I love when I go to a restaurant with a reasonably priced wine list. It's even better when I try something cheap I've never heard of and it's awesome. That's the kind of thing that'll get me back to a restaurant every time. Sommelliers take note.
This week's happiness:
A light (but not watery) pinot from the elusive silver cove vineyards. Balanced fruit, hints of minerals on the nose, and only $28 at the restaurant. Just as good as its neighboring carneros pinots that go for $30-$50 at the vineyard and who knows what in restaurants. Given that restaurants have a 100-300% markup, I'm going to call and see if I can get myself a case...
An oaky zinfandel from Buehler Vineyards. Not a ridiculous cup full of jammy fruit, not overly tanniny, surprisingly sophisticated for a zin, and only $26 at the restaurant. I'm interested in trying the estate reserve zin, if the standard stuff is this good.
I hate wine tasting in the Napa Valley--crowded, traffic, high ratio of pretentious idiots to people who actually love wine, tasting fees at most vineyards (which are often staffed by unhelpful and snotty staff). But, lately I've been thinking that I should go during the week some time to avoid the crowds. That would solve most of my problems with the place. Silver Cove and Buehler are excellent reasons to go. Particularly since silver cove is impossible to find online (chances are, if I can taste there, it'll be me and the owner in a garage with the vats) and Buehler makes a white zin. How can I not wine taste at a napa winery that isn't scared to be labeled white trash?