Sunday, December 25, 2016

Napa Valley Wine Train Quattro Vino Tour!

Merry Christmas!  And for a special Christmas post, I've decided to share a wonderful wine experience I had a couple weeks ago.  Now, of course I like wine, but I also like trains, so combining them together is the best of both world.  Now last year I took my first trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train (see this post) on the "Ambassador Wine Tour" and since I was headed to San Francisco on business it seemed like a good idea to revisit the train (it's a perfect day trip from San Francisco as they arrange transportation to and from the Ferry Terminal).  When I called to make my reservation, I spoke to a wonderful lady who informed me of a new service, the "Quattro Vino" tour, where you go on a private car to visit four different wineries, with a small bites menu between each stop.  So here you are, live vicariously through my photos!

To start, this is a completely separate train than the traditional Napa Valley Wine Train, which goes from downtown Napa to Saint Helena.  Although this train follows much the same route, it is a separate private car, a restored early 20th Century heavyweight car, pulled by a GP-9 diesel locomotive.

The car is beautifully restored on the inside and there is a kitchen and chef to prepare the wonderful small bite menu (more on that in a little bit!).  The train then goes to four different wineries, hence "quattro vino."

The train departed right around 10:00 am.  On the way to our first stop, we were treated to a glass of sparkling wine and then the "breakfast" menu which consisted of a Greek yogurt and berry parfait with granola, brulee steel cut oatmeal and ciabatta topped with shaved pork, arugula pesto, carmelized onions, egg and manchego cheese.  Everything was delicious!

Soon we arrived at our first stop, the Robert Mondavi winery:

Within the tour, we saw some of the vineyard as well as Beniamino Bufano's "The Muse" which is arguably one of the most photographed sculptures in the valley.

Then we were treated to a tasting of a white and red wine in the grand cellar, so many barrels!  We had the chance to taste some of the 2012 Vintage of the Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon that I reviewed a few weeks earlier.

Soon it was time to leave and head for our "lunch" course of small bites on the way to our next winery stop.  The lunch menu consisted of asparagus veloute with white truffle oil and a bibb lettuce salad with bleu cheese, fennel and apple crisp.  Again everything was delicious!

Then we found ourselves at Robert's brother Peter's winery, Charles Krug, the oldest operating winery in Napa Valley, founded in 1861.

We started with a taste of their Sauvignon Blanc, which I really liked, despite it not being a red wine!

We had some additional tastes of some very fine red wines in the upstairs tasting room this time.

Then we were back on the train for more bites and the next winery on the tour.

We enjoyed our main course, a choice of duck sausage with potato puree, grilled onions and sauternes apples, or what I chose, the seared halibut with fava, lentil and white bean ragout with saffron.

The next stop was Maryvale Winery, which was beautifully decorated for Christmas (this was the added bonus I didn't have last year as I went in October).

The wines were very nice, particularly their cabernet, but alas they, like every other winery so far, would not ship to Indiana, so I was out of luck getting any of these wines home!

Back on the train, for a quick ride over to our fourth and final winery stop, V. Sattui, which was also nicely decked out for Christmas.

We had a wonderful tasting with a young man who had a lot of knowledge.  They had some specialties in GSM blends, and they had one that I really liked (more on that in a future post as they would ship to Indiana!).

The tasting room was also very nice as they put us in a private room that really was nice.  Then it was back on the train to Napa, but not before we had dessert!

The dessert bites were wonderful, a cinnamon crusted tarte au citron, a flourless chocolate cake and apple almond cannoli!  And that was it, a wonderful afternoon spent in Napa with some great wine and food!  Here's wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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