Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Raymond and Buena Vista Vineyards

It's time to return to wine country (at least on the blog). On our second day, the same day we did a barrel tasting at Westwood, we visited two of Jean-Charles Boisset's family vineyards. From what we saw, this guy must be quite a character! Our first stop was Raymond Vineyards, which we were excited to visit since we had a couple of their table Cabs at home and enjoyed them.

Biodynamic Farming at Raymond

Our friends are wine club members here, and they knew that rather than going to the traditional tasting room we should request a tasting in the Crystal Room, which was something to behold! The stainless vats mixed with the mirrored bar and crystal chandelier was totally different from anything else we had seen in Napa. While the wine club recently had a party (thus explaining the upside-down manequin in her underwear), the angels looking down from the rafters are always there.

Crystal Tasting Room
Tasting Flight
Raymond really specializes in Chardonnays and big Cabernet Sauvignons. While this was a little bold for 10:30am we powered through. Luckily they decant the wine prior to pouring, which helps ensure it's ready for the tasting. It is fun to be able to taste a number of different vintages and grape sources from one type of wine and really learn how different a single grape varietal can be. During our tasting our server took our group back to the Red Room, which, for those who have read "50 Shades of Gray," is pretty amazing!

In addition to the awesome decor, the Red Room offers a machine that can pour out single glasses of wine, allowing guests to enjoy glasses of the pricey wine without having to commit to the bottle.

Needless to say, we enjoyed roaming around this room to see all the decorative features. If you want to throw a party, I believe you can rent out the room!

After enjoying our tasting we went back outside to walk through the gardens and enjoy the view. The estate vineyards are biodynamic, which always make for such lovely surroundings. Looking back at these photos is really making me yearn for Spring!

Raymond does have a lab where they allow people to make/blend their own wine! You get to design the label and can take a bottle home with you that day, and if you think you did an amazing job you can buy an entire case. This might have to make the itinerary for our next trip!

If you like a big California Cab, Raymond is the perfect destination.

After lunch, we headed to Sonoma to Buena Vista Winery, another of the Boisset family vineyards. Buena Vista is known as one of the first premier wineries, founded in 1857. This winery plays to their history in the wild west. The tour guides and pourers dress in character and the decor is all in keeping with the theme.

The tasting building was recently restored and required a lot of steel rods in order to keep the building from crumbling. The results are pretty outstanding.

Both Buena Vista and Raymond had a wall of smells and textures. Each smell and texture is something that people use to describe wine. It was fun to go through and see how each smelled and felt individually and then see how we were able to apply it to an actual glass of wine.

The price point at Buena Vista is significantly lower than many of the other wineries we visited, and of all the wines we tasted The Count was the favorite. This was a very good value wine, but after tasting so many special bottles on our trip, it didn't ultimately rank as high on our list.

Once again, we had another perfect day in California's wine country. Can you believe I still have 2 more vineyards to tell you about?!


  1. I havent been to either of those tasting rooms but feel I need to go next time I am in Napa. Indeed the guy must be quite a character, the rooms look a riot! I am jealous, I want to go back now.

  2. That couch is awesome! I'm loving reading about the wineries you went to.

  3. What a lovely series of photos.

  4. Great post and wineries to add to my list! I had a bad experience at one of the JCB properties (which has since closed), and he sent me a personal email apology with an invitation to come back and taste with him! It was a very nice touch!

  5. you are too funny / cute in these pics


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