Today we started the day at Gundlach Bundschu, the oldest family-owned vineyard in the United States. If you’re wondering, you pronounce it GUN – LOCK – BUN – SHOE. They put this little symbol on all of their wine corks to help you remember…get it?
One winery down and 12 bottles later, we headed back to Napa for our second, and what ended up being final, winery of the day.
Walking in to Darioush felt a bit like walking into Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Overpoweringly big, a bit out of place in the rolling hills and vineyards of Napa Valley, fountains, pillars, an expensive gift shop, glass everywhere, reserved booths, etc. It was beautiful and done with good and authentic taste (Mr. Darioush is Persian and went to great lengths to match his winery and his birthplace), but I had my doubts about our time there. (I tend to prefer the more local, vintage feel.)
To my delight, Phil and I had a WONDERFUL time there! We took a special wine and cheese tour which was less of a tour and more of a “let’s give people A LOT of wine and then hope they buy A LOT more wine.” They REALLY wined and dined us. After walking around a bit we ended up in a private dining room in the cellar beautifully set.
The equivalent of 3 glasses of wine and one hour later, the table had a lot of empty wine glasses on it. Knowing I was driving home, I went around the table finishing every person’s glass of water and uneaten bread. Meanwhile, the guy next to me (not Phil, but this guy from Texas who decided he liked wine only after the final tasting of the Shiraz) was going around drinking whatever little bit of wine people left in their glass. It was entertaining.
After having purchased at least 20 bottles of wine on the trip so far, I felt like my mission was clear: DO NOT LET DAD SIGN UP FOR ANYMORE WINE CLUBS. Phil was less than enthused with this plan by the time we finished the tasting in the private cellar room, however. In fact, he not only wanted to sign up for the Darioush Wine Club, but he thought he could adjust the very standardized program:
Crossing out the wine he didn’t want, Phil tried convincing Alex, our wine guide, that he should be able to rearrange the Wine Club offerings to his liking. No such luck, Phil.
After Alex laughed at him and the woman across from us tried to get him to sign up for the most expensive option (she’s in a total of 5 wine clubs by the way…), my reason won out and Phil decided just to buy a few bottles of his favorite wines rather than commit to the Wine Club.
We waited until it was 150% safe for me to drive (again, that’s for you, mom!) and headed back home along the VERY twisty, curvy Trinity Road that connects Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
Now off to dinner.