Monday, December 10, 2012

Mumm Napa, Kuleto and Rubicon - Day 2 in Napa

After biking through Calistoga we were excited for a bit of an easier touring day!  Sadly, I forgot to grab my camera battery from the charger before we left for the day, so all of these photos are from my iPhone!!

Having read that Mumm Napa did free tours when they open at 10AM, we decided to head there first and hop on the tour, since we had heard great things about the vineyard.  The tour was informative, complete with a stop at a small group of grape vines, giving the guests a chance to taste the grapes that go into sparkling wine.  In addition, there was an amazing display of Ansel Adams' works (the ones you don't see on college students' walls), and they really are beautiful.  However, the tour was rather large as is the production facility itself.

Inside the production!
Original Riddling Board and Corker
After the tour concluded, Nick and I grabbed a table inside the tour room (the deck was packed!) right next to the sliding doors that opened fully so that it felt like we were outside.  The grounds were beautiful with a mixture of garden, grapevines, mountains and valleys.

View from Mumm Napa Tasting Room
At Mumm Napa!
We enjoyed two flights of sparkling wine, and I had about 3/4 of since Nick was the driver for the day - lucky me!  I really think starting every late morning with a flight of sparkling wine is the way to go.  These were so amazing - rich and crisp.  I have had nice champagne before, but this is the first time I really enjoyed it.  They offered a variety of Rose's which were my favorite!

Flight from Mumm Napa
Mumm Napa is worth the trip for the tasting, but I would skip the tour.

After our tasting we jumped back in the car and set off for Kuleto Estate, a winery we found from an Architectural Digest article a co-worker game me, and from the website we thought it would be worth a visit.  It required a reservation, so with 5 minutes til our slotted time we pulled up to this massive gate that required us to radio up...

Somewhat intimidating
Guess we sounded legit because the gate opened
At this point we had driven about 20 minutes off the Silverado Trail up route 128 beyond Lake Hennessey only to drive another mile straight up a winding driveway, but when we got to the top the views were incredible!  We apologized for being a bit late, but I guess it happens all the time! At this point I was really missing my nice SLR camera because these photos hardly do the grounds justice.  Of all the vineyards we visited, this was by far the most impressive.

A few of the nine outdoor pizza ovens!
Winery Room
Gardens and Views
A peak through the patios to the grape vines
In the mountains
Winery Building - tasting was under the pergola 
Massive Grounds
A look back at Lake Hennessey
Pat Kuleto's home on the property
Tasting Area
After the full tour our group gathered around the table with 5 bottles of wine and loads of cheese - what more do you need?!  The tasting was wonderful with a delicious variety of wines, and perfect weather and setting.  I really was not ready to leave and Nick had to control the number of bottles I wanted to buy!  This was one of the places where I'm almost thankful that shipping wine to Massachusetts is so difficult.  Otherwise, we would have joined their club in a heartbeat.  This was definitely our favorite stop of the trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone heading to Napa.

After our amazing experience at Kuleto, we stopped for some burritos at La Luna Market and Taqueria, which is a bit of a grocery store and restaurant in one.  The burritos were HUGE and with so many fillings to choose from (I went with beef cheek), this was a great stop to help recover after two big tastings!

We took the burritos on the road to our next stop - Inglenook.  Inglenook has a bit of past, beginning as one of the first vineyards in the area before being split up and having the name associated with some budget wines.  However, this vineyard has a happy ending in the form of Francis Ford Coppola, who bought the property and made it his job to bring the segregated pieces of the vineyard and the name itself back together.  Just this year he accomplished his goal and what began as Rubicon is Inglenook once again.

View from Inglenook
Real Oscar and Emmy being shown off at the museum
Nick taking the wheel..
After enjoying our walk through the museum, we were gathered for our tour and taken around the grounds.

A look back...
The back of Inglenook
Original Barrels
Tasting Room!
A peek at the caves lined with barrels
Our group gathered in the amazing brick lined room with an arched ceiling for the tasting.  Before us were 5 glasses and a variety of cheeses and honey.  The wines were fantastic and each cheese was chosen carefully to pair well with a particular wine.  The final wine we sampled was their Rubicon Estate Cab and it was incredible - one of the finest wines we tasted.  It should be too, as it was $175.  Thank goodness for that burrito because it helped me sober up enough to realize I did not NEED that bottle of wine as much as I wanted it.

Inglenook was a wonderful stop.  The tour was nice, but the tasting was perfect.  The cab alone made it worth it.

After a full day of wine touring and tasting, we went back to our hotel for a little rest and relaxation before dinner (needless to say, a nap was necessary!)  This was definitely a great day filled with loads of great wine!


  1. Gorgeous photos and views! I love that you guys fit in so many tastings!

  2. Mumm Napa <3 - it's a must-visit! A friend of mine used to work at Rubicon, and she said that Coppola used to come by all the time, pretty cool!

  3. Those views are incredible!

  4. So pretty!! I've been to Mumm twice - their grounds and patio are gorgeous! Love that pink bubbly!

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