Another Napa day…self-touring in Joe’s van.

This group shot is not the best-ever, but we enjoyed our night with Jill and Mike…and we were in “the vault” at Ristorante Allegria in downtown Napa.  Trevor, the waiter, took the photo…and takes all the credit for the lousy lighting and red-eye.  Bad photo, great food and fine memories.  Thanks to Mike and Jill for bringing some Robinson wine and some from their own stash.

Here it is again without the writing on the ladies' faces.
Here it is again without the writing on the ladies’ faces.

Dell Dotto didn’t get much explanation yesterday….just a couple more shots here to explain.  They have two caves and are building another.  The owners live at the Venetian castle you could see in the background of our group shot.  They held a fancy dress ball (Venetian-themed, of course) and have their personal costumes on display in the tasting room.  Gauche.

Their brochure.
Their brochure.
Their costumes....the man made his money in infomercials (after midnight TV) and real estate.
Their costumes….the man made his money in infomercials (after midnight TV) and real estate.

We left after breakfast today to go to Healdsburg in the Sonoma Valley…about an hour away.

Here's the famous Opus One Vineyard - a combo of Mondavi and Rothschild of France. Snooty and expensive, but scenic.
Here’s the famous Opus One Vineyard – a combo of Mondavi and Rothschild of France. Snooty and expensive, but scenic.  It’s on the Silverado Trail…the road to all things Napa.

Healdsburg’s  main square is surrounded by quaint shops and restaurants.  The Silvas’ recommendation was to eat brunch at Costeaux Bakery in order to make it back to Oakville to our tasting appointment at 1PM at Detert Vineyards.

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it's a real French Bakery but with lots of tables
it’s a real French Bakery but with lots of tables
and, look...here's a room that made us think of last night's
and, look…here’s a room that made us think of last night’s “vault” experience. It was a tiny private spot in a busy place.

We had some time to stroll the town and do some shopping.  Here are two of our women who can’t make up their mind which pillow to buy.  Tim and I had a strong recommendation…see if you can figure it out.

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Let’s stop for a moment and give some more praise to our driver, Mr. Joe Mondelli.

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He put on about 150 miles today with all of our stops in Napa, Healdsburg, Oakville, Soda Canyon and back to Napa….curvy roads and some back-seat whining included. The van he rented was very comfortable and you saw in an earlier chapter how it held all of six people’s collective “stuff” behind the back seat.

Tim and Julie’s daughter married a guy whose cousins – the Garretts – own a winery in Oakville…it’s called Detert Vineyards.  (DEE-tert).  Oakville is back down the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley.  We had an appointment and met Tom Garrett, the winemaker, at 1PM at the family home.  It’s surroudned by 18 acres…mostly planted in Cabernet Franc grapes.  HIs relaxed and charming explanation of the family’s history and how it fit into the Valley was superb.  Then, we went inside to his dining room for a guided tasting experience with 4 different vintages and varietals (are we starting to learn the language of the grape?).

the family home...visited by many of the members for holidays...it's in great shape. Tom, his wife and 3 kids live in St. Helena nearby.
the family home…visited by many of the members for holidays…it’s in great shape. Tom, his wife and 3 kids live in St. Helena nearby.
He talked first on the patio, so that we could see the oldest part of the vineyard and lots of newly planted grapes that will have their first yield in 2020 or 21...what a patience game is this winemaking business.
He talked first on the patio, so that we could see the oldest part of the vineyard and lots of newly planted grapes that will have their first yield in 2020 or 21…what a patience game is this winemaking business.
His dining room is the tasting room...charming and all you really need to learn and sip.
His dining room is the tasting room…charming and all you really need to learn and sip.
It's such a nice touch to have a connection like this and leads to the obligatory winemaker photo as we depart.
It’s such a nice touch to have a connection like this and leads to the obligatory winemaker photo as we depart.  Yes, Tom is 6’5″ tall.

We then high-tailed it to our 3PM appointment at the Caves at Soda Canyon, owned by Ryan and Crystal Waugh of Waugh Cellars.  Ryan is the youngest son of our good friends from the real estate business – Bert and Susy Waugh of Berkshire Hathaway Northwest Properties in Portland, OR.  (Bert and Susy flew down to be with us…of course, it helps that they have two grandkids here, but we were so glad to see them and give them each multiple hugs).

Crystal and Ryan are left and right. Bert and Susy are flanking Nancy and Chip.
Crystal and Ryan are left and right. Bert and Susy are flanking Nancy and Chip.
at the front door of the cave is some just-put-in-the-vat grapes from their recent harvest.
at the front door of the cave is some just-put-in-the-vat grapes from their recent harvest.
Ryan explains the other 3 family wineries who rent cave space from him and run events together. Tomorrow is a
Ryan explains the other 3 family wineries who rent cave space from him and run events together. Tomorrow is a “first annual” dinner inside the cave space.
This lady is
This lady is “plunging” to get the grapes broken up to aid the fermentation process…not an easy chore.
He does let us relax to listen, learn and sip each of his 8 Waugh wines.
He does let us relax to listen, learn and sip each of his 8 Waugh wines.
Crystal stands on the
Crystal stands on the “cake”…grapes just pressed on their way to fermenting in barrels or stainless steel tanks inside the caves.

Ryan is working winemaker and has the purple hands to prove it.

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A long day ends with a dinner at the hotel…we can’t make it to our downtown Napa 8PM reservation.  Good dinner and early to bed.

The Big Sur beckons tomorrow and we will lunch in Carmel and check in to the Tickle Pink Inn on the coast highway after that.  Giant windows from your room into the Pacific gorge with waves crashing on the rocks with a fireplace, romantically placed at the foot of your bed.  Wow…I hope Nancy and Julie bought the right pillows.

chiproach

Lifelong Philadelphia area Realtor. Now a 13-year citizen of Sanibel, Florida. Married to Nancy for 53 years. Three children (2 in Devon; 1 in Steamboat Springs, CO) and 5 grandkids (2 in college). Helping with charities involving poverty, kids and education.

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