Here we are again, off to Napa Valley. This time, we were joined by our friends John and Carolyn Benyshek. The trip started out with our typical run around the Golden Gate and a climb up the Marin Headlands. Then we spent a couple of days exploring Sonoma County. We took a hike through Armstrong Woods near Guerneville, and drove out to the Pacific Coast Highway. We had beautiful weather, as usual.
We took the Benysheks on our usual tour of favorite wineries, including Chateau Montelena, Paradigm, Frog’s Leap, Pride, and Barnett. I think we made converts of both of them (even though Carolyn doesn’t drink). We just may have a future as tour guides in wine country. I can imagine worse ways to make a living…
May was time for our annual pilgrimage to Napa Valley. This is now our 4th annual visit, always timed around Chris’ birthday in May. These long weekends have become a very welcome tradition, and we’re really starting to know our way around. We start off with an afternoon around San Francisco and just have to walk across the Golden Gate and scale the Marin headlands. Then it’s off to wine country.
Two significant new discoveries this year were Chateau Montelena and Pride Mountain Vineyards. Both are known for excellent cabernet sauvignon, so we were right at home. You may remember that Chateau Montelena was one of the stars of the 1976 Paris tasting, where the upstart Americans shocked the French. You can tour the wonderful old ivy-covered winery and walk around Jade Lake, which has been landscaped as a Japanese garden.
Pride Mountain sits on top of Spring Mountain, and strattles the Napa and Sonoma County lines. The elevation really seems to add power to the wine. Everything was fantastic, and as you can see from the pictures below, the scenery is drop-dead gorgeous. It isn’t cheap, but if you have any interest in wine whatsoever, you owe it to yourself to visit Pride! Lara and I became instant disciples.