Before we get to the wine, let’s talk about the beautiful, handmade wine rack my talented husband is making.
You want a non-aromatic wood for your rack…in this case, mahogany.
This will ensure you don’t impart any unwanted flavors to your wine.
Lovely, isn’t it? The first shelf is nearly complete and there will be three more, giving us a total of two cases of storage…for the ‘good’ wine. Since we don’t have basements out here in California, he’s transforming the bottom of our linen closet, the next best option for storing wine because it stays quite cool (unless you feel like dropping ridiculous cash on one of those fancy wine fridges which will end up failing you anyway if the power goes out for an extended period of time). Just use your closet and don’t be a snob. It’s mahogany, and he’s using all old-school hand tools a la Master Craftsman Paul Sellers…hand saws, chisels, planes, etc. This is his first attempt at woodworking and I’d say it’s a success thus far. This one’s not only quite functional, but it’s serving as the prototype for the freestanding wine rack he’s going to make next, which will be on display in our dining room. I can’t wait to see THAT one!
As you can see, we’ve got our finest wine already in the place of honor…the top shelf…though truthfully it will end up on the very bottom shelf once the rack is complete since that’ll be the coolest place. But for now the first wine to grace our custom, handmade rack is of course Guilliams. The. Best. Wine. Ever. If you live in the Bay Area and haven’t been to Guilliams, you should be tarred, feathered, caned, flogged, excommunicated from your church, disowned by your family, dropped off at a shelter by your own pet…you get the idea. Okay maybe it’s not quite THAT bad, but if you haven’t tasted Shawn and John’s sweet elixir, you are truly missing out on one of the best wines in the Napa Valley region. Full stop. And believe it or not, the people themselves are even better than their wines.
The foundation of John’s art, waiting to be transformed by the master.
We’ve been there five times in the past 22 months and each and every time has been a fantastic experience. We discovered Guilliams, oddly enough, in Omaha three years ago at our favorite restaurant there, Stokes. They had half price bottles every Tuesday, and one week we asked our server what she would suggest. She immediately said, “Guilliams.” It was instantly the finest wine we’d experienced. So…when we moved out here to Benicia, our first thought was, “we have to go to Guilliams!” We called and scheduled a tasting, never imagining we’d have such an awesome experience. I mean let’s face it, Napa can be pretty snooty. We certainly didn’t think we’d pull up to someone’s house and sit with the winemaker himself for two hours whilst he poured us free tastings and entertained us with stories about how his winery came to be.
But that’s exactly what happened.
He answered all our questions about Napa, about wine, about whatever, and never once did he try to hurry us out or get rid of us. He also never pressured us to buy any wine. But after you taste the liquid masterpiece that is Guilliams wine, you really can’t leave there without buying a bottle…or six.
“Only six bottles??? Where’s the rest silly hoomans?”
We’ve taken family there who have come to visit and even those who aren’t really into wine enjoyed themselves. The view itself is worth the twisty drive up into the Spring Mountain district. You can even bring your own food.
“Did you just say food?!”
There really aren’t enough good things we can say about it. Go. Just go. You won’t be sorry. Check out their website, and follow them on Facebook! Do it. Do it now.