Sep 092010
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Wine Caves at Kenzo Estate

Day 1

Each day we will give a summary of the day before. More detailed stories about many of the places we visit with specific wine recommendations will be posted in the weeks to come.

The fall B&B Napa/Sonoma sojourn I must admit had a dubious start. We were up at 5AM to make an 8:30 flight to San Francisco. While standing in the security line Donna received an automated call from Southwest Airlines saying our flight was delayed an hour due to weather in San Francisco. If you’ve ever been to the San Francisco airport and rented a car, you know what an arduous experience that is, including a 50 minute wait in line because Hertz had no cars. Fortunately, we got all the rough stuff out of the way early and had a great rest of the day.

The clouds of San Francisco dissipated as we drove across the bay bridge and on to Napa where it was sunny and 75 degrees. Our first stop was at the newly opened Kenzo Estate high above the town of Napa on Glass Mountain. Think of this as more of a destination winery rather than a stop by tasting room. This sleek, elegant winery is the 100 million dollar dream of Kenzo Tsujimoto of Japanese video game giant, Capcom. Heidi Barrett of Screaming Eagle fame is the winemaker.

When you arrive at the elegant yet understated winery expect to be greeted with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc

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Concrete Fermentation Tanks

 and given a short tour of their state of the art (and that’s an understatement) winemaking facility. The facility includes over 20,000 sq. ft of wine caves and computer/internet controlled fermentation tanks. The real treat is the wine tasting on the arbor covered patio furnished with elegant yet comfortable outdoor furniture. Kenzo Estate sits in 4000 acres, much of it untouched, lush and mountainous. All the grapes are estate grown on 70 acres. The view from the patio of vineyards and mountains is awe inspiring and the wines impeccable.

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Provenance Vineyards

The only other folks tasting at Kenzo were a very engaging and wine savvy couple from Oakland. We sat around for almost an hour sharing wine stories. As they were leaving they suggested we stop by the tasting room at Provenance Vineyards which as luck would have it was on our way to the B&B where we are staying. So we really had no choice but to stop in. The fun and enthusiastic tasting room crew knew the gentleman by name that had referred us. The wine star of that show was the 2005 Hewitt Vineyards Cabernet. Another bonus for was that in this nicely appointed tasting room, one of our favorite Texas singers, Robert Earl Keen was playing on the stereo.

The evening finished with a wonderful dinner and wine at the bar complimented by good conversation with a couple of locals at Tra Vignae. The house made mozzarella and fried Meyer lemons (sounds weird but they were delicious) were unique standouts.

This morning we are off to Sonoma to visit Emeritus Pinot, Pezzi King and Jordan. We’ll finish the evening at dinner with Mark Blanchard of Blanchard Family Wines.

  One Response to “Day 1 Napa and Sonoma Adventure”

  1. What fun! Hope your travels continue to be so “tasty” and the weather great. Wish that you and Donna would provide some insight on all the Texas wineries you have visited to provide a “roadmap” of sorts to those within 100 miles of Austin. BEST WISHES…………………and, like the Dos Equiis ad, STAY THIRSTY MY FRIEND………………….

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