Saturday, May 9, 2009

All Aboard the Wine Train

We had Easter Brunch on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Here are some photos from that trip (which was very fun). This would be a great way to see the Valley and get a sense of the lay of the land of vineyards and wineries. Then on your next trip, you can do the driving thing, stopping at the various tasting rooms of the wineries you are particularly interested in. The air-conditioning and not having to deal with the (often miserable) traffic makes it especially great for the young and old, and for those who always end up being the chauffeurs on road trips. I recommend it (although it can be a bit pricy). But don't let this be your only Napa experience. Go to Mondavi and take the tasting tour and see the caves, have a picnic at V. Sattui (and grab a bottle of their Gamay), and eat at Mustards!
The Wine Train has its own depot in downtown Napa where one must endure a super dumb (ing down) "wine seminar" before boarding. This is meant to demystify the business of wine connoisseurship. Napa Chamber of Commerce should work to kill off this bit of the wine train schtick. Entirely. Our "seminar" leader was a.w.f.u.l.

This menu would be a bit different (and more expensive) if one was in the "Dome Car" (below), with its glass domed ceiling and views of the valley. Alas, we were not--we waited to late in the week to make reservations and they were sold out. (BTW--this is a prix fixe menu/train fare--and then the wine(s) recommended for each course are purchased a la carte.)

One ticket option is a 2 or 3 hour stop at Grgich Hills Winery. The train stops, folks with this option get off, and then when the train comes back down the valley, it stops to pick them up.

At some points, the train runs behind the restaurants, wineries, and occasional brewery. This is a classic scene from that perspective.

At any point in time (once one's dinner seating is over), one can head to the front and back decks of the 9 car train. This couple is on the front deck--just behind the engine.
Opus One (A partnership between the late Robert Mondavi and Baron Philllippe de Rothchilds).

A lovely and delicious salad made in the kitchen below.

Approaching a Napa Valley landmark--Oakville Grocery...

And here is where we nearly always end up. Great lawns and deli and wine. For years we've waved at the wine train while picnicing.

A few other wineries we passed along the way.

Nature was good to look at, too.
These little wildflowers dot the pasture near the train depot. All in all, it was a very fun trip.

1 comment:

participant-observer said...

my old stomping grounds...
there were time it was nice to work in napa