While abroad the Wine Train in Napa Valley, my sister and I decided to disembark to enjoy a wine tasting & tour since a few were along the tracks and were able to stop for passengers. We chose the wine tasting at Grgich Hills Estate Winery for none other than the history background of this fine winery.
As you know, Europe especially France is celebrated for their wine. A wine from anywhere else would simply “not do” and certainly no wine from California in the good ole’ USA.
History goes that in the infamous “Paris Tasting” of 1976, in a historic blind tasting, a panel of expert French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped from a large group of white wines – most from the white Burgundies of France and a few small samples of Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. Scores were tallied and the French judges were shocked and astonished. They chose the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, crafted by Mike Grgich as the finest white wine in the world. What a freaking accomplishment! How did a little winery from Napa Valley get such an award?!
After this, Mike Grgich was known as the “King of Chardonnay”and if you know me at all, you know that Chardonnay is my favorite kind of wine. Although, I am finding I have a bit of a taste for Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon…which tells me that my palette is definitely evolving (wee for sophistication!)
The grounds were homely, rich, and well-kept. I was so happy to see that the typical Northern California fog had lifted from the 1.5 hour drive from Sacramento. My sister and I were ready to taste test like the wine connoisseurs we were not. Strolling into the entrance, we were immediately greeted with a nice sized tasting of the infamous Chardonnay.
It was lovely and I immediately took a liking to it. Crisp and fresh without too much oakiness and finished off very rich and warm. After a quick introduction and history, we were led outside and into the rooms where the aging of the wine is stored. Lots of barrels stored in the European style of organization in the metal racks.
I enjoyed the rest of the tastings except the Merlot but I don’t have a liking for Merlot really so I poured my sample into my sister’s glass who gleefully and happily gulped it down knowing she didn’t have to drive home.
I had a fun experience with the tasting and the tour was informative with lots of fun tid bits about wine and the aging process that I didn’t already know. Our guide was friendly and seemed really excited to give us a tour and share her wealth of information on wine and the winery itself.
After the tour, we were led back into the entrance room and gifted with a souvenir glass with the winery’s logo embossed on it. A nice touch. 🙂
Many thanks to the Napa Valley Wine Train for this magical opportunity. As always, no fakin’ in the makin’ – all thoughts and opinions are mine.