Today we got up early and worked until just before noon, and then headed over to the Calistoga Bike Shop where we were going to start our tour. They've partnered with five Calistoga wineries and will plan a trip for you where they map out your ride and give you tips for places to eat or grab picnic supplies along the way. You can ride a few miles, or you can ride 20, like we did. Here's a map of our ride (we covered a lot of Calistoga!):
Our first stop was Tedeschi Family Winery. This is a small, family-run winery making old-world style wines by hand. Great first stop! Bought some wine. Oh yeah, the other thing about the Calistoga Cool Wine Tour is that the bike shop will go around and pick up whatever you buy and have it waiting for you at the shop when you get back.
Second stop was Summers Winery – seems like there's' no bad wine in this valley! Bought some wine.
Third stop was the highly recommended taco truck:
Looks just like you'd expect:
It's actually called La Gitana Tacos, and the tacos are fantastic! We tried a few: chorizo, carnitas, pastor, y asada. They were so good we even went back for a couple more (they were small, and $1.50 each):
Next stop was Lava Vine Winery.
This was by far the most fun and entertaining wine tasting ever. Seriously. The place is chill and laid back, the guys pouring (Pete and John, I think) were hilarious and wonderful. I'll just show you some photos. Here they are playing some Neil Young for us:
Here's Pete letting the couple who bought olive oil dip their bottles in wax so they could more safely take them on the plane with them back to Cleveland:
Here's Pete's dipped-in-wax guitar pick (that he plays with):
We tasted a chenin blanc, a viognier (bought one of those), a grenache, a petit syrah (bought that too), a port (bought one of those). All the wine we tasted was around the $28-$39 dollar range, with the exception of the port, which was a bit more. Someone asked if they did any cabernet and John thought for a couple of seconds and then went somewhere secret and got a bottle of their reserve cabernet (about a hundred bucks) and opened that so everyone could try it (maybe a dozen people in tasting room by then). It was fabulous (did not buy one of those). And then, more music:
It was a blast. We rode over to Twomey (at the recommendation of the bike shop when I called to tell him we bought some stuff at Lava Vine) just before they closed and tasted a bit more wine…really liked their 2003 Merlot (bought one of those). Then we biked back to the bike shop and picked up our wine (my Brooks basket really came in handy for this!) and rode back to camp. There are two other Airstreams here: a Bambi and a 345 motor home. Cool!
Here's a cute (but empty) "Free Veggies" bin along our route:
It was a great time and I'd highly recommend this tour! Tomorrow afternoon we have two other tastings scheduled, but I don't think they're quite as bikable (up on Diamond Mountain Road), so we'll bike over to Chateau Montelena in the morning sometime (of the 1976 Paris tasting fame). We're really enjoying Calistoga…it's much quieter than Napa, it's so bikable, and the scenery is lovely.