Whetstone, located just outside of Napa, is a family owned boutique winery founded in 2002. Hamden McIntyre, who was an expert in gravity flow winery design, built the centerpiece of the property, a 19th century French-style chateau. This is one of the few wineries that will allow you to have a wedding on the property. They specialize in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Today’s adventure was lead by Chef Morgan Robinson who taught us how to prepare an Argentinean feast. The cooking lesson and the lunch were in the vineyard under a huge walnut tree. We prepared a wonderful potato salad with a lemon dressing, chimicurri, grilled fresh veggies, BBQ short ribs and a fabulous crema catalana. We tasted 4 whetstone wines and the owners joined us during lunch. One of the best things about this cooking camp is the attention that is given us by the winery owners. We get to meet them and hear their stories.
Our afternoon appointment today was to meet the owner at the Stony hill Winery. Stony Hill is located in St. Helena which is just up the road from Napa. Formerly a goat ranch, this property was purchased in 1943 and the first harvest was in 1952. The winemaker uses barrels that are at least 10 years old to lessen the oaky flavor that allows the clean taste of the grape to come through. This winery has been making fruity, non-oaky, non-malolactic Chardonnays, White Rieslings and Gewurztraminers for fifty-eight years. They also make a sweet dessert wine called Semillon de Soleil. They will be adding a cabernet sauvignon to their list this year. The location of this winery is spectacular. It is on the western slope of the valley where the wines get cooler conditions.
To finish off the day, we had dinner at Bouchon in Yountville. This is another of Thomas Keller’s restaurants. I ate a lovely pressed melon salad, petroli sole and Marie and I shared a wonderful, tarte lemon tart. It was sooo good.
http://smokeopenfire.com is Chef Morgan’s website.