 people ahead of us, but the line moved relatively quickly. The menu includes burgers, tacos and not to worry, you won't lose your winery buzz over lunch because they also serve beer and wine.
I ordered the Wisconsin Sourdough which includes grilled mushrooms, bacon, cheese, mayo and BBQ sauce. Hold the cheese please. The burger patty is all natural Niman Ranch beef. I am not an organic/let's-eat-natural-food type of girl but I could really appreciate the flavors of the patty. I liked this burger/sandwich however I think they could have eased up on the BBQ sauce. It was dripping everywhere like on the Carl's Jr. commercial.
After that filling and very casual lunch, we headed over to Opus One Winery where for $30, you too can savour a glass of their sole wine. Good wine but I am not sure if it is worth over $150 per bottle. But I do have to say that the property is grandiose.
Wine tasting is such a fun trip, especially in Napa Valley. There are many fine wineries (including Sonoma which is about 15 miles away) and excellent restaurants in the region. It's also just a great weekend trip when you are looking for a mini getaway.
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