2010 Napa Bus Trip (part 1)

Yesterday George and Gail from Fine wines of Stockton had their annual bus trip to Napa. We have been going on the bus trips for years, and they are always a lot of fun. This year we we went to Mason Cellars, Turnbull Wine Cellars and Paraduxx Napa Valley. Mason doesn’t have a tasting room at the winery so we went to their tasting room in downtown Napa. Turnbull Winery has two tasting rooms, one of which has a nice area with tables where we had lunch and Paradux has a real nice tasting room with a large table we all sat around while tasting and talking.

We showed up at the store about 7:45 am and found the bus waiting for us along with snacks and coffee in the shop. Once everyone arrived we all got on the bus on started on our way. There were only about half as many people as usual, about 15, probably because the economy has been so bad. The weather had cleared some so we were hopeful we would have good weather while George was hoping for rain so less people would be likely to be out wine tasting that day 🙂 It is so nice not to have to drive, you sit up higher in the bus and you get to see so much you can’t when you have to pay attention to the road.

We arrived at the Mason Cellars tasting room a little early but they were ready for us anyway. The woman at the tasting room was real friendly and real informative. She told us about the history of Mason Cellars and their philosophy of making wine. She told us we would be tasting six wines, four whites and two reds.

2009 Three Pears Pinot Grigio – A very light yellow color with a nose of mineral and grapefruit. The flavors were grapefruit and green apple. The wine had a good amount of acid for a clean long finish.

2009 Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc – The grapes for this wine come from Lake County. The color was a light yellow and the nose was vegetal (hay or grassiness). There was tart apple, citrus and hay in the flavor. There was a lot of acid, a light body and a long finish.

2009 Mason Sauvignon Blanc – This used grapes from the Napa Valley and had a slightly darker yellow color. The nose was closed with a hint of grassiness. There was grassiness in the flavor and got more grassy as it warmed up. There was moderate acid and a moderately long finish. This wine had 15% barrel fermentation in previously used oak barrels for 3.5 months.

2005 Mason Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – This was their first release of this wine. It was a very light yellow color and had an herbal or grassy nose. More concentrated, complex herbal and grass flavors. There was a lot of acid and a moderately long finish. The wine also felt rounder in the mouth although there had been no malolactic fermentation.

Now we moved on to the reds.

2006 Mason Merlot, Napa Valley – A light ruby color with a little blue around the edges. The nose had dark fruit. There was rich, ripe dark fruit, spice and a hint of vanilla in the flavor. There were moderate tannins, good acid and a moderately long finish with the flavor of the fruit. It was aged 18 months in new and used French oak.

2005 Mason Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – This was a dark ruby color with an earthy, dark fruit nose. The flavors were ripe dark stone fruit and smoke. There were light to moderate well integrated tannins, good acid and a long finish. I sensed a little heat on the finish but it isn’t too high an alcohol level at 14.2 alc. Aged 26 months in new and used French oak.

After everyone made their purchases, we loaded up the bus again and headed to Turnbull Cellars to taste some more wine and have lunch. It wasn’t too far from Mason but far enough to relax a little and let our taste buds recover. At Turnbull we were given a nice tour before settling down in the tasting room/photograpy gallery. Tomorrow when we add part two I’ll expand on the photography a little.