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After flying into Oakland, we hit up the first In-N-Out Burger on our route and proceeded to our hotel, the Hyatt Pleasant Hill. I’ve had the Chase Hyatt credit card for about two years and really can’t say enough great things about it. We’ve been able to stay at amazing properties in Costa Rica, Orlando, Nashville, and now, near Napa. The hotel is about a 45-minute drive to the Napa and Sonoma area, but the highways are clear and wide, and the drive was easy. What we loved about this hotel was its proximity to a few local restaurant and shops (including a LensCrafters since I forgot my contacts), the amazing free breakfast, the gym, and the pool. We booked the hotel on points, so we only ended up paying the taxes!
We traveled into the Napa area on Sunday and decided to hit the winery which was farthest away first and work our way back down south to the hotel. Our first stop was the Merryvale Vineyard in St. Helena. The winery entrance is nondescript, but once you enter, the gorgeous bar and tasting area is revealed. Plush couches line the walls for tasting groups. At the back of the room is the entrance to the Cask Room, a cavernous room lined with old oak barrels; the largest which once help up to 22,000 gallons of wine!
2013 Cabernet Franc was next. It’s a blend of 90% Cabernet Franc grapes and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It was aged 22 months in French oak, and smells of dark fruit. It has a dense flavor profile that unfurls on your tongue, tart tannins, and a rich mouth feel
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon was the final wine on the tasting. It was a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. This one was the most tannic out of all of them. You can choose to drink this wine now, or let it age for up to 15 years. Our kind bartender then let us try their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena wine. At over $100 a bottle, this is one of their finest reds. It’s 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot, and 5% Malbec. It was extremely rich and tannic, but pleasing and full bodied.
Then he gave us a chance to experience their Antiqua dessert wine. We tasted it in two different ways. The first few sips tasted of maple, hazelnut, toffee, and honey. At nearly 12% alcohol, it was smooth, creamy, and sweet. He then let us taste it with a spoonful of caramel, also made by the winery. The caramel made the flavor of the Antigua dessert wine mellower. The Antigua would be fantastic if it was poured on ice cream, or cheesecake.
Overall, our first experience tasting wine in the Napa Valley area was a success! We thought the Merryville winery was the perfect location to kick off our wine tasting tour for the day. I would definitely suggest a visit to this peaceful tasting room.
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