John Turi - Wine, Places to Try

Napa Rose Restaurant, Disneyland

The menu is true California cuisine; fresh fish, tender steaks, light pastas, along with duck, wild boar and exotic garden fresh vegetables. For me, the best menu selection is their Vinter’s Table; Chef Andrew Sutton’s own personal hand selected menu; a 4 or 5 course meal that blends each season’s culinary delights and each course is paired with a wine (optional); it’s really a delicious way to enjoy a variety of different meals.

The main reason I go back to the Napa Rose is the wine menu. It’s really more of a wine book; page after page of amazing wines from all over the world. Their specialty is California, with hundreds on the list. They have a large selection of wine by the glass and have bottles starting at around $25 all the way up to $5000. There are over 3000 wines in the basement cellar and the wine list rotates with the different menu items. If you do not see it listed just ask as they probably have it cellared.

Our reservation was at 7p.m. and we arrived on time. It was a crowded Saturday night and while we waited under 5 minutes for our table we talked with Matt the Sommelier on duty; a nice British fellow who knows his wine; especially the European varietals.

Once seated we started with a wine that had to be pulled from the cellar; a wine my friend Tom picked, a nice Italian: Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, 2000, the price $160. I found it a great way to begin is a cheese plate appetizer, along with a fresh mixed bread basket. The Amarone was fruit forward with slow tannin build, hints of plum and tobacco along with dark cherry and a great oaky finish. But of course, we did not give the wine enough time to open up as the bottle was finished in about 10 minutes. For the meal Tom and I went for the Vinter’s Table and had each of the 4 courses paired with 4 various wines from a Sauvignon Blanc to a splendid Cabernet Sauvignon. The meal was out of this world and has yet to do anything but impress me. To detail each course would take another article so I will allow you to experience what Napa Rose has to offer for yourself. We did spot a celebrity or two and the women enjoyed a lovely bottle of 2010 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon; price tag $120. During the 4 hour meal we managed to enjoy a glass of Scharffenberger Champagne and we closed out our amazing meal with the ‘World’s Best Hot Chocolate’ that is complimented by 2 remarkably fluffy, cream filled French style donuts. No seriously… it could not be more decedent. We were thrilled to learn it was still being offered, as it is normally only available during the holidays and when it is on the menu, it’s for a very limited period of time and only during the winter months. Between, the exceptional service (Hamilton), incredible wines, knowledgeable and personable Sommelier (Matt) and amazing friends, the entire experience and dinner for 4, with sensational wines, remarkable food, insane desert and tip was… wait for it… $1000. Our valet parking was complimentary; no taxi was needed.

Napa Rose Dining

I’m absolutely a supporter of review websites that offer honest evaluations and have a variety of people reviewing something or some place. My go to site is Yelp.com, since they seem to cover a wide selection of attitudes, tastes and opinions that round out a decent overall rating. The Napa Rose has over 600 reviews with nearly a 5 Star rating. I cannot find many other restaurants that have a rating that high; especially with that many people on Yelp. As I read various reviews the low stared ones seemed to be from young people; whose palates are still maturing or individuals who went there with such high expectations that they were disappointed that the sea did not part for them. Is Napa Rose expensive? YES! Is it worth every penny? YES!  If you treat your server with respect will you get the same in return? YES! Is the food very decadent and prepared with absolute attention to detail? YES! Did I leave a 5 star review on Yelp.com? YES!

What would I change at Napa Rose if I could? The first thing is to get rid of the pioneer looking Disney uniforms. The vests and dresses ruin the style of the rooms design. Come on Disney, bend a little and allow something from this century. Second, a dress code is needed. At the minimum I would require business casual.

I always take photographs of the wines I review. I did bring a camera with me but I put in the wrong SD memory card, so the images saved too slowly and most were blurred and the few I was able to salvage, do not live up to my perfectionistic ways. To be honest, I was feeling pretty warm and fuzzy, so it may have been more my hand-eye coordination than the camera.

Dining reservations are recommended for Napa Rose and can be arranged in advance by calling Disney Dining at (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463 or visit them online at Napa Rose

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