Summer in Napa
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Nick first took me to Napa back in the summer of 2016. We have gone back every year now, but visited in March instead of peak months, to get more bang for our buck. My fifth and most recent time to the Valley was a week ago, the day after my birthday. Talk about a good present! We got to enjoy Napa in all of its beauty. Don’t get me wrong - it is beautiful year-round, but there is something special about being there with leafy greens and plump fruit on the vines. Nick had a client visit in San Francisco, so I tagged along and we went a little early, to enjoy the city and its surroundings. Since it was a work trip, we just spent a day in Napa… a day trip if you will, but it was perfect.
We didn’t need a car for our time there, so we ubered to a car rental shop in Oakland (from SF), as it is on the way to Napa, and then drove from Oakland to the Valley ourselves. I get a lot of questions about transportation for wine tasting and to be honest, that’s something that I don’t really have to worry about. Alcohol (or caffeine for that matter) doesn’t affect Nick, plus we aren’t heavily drinking and we make sure to eat.
The grounds at Cliff Lede
We began our day at Cliff Lede - winery we hadn’t visited in a while, but one of the first ones I went to. They make wonderful wine and I love their whole theme. They have a rock and roll vibe that stretches from the names of their plots, to the tasting services. If you want a private tasting, they have a “backstage” area for you. We didn’t taste back there, but got to look through it, as the current art display is by Elton John’s lyricist. Some pieces were even signed by Elton! It was super cool.
Next on the docket was Quintessa. We visited it for the first time earlier this year and it was easily our new favorite. We did the Quintessential tasting in the spring - they take you up on a hill to do a tasting and the views (and wines) are impeccable. This visit we only had time for a quick tasting in the lobby, but it was so worth it, because the wine is delicious.
Quick tasting at Quintessa
We are members at Walt, which is the Pinot Noir label of Hall. Hall is one of our favorite spots, plus it is free for us to go as we are members. We haven’t taken advantage of all the member benefits before, so I was excited to spend the bulk of our afternoon on the members’ only patio at Hall! We brought a sack lunch from Oakville Grocer and enjoyed it in the sunshine, whilst tasting all of their yummy wines! (If you are a member, be sure to make a reservation! If you’re not a member, their regular tasting room is awesome! Still make an appointment there. I love the view from their tasting room.) We have been to the original Walt tasting room, but we prefer Hall. They did just open a new Walt tasting room, which we haven’t been to yet. Will have to visit next time!
Duckhorn is a Napa classic, as it is know for its cab. We ended our wine tasting here and it was perfect. They do a yummy cheeseboard and I love their wraparound porch. In the recent years they acquired the famous 3 Palms Vineyard and have already begun to experiment with the wines from there. I’m excited to see more!
Our next stop was a place we had never been before but as recommended to us by our sweet Cotogna waitress. (Restaurant in SF - AMAZING. Make a res and go.) We drove up to Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing and thought to ourselves why the heck we hadn’t been there before. We tasted their olive oil and bought some flavored risotto and some fontina cheese. We haven’t cooked the risotto yet, but the cheese was wonderful. We will be back for sure!
Members patio area at Hall Wines
Duckhorn entrance and tasting
For dinner, we went to Farmstead. We ate there for the first time earlier this year and it was so good, we had t come back! We typically don’t order wine there, as we have been tasting all day, but they have a $3 corking fee and it is all donated to a local charity! Their cocktails are great too though. I think our favorite dishes are the mini ham sandwiches and the beef tartar. SO YUMMY.
After that, we drove back to Oakland, dropped the rental car off, and ubered back to the hotel, just in time to see the sun set over the bridge. It was a wonderful time and I highly recommend Napa if you’ve never been. The first time I went, we only had a day and we crammed a ton of stuff into that time frame. See what we did that time here. I was happy to relax and enjoy the wine and sunshine a little more this trip.
If you want a quick review vs paragraphs and my banter, here’s what we did during our day trip!
Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing
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