Sunday morning and time to get ready for our big day out tasting with Jason our regular driver. We
have a special caves visit at Rutherford Hill which we have never seen and Jason has a place or two
to see prior to the trip up the hill and others post picnic.

Ready on time, but minus breakfast, we enjoy Jason’s gift of a free bottle of bubbly to refresh the
palet!  First stop, some fresh bread for the picnic, and then over to Vincent Arroyo to see what he has
on offer. As we arrive so does the grape harvest but some over enthusiasm from the driver results in
an overturned container and grapes and juice are everywhere.

Ooops ! a bit too fast with the forklift

well they are only grapes

It’s in the bag !

Some pleasing tastes here and the first few bottles go in the trunk and we set off up the hill for our caves/cellar visit. Arrive with time to spare but are immediately told the tour has started already and
we are duly whisked away into the bowels of the hill.

Into the caves we go in search of the other tasters

Everything is beautifully laid out with just enough light from the chandeliers …….we catch up with the
main party and host in full flow. The aging process is explained along with coopering while sampling delights along the way. Some visits into other rooms where fine dining can be experienced and a
spot more vino collapso in case we run dry.  A fantastic place and all extremely well thought out over
the years. The visit comes to an end and we emerge once more to the daylight.

Quite an operation and drop dead gorgeous

Equally nice outside

Back to the reception area and main tasting zone when we are informed we have just been sent on
the wrong tour and our host is waiting to take us barrel sampling?  Lead on!   A nice young
enthusiastic man, Ryan, takes us back into the hill again and this time we get to sample directly from
the casks from what we will be their upcoming vintage……. all taste pretty good to us on our private

Ryan “dips” us through the barrels

Outside once more and after suitable photographs back to the main building again where Ryan
treats me to some extra tastings and goes in search of the elusive 2001.  Having lost Brenda to the
picnic area I pick up our selection and a 2003 for lunch. A fine lunch it is indeed …….. and some time
later we are off to yet more vineyards.

Two visits to the caves for the price of none!

That perfect picnic setting

Next up Honig, where the hostess looks like Shirley Maclaine. They have a pleasant shade garden
tasting area but have little for my palet although Brenda buys a red for some reason. They did have
a very sweet dessert wine which surprised me insomuch that the description seemed to actually
match the wine…… or maybe I’m becoming a James May ?    “a hint of crushed butterfly wings
mingles with honey bees and a grapey honeydew essence like a warm mead finished with hot
buttered toast served with pineapples”

On to another and here the gardens were delightful and the wine wasn’t. Nothing purchased but
the eyes were rested, or so I’m told.

The Peju’s Tower

Final port of call is at Peju where apparently we have to experience  “the Alan experience”. Alan
knows his wines and will burst into song at any time from Rap to the Peju’s anthem sung to the
Beatles song of “Hey Jude”.

The guitar comes out for the Beatles Pey—Ju’s anthem

Sales were inevitable after this and very soon it was time for us to go, say goodbye to Jason for
another year, and maybe see his selections in the other valley of Sonoma next time and also take
in the wine train on our 2012 visit.

Thanks Jason,     Sonoma next year you say ?

The pilgramage comes to an end once more, the taste buds are satisfied, the wallet is empty, and
our thanks go out to all those that made it possible including dear friend Bacchus without who’s
knowledge and continuous testing of the grape we are forever indebted.

Thanks again for a lovely day out Bacchus

The happy tasters at the end of another magnificent day


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