Napa … Part II

So, let’s see … where did I leave off?  Oh yeah, the next day we checked out of our hotel early and went to have breakfast at Gillwood’s in St. Helena.  I had a bowl of their special hot steel-cut oatmeal with bananas, currents, cinnamon, and brown sugar … mmmm, it was great!  They also offered the milk either hot or cold which was a first for me.  After that very filling breakfast, we headed out to Duckhorn Vineyards for a unique food and wine pairing experience … that’s right, more food!    When we first got there, we saw a woman walking a pair of Russian terriers … man, those dogs were big!  Check out Alex kneeling next to one of ’em.    This one reminded us of our own Peanut – except that his fur was black and he was about 4 times Peanut’s size!  Cute dogs, but they probably cost a fortune to feed and maintain.

The food and wine pairing was awesome.  We were led into a private dining room and were joined by a San Francisco couple, Steve & Kazu Jones, who own a very high end wine store in SF … oh, and by the way, Happy Birthday, Steve!.  Led by our sommelier, Abigail,  the boys & I learned about the subtle qualities of the sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon varieties and how different spices and foods could greatly add to or detract from the tasting of those wines.  Check out the food pairings in my photo … not only were they beautifully presented but really ono!!  I hate to use an old cliche’, but with each pairing the flavors literally “exploded” in my mouth!  I have to be honest with you guys, though … after one pass through the different pairings, I was already feeling a nice “buzz” from the wine and it became increasingly difficult to concentrate on the what Abbie was saying after that … in fact, I have no CLUE what she said after that!  Hahaha!  Needless to say, by the time the session was over we were all one big happy family!

After our visit to Duckhorn, we were supposed to visit the Cade Winery (we had visited their sister Plumpjack Winery the day before) but instead decided to accept Steve & Kazu’s invitation to join them at Mumm Napa for a little champagne tasting.   It was the perfect way to end our Napa trip … sitting out on the terrace overlooking the vineyard fields in the late afternoon sun, sipping some great champagne with our new  friends … a truly memorable moment!

Thus ends Part II of our great journey … stay tuned for the final wrap-up tomorrow!  And next week, MDNA kicks off its 2012 year with performances at the Hyatt (Wed.),  Lulu’s (Fri.), and KKPG (Sat.) … hmmm, I wonder if I still remember how to play my guitar??!!  TIME TO ROCK ‘N ROLL, BAYBEEEEE!!!!

Aloha, “Pops”


  1. Sounds like and incredible visit to Napa Valley. So sorry you were not able to visit us at CADE!  Hopefully you will come see us next time.

    • Thanks!  We actually drove up to your winery but couldn’t get in because you guys were so busy.  We ended up joining our friends at Mumm but hope to visit your place on our next trip.