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Walking through the hallowed halls of history at Chateau Montelena. This winery produced the famed 1973 Chardonnay that beat out the top French White Burgundy bottlings at the Paris Tasting in 1976. This opened the world’s eyes to the possibility of other places than France producing world quality wine and was the inspiration behind the movie “Bottle Shock”.

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From one legend to another, from Chateau Montelena we visited Venge Vineyards. Nils Venge has the honor of producing the first American wine Robert Parker awarded 100 points in 1985. His son made dad proud. In 2012, Kurt Venge achieved the same honor making the Venges the only father and  son team to achieve this feat.

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The quiet beauty of the Calistoga area of Northern Napa County. This serene place is home to many of the most famous vineyards in the appellation including Eisele pictured above.

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Not to say there is not still opulence in the valley as evidenced by the $62 million facility at Jarvis carved into the side of a hollowed out mountain. Below are geodes found during construction, some of the largest ever found in California. The entire facility had a certain “Moria” feel for you LOTR fans, including the imposing metal doors than lead into the caverns. cali 2 876     cali 2 880

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Robert Sinskey Vineyards are the leading biodynamic winery in the US. The biodynamic wine making process is further discussed in the Italy-Alto Adige Post.

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Our good friend Erin Martin discusses the 2010 vintage as we barrel sample the “Jillian’s Blend”, a juicy perennial favorite of ours from Laird Family Estates. The Lairds are one of the oldest farming families in the county. In 1998, they decided to keep some fruit for themselves and start their own personal brand. They hired famed wine making consultant Paul Hobbs to help out and the wines are some of our favorites from year to year

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Reeds Wine List:

2012. Chappellet. Chenin Blanc- Napa Valley. $53, $36 to go

2011. Laird, “Jillian’s Blend”. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec- Napa Valley. $59, $39 to go

2009. Staglin Family Vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon- Napa Valley. $216, $202 to go