It was my last day in Napa and it was going to be a great day to spend time with friends.  I started the morning with a five-and-a-half mile run where I chased the hot air balloons gliding through the vineyards of Calistoga.  After finishing a fantastic gourmet breakfast at our charming new bed and breakfast find, the Cornerstone Inn, my husband and I waited for our driver from St. Helena Wine Tours to pick us up.  Tom pulled up at the bottom of the hill – in a shiny black Jaguar.  (Insert theme song from the Jefferson’s here as this is not usually the way we roll).

The sun was shining and the Valley was radiant as we began our drive to Sojourn, one of my favorite Sonoma Pinot producers.  I was excited about the wine as we have been loyal consumers over the years, but as excited to meet a long-time Twitter friend, @winebratsf, live.  Both met my high expectations.  I knew from experience that I would enjoy the 08 Sonoma Cost (earth and oak, needed some time in bottle); Sangiacomo Vineyards (cherry and earth) and Gap’s Crown Vineyards (blueberry, cherry and spice) – all priced at $48.  But, I was excited about trying the new 08 Rodgers Creek Pinot Noir.  I loved the ripe berry taste of Burgundian cherry, floral aroma and spiciness.  We then tried three cabernets that I feel are amongst the better cabernets from the trip.

We started with the 06 Sonoma Cabernet, which was a steal at $39.  It was a big blend of currant and black cherry flavors with lots of spice.  The 06 Mountain Terraces Vineyard Reserve Cabernet ($75) was full of dark fruit with earthiness and cedar.  We ended with the 07 Home Ranch Vineyard Cabernet ($39), which tasted of blueberries and had a more subtle finish.

Our next stop was Mount Family Winery where we went to meet some other online friends – @sonomawilliam, @sharayray @winedog – for a BBQ thrown for wine club members.  (Side question:  why does tri-tip seem to be the official beef product of Napa wineries for BBQs?)  I had the opportunity to sample their Grenache (still not released) and I am looking forward to adding a few to my collection.

The final stop was at Michel Schlumberger where we secured a picturesque table on the porch overlooking their lovely grounds.  If you haven’t experienced a tasting there, I would highly recommend you stop by.  The wines are organically farmed and as Evan, our host, said, “the wines have good poundability.”  Yes, they do – they are quite good.  We took home several bottles including the 08 Pinot Blanc ($21) that passed the Texas Summer porch test; the 06 Le Fou Pinot Noir ($32) that had lots of cherries and was perfectly described by a tablemate as having “red hots on the back end” and the 04 Deux Terres Cabernet ($75) which was framed by big cherries, spice and hints of chocolate.

The next morning we met @winebratsf and @wineevangelist for some Iron Horse Tut Cuvee bubbly and brunch for a great time.  You know it’s funny,  I started Twitter because I felt like I had to “understand” social media for my career.  I look back at what I’ve gained from my experience, the encouragement that I got from my friends to start this blog, the incredible wine lovers that I’ve met and I realize that was the venue that brought out my inner wino.

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