Beauty and Bubbles – Wineventure Day 3 of 4

Now that The Girl is back to school (Freedom!), I can get caught up on my posts. Yippee kai yay, M-fer!

Back to Napa. Because we are wine club members at Cakebread (meaning, we get wine shipments several times throughout the year), we are allowed to visit the fancypants private member’s patio at the winery in Rutherford. Not only do we get to sit in the shade and enjoy the surroundings, but we get to taste several of their wines – gratis. Today, the tasting menu included Chardonnay Reserve, Pinot Noir (Annahala Ranch), Gulajote, and the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. As with our other tastings, we also got to enjoy bonus tastes of Merlot and Rubiyat. Now, don’t go thinking that all tasting experiences include extra, off-menu wine. I think it’s really more a benefit of enjoying a luxury label. Not that we limit ourselves to upscale tastings, but we’ve learned that if we’re traveling this far, that’s mostly what we want to experience. But, if you’ve been to Mondavi, Silverado, or the like, I’d be curious to hear how that went.

Besides talking knowledgeably about the wines and such, our host, Frank, was quite the funny guy. We were wondering about something (the subject escapes me at the moment), and one of us said we should Google it. But, Frank had the answer, because “Frankle is better than Google.” Ha ha. So, anyway, he took this photo for us:

Look at those happy, purple smiles!

In addition to delicious wines, I love Cakebread for the connection to Ansel Adams. Text from the first image below:

Recognized as arguably one of, if not the, foremost authorities on black and white photography, Ansel Adams is celebrated for his innovative contributions to photography (particularly that of Yosemite National Park and the High Sierra’s [sic]), and his active role as an environmentalist (with such groups as the Sierra Club). Ansel worked with Jack Cakebread for several years, both in the field and in Ansel’s studio, and was an amazing mentor and cherished friend.

After looking at the photography on display at the Cakebread winery, we followed Frankle’s advice and went to La Luna Market & Taqueria for lunch, where we both ordered quesedillas. Hubs had carne al pastor and I had camarones diablo. Holy shizballs! I forgot that when Mexican food is deemed spicy at a place like this in a town like this, it’s REALLY spicy! One bite and kid you not – my eyeballs were sweating!

After lunch, we followed another Frankle suggestion. We’d asked him where to go nearby for some bubbles because we were looking for something to go with what we were planning for our dinner (grilled lobster tails and drawn butter – sounds so much more elegant than melted in a pan – which I was so eager to eat that I forgot to snap a pic – sorry, not sorry). Frankle directed us to Mumm. 

Our host at Mumm reminded me of a super tall Ken doll. He took this photo of us:

We tasted three of their bubbly concoctions (the Blanc de Blanc Reserve, Blanc de Noir, and Brut Rosé.

Mumm Brut and Brut Rosé are fairly easy to find in a midwest grocery store, but the Blanc de Blanc Reserve and the Blanc de Noir? Not so much, so those were a treat to try.

We really enjoyed the Blanc de Blanc, we each took a glass then ventured to their gallery of fine art photography. On display was a permanent Ansel Adams exhibit (how lucky to see more of his images!), plus a temporary display of Todd Hido’s work. His portfolio is quite interesting. He plays with a handful of themes and techniques – lots of color play. If you are into that kind of thing, I strongly suggest looking him up. Note: many of his images are NSFW/NSFK.

Before leaving, we stopped in the Mumm retail shop, where after purchasing a couple of bottles of Blanc de Blanc Reserve and a miniature wine cork cage (to hang on the Christmas tree). Then, we stopped into Sbux so I wouldn’t crash like the night before (again, I’m not a great day-drinker). Finally, we headed “home” for dinner (the aforementioned lobster tail plus a lovely side salad and crusty bread for soaking up excess butter (is there really such a thing as excess butter?). And then, I started writing all of this for you to read. And now, a million years later, I’m finally posting it. 😉

On to day 4…

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