In Vino Veritas

So Mrs. Dude and I took a little anniversary trip last weekend. Yep, we survived the pivotal one year, so congrats to us! Anyway. I had planned to do a full travelogue of our travels (and, occasionally, travails) through Napa and Sonoma Valleys, but it may not happen. So in the meantime I wanted to offer a little tip of the cap to one particular place that welcomed us warmly.

Before we called it a night tonight, we opened a newly-arrived bottle of 2004 merlot from Miner Family Vineyards, located on the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley. I believe the exact town is considered to be Oakville,  but they’re really not in any town. They have a gorgeous, open tasting room with a spectacular view that I wish I had a photo of.

Anyway, after a couple of days mostly spent at the big names — we visited Rubicon Estate (formerly Niebaum-Coppola, aka Francis Ford Coppola’s winery, aka the place where you can see Vito Corleone’s desk), and we visited Robert Mondavi Winery and we visited Domaine Chandon — we wanted something a little more off the beaten path. So we hit the Silverado Trail, which is more of a secondary route. Visited ZD Wines, where we had a nice experience, and overheard another couple telling yet another couple what a wonderful time they had at Miner. So we took the advice, not even directed at us.

Best move of the trip. From the start, we felt welcome. The wines were fantastic. I don’t like Chardonnays, and I liked theirs. I hadn’t had a Merlot I’d enjoyed all weekend, and I liked theirs. And everything else was great too. We went through their tasting, liked everything and basically decided that rather than ordering a bottle or two, we wanted to join their club.

About that time, we were introduced to a fellow who worked there who hailed from STL. And he wanted to talk food, and wine, and home. And he set us up. Gave us a taste of one bottle after another, all really tasty. Gave us a (very good) dinner recommendation. Asked us for tips for where to go these days in STL. And just generally made us feel welcome.

So anyway. Big thanks to Miner Family, both for a great experience and for a tasty wine that we started to enjoy tonight. And if you’re in the area, go check them out. If you’re out there and from STL, tell them, and if the gentleman (whose name, horribly, we never did get) is there, he’ll probably take care of you too.



Thanks for the tip about wine country. I’ve been wanting to tour the area for quite some time. Yes, even before the movie Sideways came out. I have always liked Pinot Noirs because they are much lighter and less tannic than Merlot or Shiraz. My palate just doen’t take kindly to the thickness of the more tannic wines. I am also a big fan of some good Cabs and red Zinfandels. Did you happen to visit Heitz Cellars or Grgich Hills? Those are two OUTSTANDING cabernets.I’m going to look into getting some of the Miner Family wines at the liquor store where I work right now.I love to try new wines,but I’ll have to do some research and find out if they distribute to this market. Again thanks for the heads up about good wine. I, for one, appreciate good taste in wine.

Oh yeah, am I correct in detecting the Tombstone reference in the title?

I live in the Bay Area and unfortunately I seldom get to tour the wine country.

But I do like Miner for the atmosphere. Kunde Winery in the Sonoma Valley has the ame welcoming vibe. And they have good Merlots and Cabernets.

But I will forever be a fan of the wines from Silver Oak near Yountville. Tremendous cabernets.

A lot of good restaurants in the area, especially in Yountville. If you can’t get into French Laundry, try Bistro Jeanty. Or Mustard’s a little further south. Tra Vigne is very good (closer to St. Helena) and Thomas Keller has opened a couple of new, lower profile places that are really good in Yountville.

We chose not to spend the $$$ for French Laundry, though we of course heard it was spectacular. Mustard’s was also really well recommended, though we didn’t make it.

Our two dinners were at the same general area, at the Carneros Inn. We ate at the Boon Fly Cafe the first night, and had a roast pork that was absolutely phenomenal. Second night we went to Farm, and had a terrific meal there as well.

Lunched at La Luna in I think St. Helena, a little Mexican grocery with wonderful burritos, and then at Vi Sattui.


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