Sunday, December 16, 2007

Napa Valley Crazies Tour

This year Jeremy and I going down south for the holidays and pulling the whole "xmas eve with one set of parents, xmas day with the other." So we decided to do a little xmas getaway just the two of us, taste some wines, and finally use the gift certificate that Eddo got me for my bday to Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's lower-rent version of The French Laundry.

We decided to do our tastings up in Calistoga in an attempt to avoid the annoying crowds on Saturdays in the wine country. We made it up to Napa late Saturday afternoon, which was actually quite nice because all the bumblies had already had their fill and gone back to their hotels to sober up before dinner. We chose a few wineries off the main drag for our tastings, and boy were we happy we did!

Our first stop was Frank Family Vineyards, which has two tasting rooms: one for sparkling wine and one for regular wine. We liked the sparkling wine alright there, but the other stuff just wasn't our cup of tea. Our wine jockey at Frank Family was totally crazy.

Me to Jeremy: "Do you think he's drunk?"
Jeremy: "I certainly hope so."

Our next stop was Dutch Henry Winery, which we absolutely loved! Their tastings are in an actual functional barrel room and there are photos of all the winemakers dressed up like they are in the old west.


Everything we tried their was ultra interesting and different. Their tasting notes said stuff like "Hide the women and children and grab some t-bones!" Anniko, our WJ, was totally crazy (are you sensing a theme here?). After she poured us a taste of the Cabernet Franc, she kept saying, "Franc is my good friend. He is always welcome at my house. Do you like Franc? Franc likes you." Yeah, certifiable! We loved her!

Our final destination was Cuvaison, which was located on an absolutely beautiful plot of land:


The wines here were a little more commercial, but still we found a bottle that we liked. Our WJ here was also completely insane, but in a way that we didn't like. They had these ultra tall wine glasses that were kind of ridiculous:


And now, for the main event: our dinner at Ad Hoc. YUM!!! Our first course was a BLT: Butter Lettuce salad with pork belly (it was supposed to have Tomato vinaigrette to put the T in BLT, but instead it came with a buttermilk dressing which was fantabulous).


We had our meal with a 2005 bottle of The OG Grenache by Betts and Scholl. Our waiter, Nessim, who was also completely insane, described it to us as "kind of unusual." Not sure what happened this weekend, but we seemed to be attracting both people and wines by that description. But yo, we absolutely loved that wine.


Our main course consisted of braised short ribs with roasted winter vegetables and mashed potatoes (described by our waiter as being made of "cream, cream, butter, cream, butter, butter, cream, cream, cream, butter, butter, and then some more cream", while he was making karate chops with his hands). Look at how excited I am!


This was followed up by a cheese course and apple pound cake, neither of which we could finish because we were too stuffed. I have to say, the cynical me thought they were taking the "low rent" thing a little too far, but when it comes down to it, they were giving us a 4 course menu with absolutely ginormous proportions for $45. Can't really fault that.

After dinner we went back to the hotel, where I gave Jeremy his new Wii. WHEEEEEE!!! He is sooo excited about it. In fact, he's playing right now as I type these words.

Jeremy: I can't believe you gave me a video game console! I've never had one before because I don't trust myself enough to have one.
Hope: Well, don't make me regret it. ;)

It was a quick, wonderful weekend getaway...check out all our photos here:


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