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Published: November 12th 2017
16,000km in 40 days....tomorrow, we are returning our little Mustang toy to the airport in San Francisco. As you guess, this is not the last blog, there is one more to come!
We drove all the way from Idaho Falls to Reno in one day. This is a long drive, but it goes even longer when you are 50km from Reno...and found out that the only highway ahead is closed, because of bush/forrest fires. It has been closed for at least 4 hours, could be closed for 2-3 more hours minimum.....thousands of people are stranded on that same highway...and the only way around, is a fun backtrack of at least 150km.
We've learn our lesson...better back-track than wait...specially with that mess around. End result...instead of reaching our hotel in Reno at 5pm...we are there well after 8pm. Good news from Marriott, at least they've got a solid upgrade for us. This is a small world, so tonight I'm having a drink or two with my friend Bruno from Vietnam. We spent time discussing local life...and going back years with our time in Vietnam. It's a small world, but not many pictures of all this, so
no blog about Reno. Next morning we leave early....it's the call of the vines!
There is a good 3 hours drive to Napa. Beautiful drive out of Reno and up the mountains! We are not staying in Napa this time. The Westin Napa is a gorgeous place, but they are asking North of 400usd for a single night. Stay there before, amazing place with gorgeous American fully equipped kitchen in each unit! We are early September....summer is out soon, but the prices are insane. Point to know, we visited the place just weeks before major bush fires took a lot of the Napa and Sonoma Valley. After a hurricane, after other disasters...our trip was run only through sunny days...we just feel sorry for people who lose so much from weather related events few weeks after we drove those lovely places.
This time, we are staying at the Sheraton Sonoma. Pretty old property, but decent price tag. The suite upgrade is not that bad either...but no welcome wine bottle here...sad!
Let's put it simple...I have few issues with Napa wines. Some may be very nice, but they are simply way too expensive
for what they are. This is what happened when you have a pocket of wealth such as Silicon Valley less than two hours drive from decent wine...sooner or later...the prices here get inflated too....not that the wine is not nice...it's just doesn't worth the price tag...specially compare to home...aka South Africa!
But, because there is always a but, you won't stop me to try to find the good deals. We stop at Trader's Joe. Yes, this is a local supermarket....but it is one with a twist, and they sell wine. We've tried Gloria Ferrer before. The best bubbles the State produce at 20usd per bottle....expect here, they sell it for 12 usd plus taxes...wait a minute....that's a bargain! So I catch the local wine guy, and we ended up buying more bottles than we came for....plus some pretty delicious pesto tortellini....to bring back home!
So no French Laundry for lunch for us this time. Excuse the punt if you have no idea who Keller is....but put it simply, it's not in the budget today...we'd rather go for Chipotle or Whole Foods for lunch. I spent time going around wine shops...and this time, we are
doing it differently. Those famous blend from Napa...sorry no....today, we are going bubbles!
So yes, we drove by Gloria Ferrer...and we stopped! No I'm not interested by your xxusd 45 minutes visit. Spoke with the supervisor....yes I'm sorry to be snob enough to know better than your guide what the process is. What I want is 10 minutes of somebody that knows his stuff...and to ask my questions! End result...sit at a table for 45 minutes with their "ambassador"....in baseball cap, but hey, he knows his stuff...big time! Learns the story from Freixenet....Spaniards doing not Cava, but Champagne style the french way and not the Spaniard one. That's 45 minutes that worth gold....without a single sip!
I'm sorry for my wine buddies in the wine industry...I pay most of what i drink...so for me, the point is simple, get me the best deal for my money. I'm ready to pay more, or even way more...but the quality needs to go ahead of it. I'm not here to pay the marketing team...you want to make me spend more...make sure it's way better...sadly, this is rarely what it is. So we took time to go through
the list...to understand what is what...and trust me, I'll come back for more tasting at Gloria Ferrer.
Now you want to laugh....we tasted our first bubbles more than an hour after sitting down here. I can confirm, the best deals is by far Trader's Joe basic green bottle. These bubbles, for less than 14usd including taxes...are just an amazing deal! And yes, we didn't get charged anything. They simply understood the basics! We are here to understand, not to drink! Sadly, Gloria Ferrer do not export...so next bubbles shopping with them will have to wait early 2018!
Next, little stop at Domaine Carneros by Taittinger. The welcome was so amazing at Gloria Ferrer that we did not have much time here! San Francisco was waiting for us...plus some more shopping before it was time to give away our little Mustang!
Sonoma 1- Napa 0....I find Napa way more beautiful to drive in...but when it comes to the value, it's a slightly different story. We also drove the back roads between the two valleys...sadly, most have gone in fire today since our last visit. Sad!
Next, San Francisco...and then,
no more blogging about this one in a kind trip! We did it, returned the Mustang safely....the staff had some laugh on that return....16,000km...that's something!
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