Thursday, August 12, 2010
From the Napa Valley; Part 2
Mary Ann joined us for our first full day in the Valley, arriving in time for breakfast with us at the Vintage Inn.
After breakfast, we headed to Mumm Napa Valley for a tour and tasting. We missed the first tour of the day, which is at 10 a.m. and for which there is no charge and no included tasting. For the rest of the day's tours, there is a charge of $20 for the one hour tour which includes three tastings of Mumm's sparkling wines and participants get to keep their Mumm logo tasting flute. The cost for the tour/tasting for those under 21 is $10 and their tasting is of Mumm's non-alcoholic wine grape juices.
The Mumm tour is one of my favorites for learning about the production of Champagne, both in France and here in the Napa Valley.
The Tour starts outdoors in a small demonstration vineyard where examples of all the grapes used in making Mumm wines are grown. We were encouraged to taste the grapes right off the vine. Note how compact each bunch of grapes is. Wine grapes are very different in appearance and taste from the table grapes that we usually eat.
We then moved indoors to Mumm's production facility and viewed all stages of their wine production and tasted three different sparkling wines.
We all were amused at Bob the Robot who was lifting 18 bottles of wine at a time. While we were looking down on Bob, he missed a few bottles of wine in one lift and stopped working. He looked embarrassed, we thought.
Mumm's tour ends in their art galleries. Visitors can visit the art galleries at no charge, without taking a tour. The current special photography exhibit, "Paris Icons" by James Scholz is being shown through September 26, 2010.
While Mary Ann and I toured, Jim and Louie sat on Mumm's outdoor tasting patio and did their own tasting. Louie was presented with a large doggie cookie as soon as he arrived.
We then drove up to the Veteran's Home of California whose beautiful campus is in the hills on the west side of Yountville.
By now we were hungry for lunch and headed back to Yountville to Pacific Blues
where we enjoyed Burgers
and a Reuben sandwich .
Since Mary Ann has spent limited time in Yountville, we walked around town a bit. We explored the French Laundry's gardens which are across from the restaurant,
visited some of the town's shops, and simply enjoyed the day.
And then, it was tea time at the Vintage Inn.
We got ourselves plates of mini pastries and tea sandwiches and some lemonade and iced tea and headed to the pool until it was time for Mary Ann to head back home.
For dinner for me and Jim that evening, it was off to Hurley's where we ate lightly, but, as always, enjoyed the food.
This is the height of the fresh tomato season and I had to try their tomato soup which is made with tomatoes and other seasonings and absolutely no broth...delicious with a polenta crouton floating in the middle.
I follow my soup with an appetizer serving of Moroccan Beef Skewers which were served with salad and hummus.
Jim started with a Butter Lettuce Salad
and followed it with Steamed Mussels.