I’m in Napa, bonding with my West Coast staff and my colleague, James Laube.
Sunday, Jim booked a tee time at the Napa Golf Course, and we enjoyed a beautiful day on the course. He had warned me in advance about the water hazards. By the end of our round, we were wishing we had stock in a company that manufactured golf balls.
We played perfect cart golf: Jim was down the left side of the fairway all day, and I was down the right. Nonetheless, we had a lot of fun and saw some incredible birds. There was even a chicken on the 5th green, just hanging out. She seemed friendly enough and despite the lack of handouts, followed us to the 6th tee box.
Later that evening, Jim showed his prowess at the grill. A rack of lamb was crusted and medium rare inside, with some corn on the cob, asparagus and tomato, basil (from his garden) and fresh mozzarella. A simple, delicious meal, enjoyed alfresco as the sun faded and the breezes from Carneros cooled the southern valley.
We washed the lamb down with two tasty 2005 Pinot Noirs from Kosta Browne: the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley. The latter was the richer, juicier red, with black cherry bordering on plum flavors, however, I preferred the firmer, racier berry and spice-infused Sonoma Coast.
Jim also poured the Krupp Brothers Marsanne Napa Valley Stagecoach Vineyard Black Bart 2005. This was a delicious white, full of peach, quince, smoke and spice aromas and flavors.
Yesterday, we tasted an assortment of wines in our Napa office that included a handful of Chardonnays, a few impressive Syrahs and some disappointing 1997 Cabernet Sauvignons and blends.
At dinner, with tasting coordinator MaryAnn and the newest member of our Napa team, assistant tasting coordinator Jenna, Jim graciously brought a bottle of our 2006 Wine of the Year, the Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2001.
It was everything you expect from a great wine. Fragrant with dried cherry and tobacco aromas, it exuded its Tuscan origins, while featuring beautiful fruit, finesse and harmony.
We also popped the cork on a muscular, full throttle Petite Sirah, the Switchback Ridge Napa Valley Peterson Family Vineyard 2004. There are about 4,000 acres of this grape in California, much of them studded with old vines. This is one to try if you like no-holds-barred deep raspberry and cassis fruit covered in chocolate and spice.
It was a perfect summer evening as we enjoyed the hearty food on the patio at Bistro Don Giovanni. As we left the restaurant, the full moon shone its approval.
John Osgood — New York, NY — August 28, 2007 4:28pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — August 28, 2007 4:29pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — August 28, 2007 9:39pm ET
Jason Fernandez — Boston, MA — August 29, 2007 4:56pm ET
Robin Ault — CO — August 29, 2007 9:32pm ET
Anacleto Ludovic — paris france — September 3, 2007 10:18am ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — September 3, 2007 4:34pm ET
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