There’s no whining going on in this group! We are having a blast eating and wine tasting our way around Napa Valley!e wrap up our Napa trip in Gallo Country! From their beginnings in Modesto, my home town, they have created a pretty impressive collection of wineries which are all part of the Gallo Brand! Some of them surprised me like MacMurray Ranch, Frei Brothers, Louis M Martini, Mirassou, and William Hill Estate to name a few. Gallo, the worlds largest winery, has become a maker of fine wines too!
Our first stop for another wonderful private tasting was Louis M Martini. Enter some very good wines and a tasty port. Ben McClure our tasting guide and wine expert. Ben was charming, knowledgeable and had great stories to tell! We had the pleasure of his tours at both Louis M Martini and William Hill Estate!
And so the story begins. During World War II the industry faced many problems, including price controls, the challenge of labor shortages, the lack of bottles and rail cars for eastern shipment of wine. Louis M Martini believed the vintners could collectively solve industry-related problems that could not be solved by individuals. In 1943, Louis M. Martini, John Daniel, Jr., Charles Forni and Louis Stralla discussed forming an association of vintners. By 1944 an association had been formed and they invited other vintners to join them: Georges de Latour, Robert Mondavi, Elmer Salmina, Charlie Beringer and Roy Raymond. In the early years it became a “who’s who” of Napa Valley wine makers.
As our tour makes it’s way outside, we see the vats, press and strainers associated with making wine on a large scale. Jill, Bill and David check out the Giant press that fits in the wine vat to press the grape skins.
The grapes are pressed and the juice is strained through these colander like containers.
Old stainless steel vats that are about to be removed. A smaller vat is inserted into the bigger vat and glycol flows between them as a coolant for the fermenting wine. Only problem was , it caused the vat to buckle…
In 2002, the family sold the winery to the Gallo family and a year later, Martini began making only Cabernet Sauvignon and red wines. They used to make 25 different varieties, but today only make five out of their “Cellar 254,” a micro-winery established in 2003. Notice how the initials on the glass “LMM” for Louis M Martini form a crown which is their signature trademark. The Petite Sirah Port with Truffles was so incredibly good! Dessert before lunch….well yeah, it was a special occasion!
Lunch Break! Gott’s Roadside has the most amazing Niman Ranch Burgers, incredible customer service and a “this is not your typical burger joint” food!! If you’re anywhere near one, you gotta go!!
My burger, sans bun, (the buns looked fantastic) had Point Reyes Blue Cheese, an onion ring, pickle and BBQ sauce! The fries were perfect and the fried Brussels Sprouts were out of this world terrific!
William Hill Estates tasting room and vineyards are tucked away along the serene Silverado Trail. The estate is gorgeous and the wines are very impressive. There is a area top of a small knoll with views over the valley from a variety of picnic tables and Adirondack chairs for a more relaxed tasting experience if you choose.
How do you make a great white wine? You have two choices: Stirring the yeast in the white wine twice a day for 2 years creates a creamy mouth feel. That is dedication! OR…
You can buy a $40,000 ceramic egg that will stir the yeast for you! Now that’s a fine wine!
Ta Da! William Hill Cabernet was a well balanced, fruit forward dark cherry glass of heaven! Oh happy day!