My husband and I had another lovely weekend getaway in Napa Valley earlier this month, this time celebrating our one year wedding anniversary. The weather was perfect with clear, vibrant blue skies and the temps didn’t get too hot.
We enjoyed a new-to-us weekend, where we stayed somewhere new, visited 7 new wineries and dined at restaurants we hadn’t been to before. There are over 500 wineries/vineyards, countless restaurants and each town has its own unique personality, so it’s not hard to discover new places and things to do; there’s so much more to see and do than visit wineries, but that is what we primarily did because #wine.
This is a long post with lots of photos, so get comfortable and enjoy!
WHERE WE STAYED IN NAPA VALLEY
Best Western Stevenson Manor, Calistoga, CA. This was a cute place conveniently located within walking distance to downtown Calistoga. The rates were reasonable and breakfast was included (#waffles #coffee). They had a quaint courtyard to hang out or eat breakfast as well as a nice pool area with lots of seating options. The design choices of the rooms perplexed me (i.e. tiny bedside candlestick lamps flanking a massive upholstered headboard), but it met my cleanliness standards, so I let it go. 🙂 The bed was really comfortable, too, which is always a treat.
WINERIES WE VISITED IN NAPA VALLEY
Day 1, Saturday, June 9, 2018
Reynolds Family Winery – We signed up for a tour (that included a small cheese plate), but it was not worth the cost, at least from our experience. Our host had been there for a couple weeks, though he was friendly and knowledgable about wine and the area, and someone tagging along was only on her first day, so it was a 5-10 minute walk through the facility then back out to the patio area. Their patio overlooks a small pond with a fountain with mountains and vineyards in the backdrop. It was a beautiful property to hang out, sip on some wine and enjoy the sun or shade. Our host came out to the patio and refill our glasses, and we didn’t feel rushed.
Another thing to note is that Reynolds waives the tasting fee if you purchase a bottle of wine above a certain dollar amount (which is just about equal to the tasting fee).
Husbands Favorite: 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Silverado Vineyards – We had visited Silverado about 3 years ago, and I was really excited to go back this time. I remember the views and their outdoor patio were beautiful, and my memory served me correctly. Up on a hill overlooking acres of vineyards and rolling hills, Silverado allows you to taste their wines at your own pace. When you’re reading to try your next pour, you just have to head over to the bar inside the tasting room. This is my favorite way to do it because you really set the pace for how long you want to hang around. We found a table overlooking the view under an umbrella and spent close to an hour here before heading off to our tasting at Cakebread.
Husbands Favorite: 2014 Mt George Vineyard, Malbec
Cakebread Cellars – Established in the 1970s, Cakebread was the 39th winery in Napa Valley (there are 500+ today!). Cakebread was our final winery visit on day one. They offer a red or white tasting, and we went with the white; however, they did offer pours of two reds one of which ended up being my husbands favorite! At the start of the tour you meet in the main building which houses their gift shop, then our host Una led us through the vineyard and into our tasting room. It was beautiful with tall, vaulted ceilings with exposed beams overlooking their own reservoir. One other couple around our age was at our tasting table which made the experience more fun and lively.
Husbands Favorite: 2014 Vaca, Red Blend
Day 2, Sunday, June 10, 2018
Rombauer Vineyards – This was by far our favorite stop of the weekend. We opted to take a tour and have a private tasting (one other couple was in our group) led by Thomas in a private room with a picture window with picture perfect views. He was incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and just a chill, unpretentious guy who loves good food (he is a former chef at the Four Seasons) and wine and better yet wine pairings. The views from the general tasting area are absolutely beautiful, overlooking a valley and rolling hills. I could stare at that view all day. They have lots of cozy picnic spots and they encourage you to hang out and enjoy their beautiful property. We had our lunch out on their back terrace after our tour and tasting. Also, they valet your car for you so be sure you have some smaller bills on hand for tipping.
Husbands Favorite: 2014 Stice Lane – Cabernet Sauvignon
Frank Family Vineyards – The property of this vineyard is quite beautiful and ideal for picnicing. They have a number of picnic tables spread out under a canopy of trees; it’s a very relaxing and quiet area. Our wine tasting experience left a lot to be desired as our host was very new and not very knowledgeable. What was supposed to be a one hour tasting was ultimately a rushed 25 minutes; before we finished one pour she was pouring the next one. It was not crowded nor was it close to closing time, so we were a bit turned off and underwhelmed by what we had expected to be a more elaborate and educational experience.
Husbands Favorite: 2014 Chiles Valley Zinfandel
Duckhorn Vineyards – This was my favorite vineyard from an architectural perspective. I just loved the farmhouse style building with a grand wrap around porch and a large patio area for lounging. I could definitely live here on this beautiful property! When driving onto the property your surrounded by their lush vineyards. We were a bit early to our appointment so we had our tasting at the bar instead of on the porch but the air was flowing with the windows and doors open. Christian was our host, and he was knowledgeable about each bottle he was pouring and was quite friendly. I was able to have a tasting with just white wines since I can’t drink reds.
Husbands Favorite: 2013 Howell Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon
Day 3, Monday, June 11, 2018
Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) – On our last day, we worked out way back down through Napa and our first stop was BV. They don’t have a picturesque property like the other wineries we’ve visited; they have vineyards up and down the valley. Their tasting room was quite stately with floor to ceiling stone walls and a large u-shaped bar at the center of the room. We did the first tasting of the day (10a!), so there were only two other couples there, plus it was a Monday morning. There were six reds in this wine tasting plus a fun surprise bottle that is a rare gem. I didn’t join in on this tasting, but I was able to try their sauvignon blanc — it wasn’t my favorite. Overall it was a pleasant experience.
Husbands Favorite: 2014 George De Latour, Cabernet Sauvignon
Domaine Carneros – This is a very stately property perched up on a hill at the lower end of Napa Valley in Napa. I mean just look at it — I just kept snapping pictures as I headed up the stairs. There is a large, wrap-around patio lined with bistro tables and umbrellas perfect for enjoying a flight, a snack and the beautiful views. Francisco served us and he was friendly and knowledgeable. I opted for the all white sparkling wine tasting and my husband got a mix of reds and sparking wines. We also got a cheese and chartucerie plate. We spent about 1.5 hours here; we weren’t rushed out and it was such a relaxing way to end our celebratory weekend. Highly recommend!
Husbands Favorite: 2015 Le Ciel Serein, Pinot Noir
WHERE WE ATE IN NAPA VALLEY
Day 1, Saturday, June 9, 2018
Lunch – Redd Wood, Yountville – We stopped here between our tastings at Reynolds and Silverado. We each got a pizza which were pretty good. They had an outdoor patio in a quiet courtyard but there was a wait for a table in that area, so we ate inside. The design is a modern play on rustic farmhouse if that makes any sense; I imagine the ambiance at night is better than daytime.
Dinner – Boskos, Calistoga – We got here around 6:30p and the restaurant was just about full; they don’t taken reservations. They make their own burrata which was so, so delicious. My Boston roots haven’t helped me in the whole pizza/Italian arena; I’ve got high standards! With that being said, their chicken parm and pasta sauce were underwhelming. The atmosphere was okay; the decor was a bit tired and dated, but our waitress was efficient and friendly.
Drinks – Brannan’s Grill, Calistoga – After dinner at Boskos we stopped here, which is just a few doors down, and each got a glass of wine. The bar service was underwhelming; no bread pudding for us! We didn’t finish our drinks before deciding to head out.
Day 2, Sunday, June 10, 2018
Breakfast – At our hotel; I might be the biggest fan of the DIY waffle station. These Best Western waffles were really delicious. My husband sampled a few things at their breakfast buffet including the waffles.
Lunch – Before heading out for the day picked up sandwiches at Palisades Deli Cafe in downtown Calistoga so we could have a picnic lunch. After our tour and tasting at Rombauer, we enjoyed our lunch at a little bistro table tucked away in the shade right on the Rombauer property. They have lots of little spots with picnic tables and encourage you to hang out, have lunch and sip on some wine.
Dinner – Sam’s Social Club, Calistoga. We dined out on their back patio on our last evening in Napa Valley. They had a diverse menu with lots of good options. I ordered the burger with all the topics (avo, egg and bacon) and it was very good; my husband enjoyed the ribeye. For dessert we got carrot cake.
Day 3, Monday, June 11, 2018
Breakfast – More waffles at our hotel. The special of the day was quiche, but I didn’t budget my breakfast plate for that, because #waffles. My husband diversified his breakfast plate again.
Lunch – Domaine Carneros. We ordered a cheese plate and a charcuterie plate during our tasting at Domaine Carneros. There was plenty of food to fill us up, so these delicious plates ended up serving as our lunch and we were perfectly content with that. Much needed sustenance after consuming four full glasses of champagne!
There’s so much more to see and do in Napa Valley. It’s one of those places that you can’t help but feel relaxed, and it’s not just because you’re drinking wine! It is absolutely beautiful here no matter where you are or where you look. Driving down Silverado Trail or 29 is in itself a fun adventure and way to wind down. Hoping for another weekend getaway up to Napa Valley soon.
Looking to explore more of Napa Valley? Take a look at our first Napa Valley weekend getaway for more wineries, restaurants and hotel information!