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Drinking at the Disney Resort - Pt 1 Napa Rose

Ever since it opened in 2001 Disney's California Adventure and Downtown Disney have offered wines at certain specially-chosen eateries, a remarkable change from the nearly dry Disneyland park. In keeping with the nature of the resort as an international vacation destination, Disney has made sure to play up the themes of regionally-available products but spiced up with the fancy and exotic. For several years the California Adventure even featured Golden Vine Winery, a section in the park meant to inform visitors about California's wine growing history and the process of creating a vintage. The section itself has been re-purposed for another attraction but the eatery is still there and wine tasting is still available.

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Based on this and other drinking spots (notably Catal's Uva Bar), Disney has received a little more attention as a place to try wines. However, one should be prepared to pay Disney prices. Whether the tasting at the aforementioned Golden Vine, drinks at the Uva Bar or at the Napa Rose, the crowning jewel of restaurants at the resort, typical prices are half again what one might find at a typical bar in Los Angeles. Twice the winner of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America award of excellence, the Napa Rose builds on a reputation of extravagance and class not merely with high prices but with a calming, pleasant environment and impeccable service.

Furthermore, the wine selection can raise eyebrows as much as the prices. The Napa Rose has an extraordinary list of bottles developed by the season by advanced sommelier Joy Cushing. Ms Cushing notes that while it is important to play up the many great California vintages, Napa Rose makes an effort to keep an impressive and elegant selection of international labels on hand. Indeed while every section in the wine list heavily favors California, there is a heady mix of French, Italian and Spanish wines. In fact, all of the rieslings are German. The prices on the Reserve List can be almost be their own amusement, ranging from nearly $200 to well over $6,000 for a Chateau Lafite Rothschilde.

For the cost-conscious there are several wines available by the glass, but again, these are not cheap wines. A moderate price will fetch a very ordinary wine - say a 2005 Fanucci Old Vine Zinfandel. Stingy on the first go, this zin opens up with moderate peppers and body on the second taste. Matching it with one the Rose's fantastic desserts - in this case the Scharffen Berger chocolate truffle cake with double chocolate chunk ice cream - improves the sweet-tartness remarkably.

The Napa Rose is located within the Grand Californian and is open everyday 530pm-10pm at 1600 S Disneyland Dr in Anaheim, CA. Call (714) 956-6755 for more information.

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