Bring on the Bubbly
On Saturday, after our morning in Yountville, we headed over to the Domaine Carneros for a tasting. We both chose the sparkling wine sampler and got a cheese plate to share -- needless to say it was so delicious. Though I don't always love sparkling wine it was very refreshing sitting underneath an umbrella on the patio of this incredible chateau-eqsue estate in the hot sun, sipping some bubbly and nibbling on cheese and dried apricots. The estate itself is stunning but clearly a major tourist spot because it was teeming with people and had multiple parking lots to accommodate all of the guests. I would definitely recommend making a reservation here ahead of time, and the same principle for the next winery we went to.
Leaving Carneros, we drove north through the valley to just past Saint Helena, where the Beringer Estate is situated amongst a veritable redwood forest. It was remarkable how the landscape suddenly changed from brown and bare to lush and green, feeling like we'd driven from the desert into Portland. The Beringer property is huge and it is one of the major names in the valley -- you may have seen commercials on TV for their wines as they distribute across the country and offer a varied selection. We took an hour long tour where we learned a little about the history of the property and then ended with a very informational tasting. Our guide was studying to be a sommelier and was able to provide us with some great tips about tasting and pairing wines. I'm trying to think of what my favorite wine of the day was but honestly they were all good for their own reasons and for different situations, it really just comes down to an individual's taste and the situation. For example at Beringer we had a good Port wine that would have paired nicely with a light dessert after a big meal, or at Carneros where I'd be content to drink a glass of the sparkling wine as an aperitif. I can say that I didn't like the Chardonnay we tried at Beringer, but then I've found very few Chardonnays that I did like so that's not super surprising...
Still exhausted from the day before (more to come on our Friday misadventures) we headed to an early dinner at Market (cornbread and gooey mac n cheese, you just can't go wrong), then back to the hotel and off to bed for an early night.