Saturday, October 24, 2009

Napa Valley Trip - William Hill

Yep, that's the same as the label. The top of the building that is. Before visiting William Hill, my company went through a little relaunch and tasting of the wines. We talked about a few years back when William Hill Cabernet Sauvinon was ranked in the top ten wines in the world... followed by a few years of not quite living up to that year's grape. And how with a new winemaker, the whole brand would be revamped and re-released. Well... it seems like they've had a great start.
First off, I had already drank more than a few glasses of wine from Louis Martini when I arrived at William Hill, so I apologize for fewer pictures as well as fewer details. I do know I asked if the winemaker was there (He is very handsome, and very skilled at his winemaking... what else are girls looking for?), but he was not there that day :( There was no tour, but we did relax and have a few samples during our VIP tasting. There is a difference between the regular wine tasting and the VIP tasting... I believe all the wines are different except for 1.
I really wish I could tell you more, but I am lacking on details as I already mentions. My favorite was the Cabernet Franc, which I realized during this trip is probably my new favorite varietal of wine. I purchased the Petit Verdot which was DIVINE, if you like exceptionally dry wine.

This was the view of their vineyards. The wine making rooms were a little dull and mechanical from what I could see. The pictures did not come out very clear because they were taken through a window (because we tasted but did NOT tour, we did not get a chance to actually go in to the room, and I am sure there are more rooms where you would pick up more of the culture of the winery... I just did not have the privilege of seeing them). But seriously, try the new wine. Look for the new bottle (with the label that looks like the building), and if you care to compare with the old wine (the one of the varietal leaf on it) you will see an obvious evolution of William Hill.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Napa Valley Trip - Louis M. Martini

This is so so so long overdue. I recently made a trip up to northern California and visited San Francisco as well as NAPA VALLEY! It was amazing. While in Napa I toured and tasted at Louis Martini and tasted at William Hill. It was such a great time and totally have to thank my job for hooking up my group.
Louis M. Martini: Got a lot of in
formation about the history of Martini. Louis M. Martini found his calling at a very young age and, without a doubt, perfected his craft. His family now runs his winery which is owned by Gallo.

We arrived in Napa Valley over Labor Day weekend, and as all those wine lover know, during the beginning of the crush. These Syrah grapes were about 2 weeks away from being made into wine, so we were able to eat them right off the vine. They tasted ready. I should tell you know this was my first time in wine country so please excuse me if I am a total novice on my descriptions of these wineries.

There was so much to love about Martini, and Cellar No. 254 was no disappointment. This is where they make their winery exclusive wines including their Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and a number of other limited case wines. I specified the Cab Franc because I coerced the tour guide to smuggle the first bottle from the most recent crop for me to try. They did not yet have it for sale, and had just opened the first bottle for winery employees the day prior. And the Malbec was the wine that I purchases; I have not yet opened it but when I do, I promise to let you know how it was.

This is the tasting room. It is all underground and is absolutely classic. It contains original bottles and advertisements from when Martini first started making wine. We did all of out tastings here, buy since we were in a cellar, my camera didn't take the best pictures. This place is a thousand times better than what the pictures show.

The closing of our visit was our final tasting and lunch at Martini Park. This tour and tasting set a VERY high standard for it being my first. Future wineries better be prepared to live up to this. Has anyone else ever been to Martini? What other wineries have you attended? California, Washington, Oregan? Out of the US? I'd love to hear other recommendations.

Way Too Long

So, after spending a few months traveling and not doing much of anything, my sister gives me a call and says, "Do you still do your wine blog?" And my answer was... not really. So I think I should back in to gear on this. And what better time to do it than while sitting at home drinking a fabulous bottle of wine. What wine is that you ask?
MacMurray Pinot Gris, 2007.
Most people are more familiar with the MacMurray Pinot Noir (also a great wine) since it is widely available in grocery stores and pretty well represented in restaurants. But back to the Pinot Gris. I actually got it as a gift from my boss (pretty good guy to work for, wouldn't you say?) but upon investigation, it costs about $18 retail. It has a little more spice than most Pinot Grigios, but the citrus and melon tastes really stand out. I definitely recommend it to any white wine drinkers.

Find more information about MacMurray wines at