DCFoodies.com San Jose Day 3 - DCFoodies.com

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Aug 05, 2006



Spectacular. Amazing. I'm going to have to go back there some time now that I'm not a penniless student, and enjoy some of this stuff. Thanks for the great articles.

PS. It's "Silicon" not "Silicone" valley -- Silicone Valley is the San Fernando Valley down south where the pr0n industry is ... ! ;)




Great writeup! Can't wait to check out Manresa one day. When I saw the pic of your lovely wife it immediately brought to mind the images of tourists in the Bay Area shuddering in the freezing San Francisco summers - as a transplanted west coaster I can tell you that the old Mark Twain adage is true: "The coldest winter I ever spent is a summer in San Francisco."


Thanks for your detailed posts of your trip out to the San Jose area! My boyfriend and I moved out here for grad school a couple of years ago, and finally find ourselves with some time on the weekends to go out to do the fun wine country stuff. Your list of wineries will be a good starting point for our own explorations :)


Good post about your trip to California--it looks so beautiful. Which wineries in the Northern Virginia area would you recommend visiting in lieu of being able to go to the West Coast? I want to plan a few day trips this fall with some friends and don't really know where to start!


I am so glad that you had a chance to visit the Santa Cruz Mt wineries. Most people only think of Napa/Sonoma and give me a puzzled look when I say that SCM wineries are great! Plus, lots cheaper for tastings than Napa/Sonoma- even Testarossa's $10 is cheper than just about anything up north.

I am getting married at Testarossa in 2 weeks- I'll drink a glass of Pinot for you and Amy.

Jennifer, frequent Amalah and DC foodies reader.


Wow, I can't imagine a winery charging more than $10 for a tasting. That seems like highway robbery to me.


I like Breaux personally, but others would disagree with me. There is a good thread on DonRockwell.com all about this where others, that are far more experts on VA wine, have chimed in on this topic.


Hi, Jason,

I thought I would chime in since it seems that I was in the Bay Area at the same time that you and Amy were. Except we headed north for our wine adventure. Before leaving San Francisco (we spent two nights there, mostly hanging out with friends), we had dinner at Gary Danko (LORD did I have to call early for those reservations). While the food was excellent, as expected, the wine menu was horribly overpriced, and I left feeling a little underwhelmed. Also, if we're going to spend over $300 on dinner for the two of us, we don't want to be seated two feet from the next table.

Moving on, our first night in Napa (we stayed at the Villagio in Yountville), we had dinner at Etoile at Domaine Chandon. I had relatively low expectations because I'm not a huge fan of Domaine Chandon's sparkling wines, but the restaurant had been recommended to us by a co-worker. Honestly, we had a better meal there than at Gary Danko! Everything was fabulous, from my filet (cooked to perfection) to my husband's lobster. And their wine list had extensive local wines, not as overpriced as Gary Danko. I highly recommend Etoile to anyone visiting the Napa Valley.

While we were in Napa, we visited and tasted at Trefethen, Duckhorn, Grgich Hills , Peju Province, Cakebread Cellars, ZD, Robert Mondavi, Goosecross, Stags Leap, and Clos du Val. For us, the must-taste wines from the bunch are from Grgich Hills, Goosecross, and Trefethen. We wanted to visit Paradigm, but they were closed to due a "wine emergency". Cakebread's tasting is guided and lasts over a hour, and we had a VERY long-winded guide. Also, I think their tasting is geared more toward people who know virtually nothing about wine (i.e., "Chardonnay would pair nicely with chicken or seafood.") Skip it, but you can still buy their wines in the store. Also, it's worth paying extra for the reserve tastings at Trefethen, Duckhorn, Grgich Hills and Goosecross (a lovely but very tiny winery). And you can skip Robert Mondavi all together - both my husband and I had the same general sentiment - "blech".

I can't remember the full name of the restaurant we had dinner on the last night (something like "PJ's" and it's in Yountville). It came recommended by the staff at Trefethen, and it was yummy and well-priced. I guess that's about it, just wanted to put my two cents in about California!

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