Monday, September 14, 2009

Wine Tasting With Robert Craig

Yesterday, I got a wild hair and decided to start getting into planning mode... This means I will be planning my next big vacation to wine country and when I do this, watch out...I will be in full planning mode. My friends have been asking me, "When are we going to Howell Mountain???" And that got me thinking about a tasting I did recently with a very esteemed winery owner, Robert Craig. Bob Craig has a tasting room in downtown Napa but he also owns a property on Howell Mountain. When I found out he was visiting us here in Iowa, I made plans to attend the tasting.

The day started off very strangely. A few minutes before I left to go, I got a call from some friends of mine. They asked if I wouldn't mind being interviewed for a reality show they wanted to be contestants on. Hmmm...Interesting. So I arrived at the wine shop a couple minutes early. Bob was alone waiting for the tasters so I walked up and introduced myself. Twenty minutes later, we were still engaged in conversation. He was a wonderful storyteller and gave me the entire history of the winery and his family. Just then the camera guy showed up and it was time for me to be interviewed. Bob filled my glass with the 2006 Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon and away we went! He was such a good sport! I think he may have even gotten on camera!!!

Anyway, we tried some lovely selections- five out of the seven current offerings he has:

2007 Chardonnay Durrell Vineyard Sonoma Valley--Excellent! About as comparable to a good French white Burgundy as it can get! It was rich, without being overly oaked, lovely flavors of apple, pear and stone fruit, with some caramel toast on the end.

2006 Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley---Gorgeous and my favorite of the five! Rich, powerful, berries, chocolate, cassis! Nice Bordeaux blend!

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder---Nothing rugged about this Cab, it oozed berries and violets, very floral and smooth.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain--Complete opposite of the Mount Veeder! Leather, earth, tobacco, dark fruit, big tannic backbone--will age beautifully!

2006 Zinfandel Howell Mountain--This is a really different Zinfandel. I've had nothing like it before. It's meaty, earthy, huge! Definitely needs a big meaty dish with it!

Wow, I was pretty impressed! I brought the Affinity home and will open it on a special occasion! Bob signed bottles and chatted with everyone and he was such a nice guy! We walked away happy, with an invitation to visit the Howell Mountain property and that is where I am starting the planning! We plan on spending a day up there, visiting the wineries and enjoying the view. It's going to be great!

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