Recently, Sandi took a stack of clay pigeons, put them in the dishwasher and served the family dinner on them. John's wife Eloise exclaimed "We used to shoot those with guns!" Eloise, now 93, is an avid golfer, but Sandi says you'd best not play slowly in front of her. "You'll hear her bitch all night."
I had seen Phil Baily earlier and he sent me off with a bottle of his Baily Winery 2008 M & M, 60% Merlot/40% Malbec blend. Tony wasn't shy with his opinion: "Super great nose!Awesome taste! Drinks like a $100 bottle."
We stayed down under for the 2008 Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz from Barossa, Australia. "What a deal", said one of us. Most liked the nose, calling it smoky and earthy. Tony felt it got better as it sat in the glass. At $10 we all felt it was a terrific value.
Verging on sensory overload I approached the final wine, a 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel. Now back in the day a good California Zin was one of my go-to favorites. I eagerly breathed in the familiar aromas of rich raspberry with a hint of cinnamon and cloves. I could picture the gnarley, twisted old vines with their earthiness and pungent leathery smells.
The drive up the mountain can be harrowing, so allow plenty of time. The reception at the winery can be no less than frigid if you have not done your homework and made a reservation confirmed by email well in advance of your arrival. Cain is not a winery on the "party bus" tour of Napa.