My day began in LA with an early flight from LAX to SFO. I rented a car at SFO and made my way to wine country. My day started with one of the places I neglected to take notes. Might have had something to do with the 6AM flight or the 3 hours of sleep I got the night before. But either way, it was an amazing visit to the Havens winery where my good friend Connie runs the tasting room. Connie & I worked together at Napa Wine Company where she was easily one of my favorite people. Havens had some really nice wine. We started the visit with a white as I tried what I was told the only Albarino from Napa (or maybe it was the first?). Albarino is a Spanish varietal, generally made in a fresh/crisp manner. This one fit that bill and is certain to be a good food wine. I then had a Rose’ made from Cab Franc before moving on to the reds. We had some Merlot & Cab from both a regular series and a reserve one. While (to my palate) it is not always the case I remember enjoying the reserves more than the regular wines (but the power of suggestion is strong & if I was told the opposite I may have had the opposite impression). The wines that stood out though were their Syrahs. I enjoyed the 2003 Havens Syrah but mentioned to Connie that I thought the nose was a little closed. She proceeded to open a 2000 Syrah that they recently re-released and it was great. All of us in the tasting room found both pepper & some real interesting smoked meat aromas. I struggled to find the bacon the others were talking about but that did not detract from the enjoyment of the wine.
While I had intended to make more than 1 stop before my 1PM appointment time flies when you are having fun…and it was too late to squeeze in another visit. (more…)