There’s nothing like a holiday; and there’s nothing like a holiday that celebrates all the hard work that you do. Day in/day out you’re either clocked-in on the job or clocked-in doing yard work, in the kitchen or at the do-it-yourself home improvement store for the umpteenth time looking for the right sized washer. Whether on the “man’s” clock or your own, along comes a day that allows you to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Talk about reaping the rewards of the fruit of your labor; wineries in the Napa Valley have been doing that for decades. This is one of the most beautiful places in the country; it is as old as it is new. It’s a clash of the haves with automated grape picking and armies of trucks rolling down the highway vs. the have nots with friends and family hand-picking the fruit and throwing it all in the back of a few pick-up trucks.
The Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges surround Napa Valley giving it its unique geography and climate rewarding all who labor with fruits that produce world-renowned wines. This Labor Day reward yourself and those who labor the fruit of the vine by serving up wines from Napa.
One of Napa’s best and brightest is the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars sowing and reaping since 1970. This winery works with a handful of varietals allowing the labor to be concentrated and the fruits to be pleasing. The Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon and the Karia Chardonnay are the crown jewels of the winery.
Nothing goes better with a Labor Day hamburger right off the grill, cooked to medium-rare perfection, than the Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has a combination cola and chocolate flavor that accentuates grilled meats served with Worcestershire sauce. Well maybe the Karia Chardonnay with a blackened-rubbed chicken breast or grilled eggplant and mushrooms with gorgonzola crumbles might be better.
Napa Cellars is a young whippersnapper in comparison but don’t let that fool you. This winery embodies a combination of retro and nouveau; meaning they’ve captured old world flair with new world know-how. And the fruit bottled in the Napa Cellars Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is a prime example.
No need to labor over what to serve with this lovely red – it’s slow grilled short ribs. Marinate overnight and place ribs on grill for about an hour to hour and a half of slow cooking. Slow cooking makes the ribs tender and flavorful. The Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet has dark fruit flavors that will meld beautifully with ribs marinated in a coffee/molasses combination; low alcohol content means you can actually savor what you’ve grilled.
Not to be overlooked is Raymond Vineyards. Laboring over a small number of varietals, the winery offers an extensive history of wine-making and generations of family toiling and loving the land. Their hard work is paid off in the Reserve Selection collection of wines they offer.
Take, for example, the Raymond Reserve Selection Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is for those who labor at grilling the perfect oyster or taking the bounty right off the pole and right on to the grate. With its grapefruit and pear aromas and flavors, this wine will bring your fish back to life – especially if you use a zesty remoulade sauce for dipping.