First stop was Cakebread Cellars. This winery is very brown, wood everywhere (I'd paint it all white), so I really didn't like the facility. And I can't say I particularly liked any of the wines I tasted either. Some light relief was provided, albeit unintentionally, by our host, a man we nicknamed The International Man of Mystery, who regaled us with tales of the many hats he had worn throughout his life. This gentleman had had so many dissimilar occupations (e.g., selling Picassos and Gauguins), in many different parts of the world, that he'd have to be about 150 years old to have fit everything in. Or had performed every job for, oh, let's say, about 39 seconds each.
Next, we headed over to Goosecross Cellars (GC). I visited GC (now owned by a Coors Brewing Company heiress) last March, so I think I'd already tasted most of the current releases. A member of our group had once worked at GC, so the wine-tasting devolved into more of a reunion. In truth, there wasn't a lot of focus on the wines, if any, which was a shame.
Lunch was at Bottega, in Yountville, and was delicious as usual (I had a fabulous duck ravioli). Chef Michael Chiarello, being in residence that day, came over to say a quick hello. Celebrity chefs: a modern day phenomenon, sigh.
Last stop of the day was at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (SLWC). Made famous by Warren Winiarski (and the Judgement of Paris), but now under the ownership of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori, the newish visitors centre at SLWC is absolutely stunning. And absolutely overwhelming. (I could have done without the lecture on Copernicus.) However, of all the wines I had tasted today, I liked the wines here best, especially a rather tasty 2010 Cask 23 (at once both smooth and intense). I was delighted to discover that SLWC produce a dry Sémillon, a varietal that can be difficult to do well. The Rancho Chimiles, 2015 Sémillon (Napa Valley AVA), was quite appealing, so I bought a few bottles.
All in all, it was a fun day. If there were any awkward silences - at lunch, or driving to and from wineries - someone would recall an interesting factoid about our Cakebread Man of Mystery and we'd all have a good laugh. The rain was persistent.