Napa Valley

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Last year my husband and I visited Napa Valley for the first time.  We went during Veteran’s weekend and what a wonderful time it was to go.  Harvest season was over, but the leaves were changing colors and the scenery was amazing!  This was by far one of our best vacations!  Everything about Napa is absolutely mesmerizing, it’s definitely a trip worth taking.  We decided to fly into San Francisco, in order to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge as well as drive down Lombard Street.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the weather was perfect!  Our drive to Napa was nice and calm, we had no idea what we were in for and weren’t on much of a schedule, which made for a perfect day.  Neither one of us realized how many wineries there are; over 300!  If you’re a wine lover, Napa Valley is definitely the place to go.  You also have Sonoma right next door.

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We began our visit with a stop to Lucero Olive Oil; they are 3rd generation olive growers.  You can taste olive oils, balsamic  vinegar, etc.  You must try the fig balsamic and the citrus olive oil; both are amazing! Needless to say, be sure you buy some to bring back, you won’t regret it.

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Once we settled into our hotel we drafted our game plan; our goal was to visit 3-4 wineries each day.  Our first winery was The Hess Collection, this was a very interesting vineyard because their grapes grow in both cool and warm weather.  There is a slight slope to their vineyards which steeps into the mountains.  They have a wonderful art collection if you’re into art.  Overall it was a good visit, the wine is good and the property is beautiful.   For dinner, we visited Ad Hoc; a Thomas Keller Restaurant Group.  Ad Hoc serves one, 4 course family style menu five nights a week and brunch on Sundays.  The setting is almost as if you’re in your own home; comfortable and relaxing.  You’re seated fairly close to the next table but that just adds to the homey vibe.  Our dinner was delicious and the service was wonderful.  We had the frisee salad with chicken, veal, cheese sampler and turtle cheesecake dessert, all wonderful flavors and the staff was attentive and informative, definitely a must!

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Next on our list, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar, one of my favorite wines!  Our sommelier was extremely knowledgable and friendly.  He gave us the opportunity to taste a few extra wines which were amazing!  We joined their wine club and are very happy we did!  We highly recommend it, can’t wait to go back and attend one of their events.  We didn’t tour the winery; instead we sat outside and enjoyed the wonderful weather and amazing wines in a very comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.

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From here we ventured to Robert Mondavi vineyards where we simply toured the property, and took pictures amongst the vineyards.  RM is a massive property and they have several tasting rooms.

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We were then off to Beaulieu Vineyard tasting room, delicious full bodied wine!  We purchased a couple bottles of their 2007 vintage which was delectable.  Afterwards we stopped at V. Sattu winery were we purchased a yummy sandwich and salad and enjoyed a little afternoon picnic.  This place is the mecca of cheese and salami in Napa!  Be prepared to want to buy the entire store.

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We couldn’t leave Napa without exploring Castello di Amorosa, which was wonderful.  I realize it’s not a real castle, but the tour was great and our tour guide was amazing.  His name is Joe, he was lively and energetic.  We visited several areas of the castle to include a few barrel storing areas.  Be warned, if you open a barrel you buy the barrel!  Keep in mind they can run upwards of several thousand dollars!  I must not forget we took a slight detour to visit the Geyser afterwards.

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We were then off to Duckhorn; this was a very cute and inviting winery.  We enjoyed our tasting al fresco, the property is adorable; it’s almost as if you’re in your own backyard enjoying a glass of wine.  After much vino, we found ourselves in line at Bouchon Bakery; how can I deny my sweet tooth?  The line was quite long but moved fairly quickly.  It was absolutely worth the wait!  The macaroons were delectable as was the bread pudding.  We also ordered a croissant, which honestly I wasn’t too impressed with.

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On the last day of our trip, we wanted to spend the day back in San Francisco and enjoy a delicious bowl of clam chowder at Pier 39 and we did just that.  We walked around downtown shopping and taking in the San Francisco scenery and then headed back home.  All in all, we had an amazing four days.  I highly recommend Napa for a weekend trip, romantic getaway, girls trip, whatever your heart desires. It’s a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Foodie Time:  We ventured into the Napa Oxbow Market for a late lunch early dinner one afternoon and ate at Pica Pica and Ca’ Momi, both were delicious! The arepas and empanadas were delicious and the pizza had a crispy crusty edge and was soft and fluffy on the inside.

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We truly cannot wait to return and explore the many other wineries Napa has to offer.   We highly recommend Napa for a weekend getaway, it’s romantic, scenic and the wine is amazing.  Napa has our heart and we will certainly be back!

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