Adventures in Napa and Sonoma or Happy Anniversary to Us. Day 1, Part III

2017 Russian River Vacation-196-2YC blogContinuing on with our Day 1 adventures, brings us to Mumm Napa, just up the road a few minutes from Paraduxx Winery, on Silverado Trail.  This was our last stop for the day and our reservation was for 4:00.

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As you approach the winery you can see acres and acres of vineyards, much like any other winery that you visit. However, the building is nestled in a grove of California Oaks surrounded by gardens, and positioned for the visitor to have a perfect view of the valley.

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You can’t help but stop and take a closer look at the beautiful flowers.  Well, at least I couldn’t help it.  Yes!Chef! was on a mission to try the champagne.

We entered the building, the host greeted us and, since we were a bit early, we were asked to wait a few minutes in the gift shop or on one of the nearby benches until our table was ready.

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Tasting Salon

We wandered around the gift store a bit, which was replete with all things champagne.

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Gift Shop

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We didn’t have to wait long before we were told our table was ready. When you make reservations you have three different tasting options.

  • The first option is Patio and Tasting Salon (see photo above).  This option offers views of the vineyard and a flight of champagne tastes with table service.  They also indicate that no reservations are required.  The price range is $25-30.
  • Second option is Oak Terrace Tasting.  Library wines, comfortable chairs under a spreading oak and red umbrellas, unbelievable views, more privacy and amazing service by your own server and cheese plate option available for an additional $28.00.  This option is $50.00 per person.
  • The third option is a walking tour of the winery that also comes with a flute of champagne for $40.00

We chose the Terrace Seating tasting with a cheese plate.  Our server warmly greeted us and we had our choice of seating. Although there were only a few people sitting on the terrace, there were quite a few groups sitting inside and in the outdoor patio (to the right of this photo).

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The view we had was stunning.  We sat under large red umbrellas in very comfortable low chairs with a low table in front of us. We were provided with a tasting menu, some crackers to cleanse our palate and some beautiful water glasses with Mumm Napa etched on the outside.

While our server was preparing our cheese plate, we were able to sit and enjoy the vineyard views and take a look at the wines we would be tasting.

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2017 Russian River Vacation-207-2YC blogOur server returned with our first two wines and explained what it was we were tasting. This tasting provides each person with two wines of our choice, out of 6 or 7 wines.  Yes!Chef! and I decided to try four different wines and share them.

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One of the many things I learned about sparkling wine (you can’t technically call it champagne because it’s not from the Champagne region of France). is that you don’t tilt the glass when you pour it, as you do with beer.  The bubbles dissipate so quickly that he said you pour it directly in the middle of the glass until the bubbles rise to the top, wait a few seconds for the bubbles to subside then do a second pour. We referred to the wine as champagne several times and he did not correct us, but said that employees, servers, etc. were not to refer to it as champagne, but by the name or sparkling wine.  He referred to regular wine as “still wine”.

The colors and bubbles of Mumm Napa

He went on to explain the process of making sparkling wine, which is a fascinating process.  We had lots of questions for him including how long the champagne stayed in the barrel, where do the bubbles come from, how do the bubbles stick to the side of the glass, etc.  He was able to answer all of our questions easily.

Then he brought our cheese plate, which had all kinds of cheeses, fruits and nuts.    Our server advised us which fruits and cheese would go best with each of the wines, but he also encouraged us to experiment and try fruits and cheeses together with the wine.  Then, he left us again to enjoy our wines and cheese plate along with the view.

The wines were very, very good.  And since it was a warm day, the wines were a perfect refreshing beverage to sit and watch the vineyards as the sun began to set.

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After we were finished with our second and final taste, he encouraged us to go over to the photography exhibit.  He gave us a splash of wine to take with us as we toured the exhibit, which featured an Ansel Adams exhibit.  I was in heaven.

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We spent quite a bit of time meandering through this very fine exhibit.  Some of the Ansel Adams photos I had never seen before.  It was truly a treat. And you really must have a “splash” of champagne as you tour a photography exhibit.  You will feel so fancy.

One of the reasons we love to visit these wineries is because they often have art exhibits, art throughout the grounds, beautiful gardens, wonderful areas and vignettes to enjoy the wines, picnic areas and great lounging areas.  And, unless they are very busy, they encourage you to stay and enjoy, walk around the estate and generally make yourself at home. Another good reason to have a reservation policy.

Although this winery is open until 6:00, which is unusual for Napa and Sonoma, we left around 5:30 and again took our time walking through the garden. Here are some flowers and wonderful landscaping that we enjoyed.

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This winery should be on your “Must Visit” list.  Be sure to allow plenty of time.  You need not choose the Terrace option to enjoy the experience.  The other options would be quite satisfying.  Champagne is very different from still wine and learning about the production process is one of the more interesting parts of the tasting experience.  Plus, the sparkling wines are dang tasty.

Go There.

It was finally time to check into our AirBnB cottage that was located in Windsor.  Naturally, we got lost and drove by it without recognizing that it was a place to stay.  It was off a country road and the GPS was a little confused.

When we found it, we were also a little confused because the cottage was located in a landscaping contractor yard complete with piles of gravel and sand and landscaping trucks.

To say it wasn’t much to look at from the outside is a bit of an understatement.  The “patio” area was too dusty to use, which was really disappointing.  However, the interior was clean, well appointed and welcoming.  I would give the interior a 4.5 stars but the exterior a 1.  We would probably not return to this particular place due to it being in the middle of a landscape contractor’s yard with trucks (including large dump trucks) coming in and out and the dust was quite thick and stuck to our shoes.  There was no way we could have enjoyed a glass of wine in the dusty patio area.

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This was really the only slightly disappointing part of our mini-vacation.  But the bed was extremely comfortable and it was very quiet at night.

Next Up: Day 2 of our Napa and Sonoma Anniversary vacation where we visit Healdsburg, J Vineyards for lunch, The Barlow in Sebastopol and enjoyed a lobster feast at DeLoach Winery in the Russian River area.


Published by

Karen Schmautz


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