Wine Tasting in Napa Valley
So I had been looking forward to Wednesday and Thursday of this week for like, months. I think it’s pretty apparent that I enjoy my wine, so when Chris and I planned our California trip, we made sure to incorporate a couple of days in Napa. His aunt and uncle (that we have been staying with the majority of this trip) live only about an hour outside of all the wineries (SO JEALOUS), so we took two separate cars there on Wednesday morning to go to one winery with them that they are members at and then to hit a bunch more on our own the next two days.
Our Wednesday morning began at Hall. Oh. My. Goodness. This place set the standard pretty darn high for the rest of our trip…. First we took a tour of the property. It was absolutely immaculate, gorgeous, interesting, and filled with unique artwork. I was so impressed with our tour guide and everything he taught us. He also made the whole experience so fun. I learned so many new facts that wine and the production process that I had never heard before.
We even got to go back in the vineyard and taste some grapes that are used to make cabernet. Man – I need to be a winemaker in my next life. (Or in this one if I can actually set my mind to it.) They have a career that makes millions of people around the world happy, they get to pursue a passion, and it seems like such a relaxing, chill profession. Sign me up.
Our time at Hall culminated with a tasting of some of their best cabernets – what they are really known for. We tried four different wines, and it was so amazing how each cab really did taste totally different. If only we made about a million dollars more than we currently do, I would have bought like, 10 cases of their best cab. It was so, so yummy.
Although none of us really wanted to leave, it was time for us to go find some lunch. We wandered around the cute town of St. Helena to a “gourmet” grocery store where we all constructed our own sandwiches that we ate on a park bench making a huge mess. Then Chris and I headed off on our own to a few more wineries!
Our next stop was at Castello di Amorosa. It is an old castle imported all the way from Italy. Since I studied wine in Italy during college, I was really excited to see this place. It also really reminded us of a Game of Thrones set…. 😉
To be totally honest, this was my least favorite stop of our trip. The wines were okay and the “tour” was okay, but the actual castle itself was really cool to see. I’m glad we went there, but I wouldn’t go back. We did have a good time exploring the grounds on our own though and taking a bunch of pictures.
Our third and final stop of the day brought us to Bremer Family Winery. I am sad, but also happy, that I didn’t get any pictures of this place. It was so, so tiny and literally someone’s home. Our tasting took place just the two of us and our guide, back in a beautiful production room at a picnic table, surrounded by barrels of wine, and in the dark. It was awesome. It’s actually really representative of the feel of the place that I have no pictures. It was the kind of place and people that reminded me to live in the moment and just enjoy our time there – which we certainly did. And we left with a really nice bottle of cabernet to enjoy on our one-year anniversary next year. 🙂
Then it was time for dinner! We had a gorgeous drive down Howell Mountain to the adorable town of Yountville to make a reservation we had previously made at Bottega. This was a recommendation from Chris’s uncle, and we had really high expectations for our meal. From start to finish, everything was fantastic.
We shared their insanely good bread, calamari, and roasted cauliflower with pine nuts and raisons. My main dish was a zucchini noodle thing with tomatoes and parmesan, and he had the short ribs. Everything was just delicious. And the aesthetic of the restaurant was too cool. The weather was perfect to eat outside on their patio, and before we knew it we had been sitting there talking, eating, and drinking for over two hours.
After dinner, we made our way to our hotel to relax, watch American Horror Story (AH!), and sleep SO GOOD. The next morning we took our time getting up, got in a good workout at the hotel gym, and enjoyed their surprisingly good continental breakfast.
Thursday was a cool, rainy day in northern California – our favorite kind of weather. We had a reservation at noon at a newer winery called Cakebread that we had heard really great things about. As soon as we drove onto the property, we began to understand why. The grounds were just beautiful, with a huge garden full of sunflowers there, too.
Our tour guide was adorable, the wines were phenomenal, and everything was just perfect. We ended up buying a nice bottle of cabernet to give to Chris’s aunt and uncle as part of a thank you gift for letting us stay with them.
Then we headed out for another good lunch at R + D Kitchen – a recommendation from a few ladies in our tour group at Cakebread. We sat at the bar and ordered enormous sandwiches with red wine – perfection. Mine was a veggie sandwich with feta, avocado (love that avocado comes with literally everything in California), lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pickled onion, some good sauce, and probably some more stuff that I am forgetting. It was really, really good.
Our final stop of our time in Napa was at Ménage à Trois! We love this wine and drink it at home often, so we thought it would be really fun to see where it is made and maybe find some new favorites. The gentleman who helped us was so fun and knowledgable and did a great job selling us on three bottles 😉 We had a lot of fun here, and it was a great last stop of our trip.
Eventually it was time to head back home. 🙁 Although neither of us wanted to leave, we both agreed that we will 100% be back so it wasn’t too hard to go. Napa is such a fun, easy, romantic town and the perfect getaway for a couple who loves each other and loves wine. I loved (how many times can I say that word?) everything about it and am so grateful that we got to experience it together. <3