Just returned from our second trip to the Napa Valley, and had a great time once again. I think we are hooked! Highlights of this trip were:
Dinner at La Toque. Wonderful once again, with excellent wine pairings.
Wineries on Spring Mountain. (We've found two up here that we love.)
Picnic at Clos du Val. We weren't crazy about their wines, but the picnic area in front was beautiful. Shaded tables, lovely views, vineyards, and flowers - a great spot.
Chocolate Merlot Fudge Sauce at Sequoia Grove. Ask for a taste - it's wonderful. I'll be putting some of these in gift baskets at Christmas (if I can bear to part with them).
Shafer tasting - an interesting experience, at least. This had a much more formal atmosphere than any other winery we've visited. They do two tastings a day, for no more than 8 guests each. The setting was very nice, with a seated tasting in a lovely glass-walled room overlooking the valley. The experience was nice, but what some people will consider an elegant experience may strike others as a bit pretentious - and I'm not entirely sure where I'd draw the line myself. A highlight of our visit was that both John Shafer and the current winemaker personally stopped by to talk to the guests during the tasting. (This does not always happen.) The tasting is rather pricey, but it's a much better exerience than the comparably-priced wine and cheese pairing we did at Darioush last year.
Yountville. We really enjoyed walking from our hotel to shops and restaurants here. We had been here for dinner last year (by car), but liked it much better when walking. We stayed at the Napa Valley Lodge, which although one of the less-expensive options in Yountville, was very nice. While it was further from the main part of town than many other lodgings, the walk was through the more charming section of town, with gardens, etc. The outdoor fireplace area in the courtyard at the Hotel Luca next door was particularly appealing at night, and would have been a great spot to have a drink (if only we could have handled the thought of any more alcohol by that point)!
We also had dinners at Bistro Jeanty and Redd - both outdoors.
We love this area, and I have no doubt that we will be back again and again!