Thursday, February 19, 2015
I actually managed to get Vinomaker to take some time off work to go and do a quick wine tasting with me, something we haven't done for a couple years. And we didn't even have to go very far, just a quick drive into downtown Napa.
St. Clair Brown Winery is located in a light-industrial area of the city of Napa. Surrounded by sheet metal fabrication shops and auto repair businesses, St. Clair Brown is truly an urban winery. Currently, the winery produces about 200 cases each of nine different wines of which Vinomaker and I tasted four (their 4 Wine Sampler). The winery has a permit to serve food and I originally had intended to have lunch there, but with a fairly tight schedule we decided to just do a tasting. The wines were all very pleasant; a 2011 Coombsville Chardonnay (a tad too oaky), a 2008 Coombsville Syrah, a 2010 Oak Knoll/Atlas Peak Merlot and a 2010 Oak Knoll/Atlas Peak/St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon. Our host, the son of one of the owners, was delightful, the wines exhibited a distinct winemaking style, the urban environment was fun and a chat with owner Laina Brown was interesting - an enjoyable experience. The winery does not, however, offer complimentary tastings to the other wine industry folks. Now, I'm not cheap, and I was only too happy to pay the $20.00 tasting fee, but I do believe it is a little short-sighted of St. Clair Brown. What better marketing/advertising is there than to make other winery personnel ambassadors of your brand? It is my belief that a 2 fluid ounce pour can go an awfully long way in promoting a winery. On to dinner.
Vinomaker had not been to R&D Kitchen in Yountville, so that is where I decided to take him for his birthday dinner. R&D does have a rather limited menu, but I sort of like that about this restaurant. More important to Vinomaker, perhaps, was R&D's 'wine by the glass' wine list. I just had one glass of Schramsberg Brut Rosé because I was driving, but Vinomaker had a glass of white wine and a glass of red wine. The white was a 2013 Cowhorn Spiral 36 (Applegate Valley AVA, Oregon), a blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne, (the Marsanne really popped in this wine). The red was a 2012 Page Wine Cellars/Revolver Wine Company 'The Fury' Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley AVA), really nice, lots of dark berries, dried flowers and dried herbs on the nose. And that's it: yet another anniversary of Vinomaker's birth done and dusted. Oh, and Gung hei fat choi!
Happy birthday Vinomaker!