Previous part of trip- San Francisco and Muir woods is on the San Francisco forum.
After arriving in Napa, we stopped at Gott’s Roadside (aka Taylor’s Automatic Refresher) next to the Oxbow Public Market. We got some hamburgers and sweet potato fries. It was delicious. Our first winery stop was Domaine Carneros. The building was stunning and we had a seated tasting out on the patio overlooking the scenery. We got a substantial cheese plate to share, I got a glass of champagne and my husband got a glass of Pinot Nior. I really liked that the tasting was seated and that you basically have a waiter like a restaurant. It was a perfect atmosphere. We then went to our hotel in Yountville. The Napa Valley Lodge. Our room was beautiful, high ceilings, fireplace, beautiful bathroom, patio overlooking the firepit, pool, and vineyards. The bed was so comfortable! I wanted to try Tra Vigne Pizzaria in St. Helena for dinner, so we drove up Rt. 29. We looked at the menu and noticed it was more expensive than I thought when I had researched it. The building is a beautiful stone building covered with what else- vines. When we were leaving we saw that we had eaten at Tra Vigne, the pizzeria restaurant was around the corner. Oh well, it was still good.
Wednesday was our 3 year anniversary. I had arranged for massages at Spa Terra in the Meritage Resort. The spa is built right into a wine cave under the vineyards. It was so peaceful and the spa was beautiful. I’d like to have a bathroom like that! We then had lunch at a little tacqueria in Napa town called Tannya’s Taqueria. It was really good and filling. I knew we had to eat a substantial lunch because next we headed to Del Dotto for their 3pm cave tour. We had arrived a little early and went to William Hill Winery down the road and took some nice pictures. Back to Del Dotto- I had read that their nickname is “Del Blotto” because they give so much wine. It was true. It’s nice that you feel like you are getting something for your $40pp, but after the 4th wine, they all tasted the same to me. They are a limited production winery that doesn’t sell to stores or restaurants, hence their wines were very expensive to purchase. We went back to the hotel and got ready for our anniversary dinner at Bottega. It was right down the road form out hotel. We got a nice corner seat outside. I got the pork osso buco and my husband got the beef rib-eye. We both weren’t totally impressed being it was a celebrity chef owned restaurant. Michael Chiarello actually came out to greet people, which was nice.
On Thursday morning we had a castle tour at Castillo di Amorosa. It was really spectacular. We loved the architecture and how all the stone was hand crafted. Beside the castle being a working winery, there were also dungeons and a torture chamber. The tour included a tasting. The wines were pretty good, but again they are pretty hard to find in NY, if at all. We spent lots of time here taking so many pictures. We then headed up toward Calistoga and stopped at the Cal-Mart to get some fresh sandwiches. We then went to Chateau Montelena which was made famous and put Napa Valley on the map for wine production from its 1st place victory in the 1973 blind taste test in France. We waited a while before being acknowledged and being pulled into a separate tasting room. For dinner we met out Bother-in-law at Mustards. Unfortunately they didn’t have any reservations, so we went to Tra Vigne Pizzeria, which was pretty good.
On Friday morning we had a tour appointment at Frog’s Leap. I had read that this is a really “fun” tour. I didn’t get that. It seemed like a pretty regular tour to us. The wines were good and you can get them in NY. We then went to the Oakville Grocery for lunch. We each got a sandwich and ate on the picnic tables behind the store overlooking the vineyards. It was beautiful and the food was really good. We then went to Rutherford Hill Winery. We didn’t taste here, we just walked around the grounds and took pictures. Next we went to Peju. The grounds and building are nice. We did a tasting here as well. Then we went to Cakebread Winery and did a tasting in the barrel room. It was a little uncomfortable because there was no bar to lean on and by that time we were getting tired. For dinner we went to Villa Corona for Mexican in St. Helena. It was very good and reasonably priced.
Saturday we checked out of the hotel and drove back to SFO. The airline was offering pretty cheap upgrades to first class, so we took advantage and really enjoyed our first, first class plane ride.
All in all, it really was a fantastic trip and I also feel like we learned a lot.