1.11.12

california, part one: the vineyards in napa

{from my instagram: on the plane; driving the long way}

We left early Friday morning. We flew from Salisbury to Philadelphia and then to San Francisco. We took the long way driving to our resort so we could go over the Golden Gate Bridge.

{the front of our resort}

We stayed at the Villagio in Yountville which was amazing. It certainly would not have been in our budget but it was paid for by the Hub's work. The rooms were very nice with a fireplace, huge dressing area and sink, and a balcony. Every morning, the resort had a complimentary mimosa breakfast and every afternoon there was tea with little sandwiches and sweets. In the evenings, there was usually someone from a local vineyard showcasing some of their wines (with a tasting.) They also had art for auction in the lobby (from Matisse, Picasso and Chagall.) If it is in your budget, I highly recommend it. If you can't afford the Villagio, I still highly recommend the town of Yontville for your stay. There are so many world class restaurants and it is a cute, walkable, little town.

{from my instagram: the afternoon tea spread; dinner at hurley's}

After we arrived at our resort, we had a bit of afternoon tea while we got checked in. Then we went to our room, unpacked, and took a much needed nap. We walked to Hurley's that night for dinner. It is a cool Mediterranean style restaurant with ivy climbing the front. I had buffalo short ribs with risotto and braised bok choy which was really good. However, I was disappointed with was the house wine - it tasted like grape juice. We went straight to bed when we got home since were extremely jet lagged.

(at vine cliff: the view; the grapes; in the cave; with the hubs}

On Saturday, after breakfast, we headed to Vine Cliff Winery to do a tour and tasting. Our tour guide was awesome (her name is escaping me though.) She was very knowledgeable about the process and took her time with us. We even got to meet the proprietor, Robert Sweeney, who was out preparing to harvest grapes. Our tasting was wonderful; the wines were good and there were a few I really liked.

{at cindy's backstreet kitchen: my bloody mary; the hubs' meatloaf}

After that we stopped at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen for lunch. We sat outside on the patio which was super cute - it reminded me of eating out in Europe. There were aluminum chairs, white table clothes, and colorful water glasses. I had a really good pumpkin soup and my salad was decent. A few of the people in our group got the meatloaf which is apparently one of their specialties and it was decent. All in all, I would go for the atmosphere out on the patio but not because the food was anything spectacular.

{at kelham vineyards: the vines; sitting by the water}

In the afternoon, we went to Kelham Vineyards for a wine tasting. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed and the grounds were pretty but I was not a fan of the wine. The majority of the wines I tried, I ended up pouring out. However, the amount of puppies running around made up for that!

{from my instagram: afternoon tea; dinner at brix}

After that, we went back to the resort for afternoon tea. Then we hung out until we went to Brix for dinner. Brix is a French-inspired California restaurant with a beautiful wood and stone interior. I really loved the atmosphere. For appetizers, we ordered tempura fried beans, cast iron mussels, and some oysters. The beans were really good (but then again anything battered and fried is) and the mussels were very different than the usual white wine sauce or tomato sauce. They had an amazing mustard crème fraîche and apple cider vinegar sauce. For dinner, I had the filet mignon with a mushroom bordelaise. It was delicious and I am not a big beef person.

{at bouchon bakery: the treats inside; my macarons}

The Hubs and I decided to skip dessert so we could go to Bouchon Bakery. I had heard they were having extended hours that night so I got two big macarons, one pistachio and one raspberry - my favorites. The Hubs got a chocolate ganache cake.

{at joseph phelps vineyards: the insignia label; the view from the back patio; with the hubs}

On Sunday, I forced the Hubs to go to the gym with me. I felt like I was weighed down with all the food and wine we had been consuming. After the gym and breakfast, we headed to Joseph Phelps vineyards for a tasting. I liked the style of this tasting. It was set up more like a cocktail party. There were tall barrels that featured a few wines and then you went to the next barrel for more. You could stand and talk to one of the employees pouring or you could go and explore the grounds outside. I enjoyed every single wine I tried here - every single one. I am not a huge white wine person and I even enjoyed those. If you are looking for quality, I highly recommend this vineyard.

{at raymond vineyards: pretty flowers; in the chicken coup; the smell hallway; feeding the goats; the hubs' swirl; with the hubs}

After that, there was no time for lunch, so we went straight to Raymond vineyards. We had such a good experience here. All the wines were good or very good and our tour was very extensive. Not only does Raymond host vineyards but they also have gardens (with both veggies, fruit, and flowers) and animals. I had a fun time with the goats. We tasted grapes before they were crushed and they even have a smelling hallway where you can see what type of smells you like and, therefore, what type of wines you may like. Then we went into a beautiful room for our tasting (filled with Restoration Hardware furniture - I was swooning.)

That night, we had a cocktail hour out on the patio of the V Wine Cellar in conjunction with the Hubs' meeting. After all of the wine and a long day, I went straight to bed.

I will have more pictures to share with you from Napa and San Francisco over the next two weeks!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful vacation and you have taught me some things about my own backyard... Next time you come out to Napa/Sonoma make sure you check out Castello di Amorosa Winery. It's a castle that was built on site. Here are some pictures of it: http://thebubblybay.com/?p=66 Enjoy! :)

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