CALIFORN-I-A DAY 4: Aesthetics, Action Shots, and Agent 69


I’m not even sure how to describe some of the scenes from Day 4 but I’ll have go. We had a couple of vineyard visits that couldn’t have been more different if they tried, met up with one of Napa’s top somms for a glass or two of something special, and ended up at yet another belting dinner washed down with some top wines. All in a day’s work. 

Franni C’s Gaff

The first winery we headed to was Inglenook which is now owned by Francis Ford Coppola and family. This place is plush, massive bastard winery building, ornate and pretty damn stunning shop and visitor centre (we are in Napa after all!) and obviously some seriously tasty wines. Highlight of the wines was their Zinfandel, which pays homage to Mr C’s grandparents’ journey from the shores of Naples (pictured on the bottle) to New York City (also pictured on the bottle). A fruity and spicy Zin that ticks the boxes, and has all the right story behind it.

I Just…Don’t Know…How…What…Why?

Next up was Raymond Winery. How the @*£% do I start on this? This truly was a trip we’ll never forget, and I doubt as long as I live I’ll ever see another winery packed full of mannekins in S&M gear and a stuffed lion! Hosted by flamboyant Burgundy-born owner, Jean-Charles, the plushness of the different tasting rooms had me thinking more about some decadent, upscale boardy house in Soho than a winery in Napa. Bonkers and brilliant fun!

Older Than Me

After a lunch we headed for a chat with top US sommelier Kelli White as we went through some ageable Californian whites and reds, both young and old. Now I’m hearing something here for the first time, that apparently US reds have a reputation for not ageing well. Is that a common thing?   Have other people heard that? I don’t think I ever have. But anyway, pleasure to listen to the lady speak and to neck a bit of 1980 Zinfandel was pretty special too.

Videoing Wine Porn

A quick pitstop in the hotel, mostly to polish off the rest of the sparkling wines from Kelli’s talk, and we were off to Silver Oak Cellars for a tasting and dinner. Very happy with this as I got to spend the night listening to Greg (one of our MWs) nattering away with Vivien (head of exports) which was pretty interesting for me. I also had the privilege of being taught how to use the slo-mo button on my phone and tape gratuitous wine porn videos of me swirling a glass. Cheers to the lovely Jules Mahon for that!

Still loving it



The trip to Raymond’s getting it’s own entry some other point, but for the meantime, check this out. This is JC Boisset, aka Agent 69, and his new advert for a Crémant they’re releasing next year…superb that man, where’s the world without eccentrics eh?! Love it!





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