Conn Creek Winery – St. Helena, CA

23 Oct

Technically, this post isn’t about food, it’s about wine, but the two go hand-in-hand, right? A couple weeks ago, two of my friends from the Midwest came to visit for a few days away in Napa and we had the best experience at Conn Creek Winery in St. Helena. My friend Jamie had researched this AVA Room Blending Experience. There tend to be a lot of over-priced and not that great “experiences” in Wine Country and this was by far, the best that I’ve ever done. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to do something different in Wine Country.

First, the group sizes are limited to 10 people, so it was a very intimate experience where you could ask a lot of questions and get help with your blending. Our teacher was great and walked us through what an AVA is, and the history of the area. Sitting in front of us was what looked like my 10th grade Chemistry class, but really it was a graduated cylinder, beaker, wine glass, water and a very helpful book for notes. Behind our table there was a wall divided into five sections: soft, supple, complex, rich and bold, each with three barrels of cabernet sauvignon, and then four barrels which contained the blending wines, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot.

We were instructed to pick one barrel at each of the five cabernet sections and write notes on each and then go back and visit the ones we liked best and try the others in the section to get a feel for which type we liked best. I liked the rich and the bold sections best. These became the base for my personalized blend. I then added a soft and mixed it with a little malbec and merlot. Once you figure out what you like then you pick the percentages of each to add and use the graduated cylinder to create a glass of what your blend will taste like (and of course drink that glass while you’re filling up the 750ml beaker to make your bottle). Once you have your beaker filled up, you funnel it into a bottle, design your own label and cork the bottle.

The Nitty Gritty:

The cost is $95 per person, which seems steep, but really you get a two-hour tasting and you get to make and take home your own blend of wine.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you have a driver if you’re going to go to this place. You end up tasting basically 19 barrels of wine, and then have a glass or two on top of that. You will most likely be feeling no pain at the end…

www.conncreek.com – 8711 Silverado Trail  Saint Helena, CA 94574  – (707) 963-9100

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