It's a treat to sit down with her, enjoy her wonderful wines with some bread and cheese and just visit. Sandi doesn't just grow grapes. She has fruit and vegetables galore and more often than not she'll send me off with some freshly picked produce.
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."
When your guests are paying $275 a head, he's aware you'd better deliver. The kitchen employs 30 chefs, all of whom have undergone extensive training. He hopes his guests leave excited and with fond memories, something they can relate to and even laugh about. Before we left, he prepared a salad for me to photograph. Alas, before I could dig my fork in, the plate was whisked away.
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.
The story of Ceja Vineyards is truly inspiring. The Ceja family migrated from Mexico to the Napa Valley in the '70s and a decade later purchased 15 acres of vineyards. They now have 113 acres planted and have opened a restaurant in Downtown Napa near their tasting room.
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.
As we walked around memories began flooding back of visits when the Eiseles lived there. We used to come for dinner, Milt usually barbecued steaks and we enjoyed them with his exceptional wines. Burges told us how the Araujos came to purchase the property in 1990.