Last March – a year ago – we went to visit some relatives in the marvelous city of San Francisco. During our trip on the west coast, we could not miss the opportunity to spend some time in the famous Napa Valley.
I tasted so many wines from six different winemakers. As a girl from Burgundy, who grew up drinking 100% pinot noir from Burgundy, I had sometimes hard time to really appreciate some of the wines. As well as the prices.
Oenotourism at its best
We all know that Americans are the best at Marketing. Without any doubt, Napa Valley is for the wine industry what Apple is for the technology. You pay way to much for what you get, but the branding make it alright. Don’t get my wrong, you can get this feeling anywhere, above all in the wine region of Burgundy and Bordeaux. But, this average price around $70… I mean, come on! I don’t even pay my bottles of Nuits-Saint-George for this price and the quality is way better.
Alright. Enough with the prices.
What really surprised me? The fact that the wineries manage to make you pay for the tasting! I have never seen it before I went to Napa Valley. Nonetheless, I was not that bothered : when you visit a wine cellar and drink for free, you always feel like you have to purchase wine, just because the winemaker spent time and drinks on you. Napa Valley made the rules so everyone stays happy. You pay what you taste. If you like it, you can buy more. If you don’t, you don’t have to buy wine and can feel great about it.
I also was very amazed to see so many limousines around. While Bachelorette parties were following us, I started to understand how Napa Valley uses its wine as a very extremely lucrative attraction.
The Californian wine, a very pleasant diversity
Everywhere I stopped, I could try so many different cepages (variety of wine). One of our stop was at Regusci Winery. The place looked amazing. Our host, a British who has settled in the region for many years now, commented the wine flight. We tasted one Chardonnay, one Pinot noir and two Sauvignon Cabernet. I was not convinced at all and really started to doubt to find any excellent winery around here.
But then came James Cole Winery. The vineyard is small, the quality is high. I bought most of my bottles at Jame Cole’s wine cellar. Their Chardonnay has a beautiful golden color, and the taste was sweet and fruity. Their Pinot noir was also excellent, which reminded me of my sweet Burgundy.
Our trip was unforgettable. I am actually going back to Napa Valley next May with my family. However, my only regret was I was not able to talk to the winemakers directly. I could not be 100% happy because I am so used to talk to them and exchange about their wine philosophy. Where should I go with my family next month? Any good tips?