July 16th, 2012

If anyone actually reads this little newsletter, then surely someone out there remembers that earlier this year I told you that the best winery to visit in all of Napa Valley, and maybe the whole world, was Chandon. Well, let’s just say that, as I write this, I am acutely aware of how all these politicians can start looking like such flip-floppy flakes. There’s always something new to learn, but once you’re on record as declaring something to be the truth, it becomes awkward to admit you’ve changed your mind. But, what can I say? I’ve had a new experience and, yes, I’ve got a new favorite!

The Rombauer Winery is elegant and lush. It sits on top of a hill, but instead of the big valley panorama one comes to expect on a winery-hopping sojourn like the one I was just on, what Rombauer gives is a little hillside peekaboo, framed by the trees and flowers of their crazily beautiful garden. This garden, actually, is the star of the Rombauer experience. It’s got a wild and exotic array of colorful flowers, plus tall trees that make it feel more like a forest. There are picnic tables for sitting shaded on its inside, and lounge chairs for sitting on a patio overlooking it. Does this seem too serious? Because it’s also got a few random Christmas trees and some rusty dinosaur sculptures, to lighten the mood a bit. I felt enclosed in an intimate botanical paradise, with just the slightest hint of an eccentric edge.

I do, of course, realize that if it was possible to find a winery I like more than Chandon, it must also be possible that there’s still another winery that I’ll like more than Rombauer. What a strange and complicated world this is. All I can say to you, then, is that you’d better get over to Rombauer before something better shows up!

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