We arrived in Napa Valley in early evening after driving from the San Francisco Airport over the Bay Bridge in heavy late afternoon traffic — caused by a combination of the afternoon rush hour and the San Francisco Giants home opener ballgame against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park (the home team won 7-3). Luckily, we made it to St. Helena just in time for our dinner reservation at Goose & Gander Restaurant, where we dined outside on a lovely patio next to a fish pond with a gently bubbling fountain. After starting with a cold glass of 2012 Napa Valley Rosé (28% Grenache, 27% Cinsault, 25% Mourvedre and 20% Carignan) from Lorenza to celebrate our arrival in Napa Valley, we ordered a bottle of 2011 Karmen Isabella Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from Dutton Estate Winery in Sebastopol, California, to accompany our dinners.
The Karmen Isabella Pinot Noir is named after the Dutton’s youngest daughter and it’s a blend of reserve barrels from three vineyards in Green Valley, a sub-appellation of Russian River Valley. It was a deep ruby red color with aromas of roses, ripe cherries and raspberries, and balanced flavors of lush red fruits, minerality and bright acidity that went well with our food. For our dinners, we enjoyed an arugula and asian pear salad with pistachios and tarragon vinaigrette, a fennel and carrot salad with hazelnuts, a pan roasted chicken breast with mustard buerre blanc, roasted sweet onions and arugula, and a Goose & Gander burger with gruyere cheese, applewood smoked bacon, and duck fat fries. After dinner we had a glass of 2010 Brut Rosé sparkling wine from Domaine Carneros and a glass of 2012 Giacomo Bologna Brachetto d’Acqui from Braida in Piedmont, Italy. G & G was definitely one of our favorite restaurants on this trip to Napa Valley, and a winning successor to the popular Martini House, which closed after 9 years at this location on Spring Street in St. Helena.