Monday, March 5, 2018

Wine tasting in Napa Valley is like taking an international flight

I love visiting Napa Valley. It's beautiful, and the food in good restaurants may be even better on a world scale than the wine.

I love many of the wines. Napa Valley has such good terroir that it can always surprise you. I'm not a fan of high-alcohol overextracted Cabernets, which the valley is famous for, but there are so many other great (and usually cheaper) wines there that I could drink Napa Valley wine every night for a month and not get tired.

But there's a usually unstated reason I like Napa Valley and it's a little dishonest of writers not to 'fess up about it.

When I visit Napa Valley, I'm a minor VIP. I'm not in first class: I'm not LeBron James (this is my favorite wine sports story ever), I'm not Robert Parker, and I'm not a billionaire, so I don't know exactly how good it is in first class.

But I'm solidly in business class, and it's good. It's very good. I get appointments for just me. Winery owners buy me lunch and ask if I have written anything lately. People hand me bottles of wine to take home. Usually (not always) I stay for free and often I eat for free. Always, I drink for free. I love visiting Napa Valley. Who wouldn't, in business class?

So when one of my non-wine-geek friends asks for a recommendation on where to visit in Napa Valley, I always tell them, go somewhere else.