Friday, February 25, 2011

My New Napa Home: Monticello Vineyards

Raining, so why not drive over to Napa for a little solo mission.  I knew where I was headed, Monticello.  Been wanting to taste there for a while, in the Oak Knoll district, but never made it that far east, or south, on 29.  But today I did.  Love the structures, grounds, and the feel of the tasting Room, which I noted in my little book as being “an enclosing cushion of hospitality.” Didn’t want to go back out into that rain.  Was having a great time sipping, and talking to my new friend, Linda (happy birthday, by the way!).  Once the tasting started, I felt even more anchored.  How was this wine writer ever going to leave, go back into the rain?

Linda started me off with the ’06 Corley Reserve Estate Chardonnay.  Again, I’m not the most persistent of Chardonnay pursuers, but this one was silky, not too rich, crisp and kind.  A great food Chard.  Then, an ’08 Pinot, with fruit from just around the structure where I was sipping, as I understand.  Didn’t even know there was Pinot in that area.  Guess I still have a lot to learn about my beloved valley on the mountain’s other side.  I continued to a Merlot, an ’07, which Director of Wine Sales and Marketing Mr. Stephen A. Corley himself told me contained a sprinkle of Cab Franc, my favorite Bordeaux, as you may or may not know.  More than sensually stricken with this bottle: deep, mysterious; a complexly configured vixen of a wine.  We finished up with the ’07 Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, which I did wind up taking under my arm and back to the car, in the downpour, and finally the ’06 Corley Reserve Cab, which was disturbingly delectable in every respect.  Had to withhold, couldn’t get a bottle of this finale, but next time, when I return for the tour, to taste with the winemaker, Chris Corley, I more than like will add it to my cellar.

Love finding new magic in Napa, uniquely spellbinding spots.  And, this is one.  But, Monticello is elevated above many of the others.  I don’t know if it’s the elegant simplicity of the tasting Room, the grounds, or if it’s the family foundation, or the paralyzingly delicious nature and consistency of the wines.  But this one stands out like others don’t.  Again, I am going to go back, soon.  So expect another entry praising Monticello’s mastery of Napa Valley winemaking, hospitality.  Looking at my pictures, I hope there’s nothing I missed.  Sure there was, so good thing I have plans to go back.  And I don’t care if it’s raining.  Nothing’s getting in the way of my revisit.  Sip, sip ... 

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