Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Final day in Napa

Sunday morning in Napa Valley was another cool, foggy morning.  We wanted to get another good walk in after all of the rich food we'd eaten the night before at Redd.  This time I took my camera as we were walking through Yountville and past some beautiful vineyards.  

I love this one - huge, fully grown, wild Cabernet vines next to brand new ones.

After a delicious Masion Fleurie breakfast, we made 1 winery stop before our brunch reservations.  We stopped into Raymond for a tasting.  Their tastings are typical Napa style - 3 different tastings of 4 wines at 3 (expensive) prices - $15, $20, and $25.  We picked the middle one with several Syrah options.  The expensive one was for the 'Crystal Room' which is this totally funky, club like room.  While the sales pressure was a little much, the guy was pretty nice.  The wines we tasted were $40 each, and after a $20 (not refunded with purchase) tasting fee, that made their bottles pretty pricey.

Napa was definitely busy that day!  We'd never seen traffic like this...

We headed back into Yountville for brunch at Ad Hoc.  Our favorite west coasters, good family friends who live in Sausalito, drove up to join us.  It was so fun to see them!  As always, we shared good winery and restaurant finds, talked about our parents, and enjoyed catching up.

Brunch was just fantastic, of course!  Everything is served family style on large beautiful trays and pans.  The salad was crisp and fresh.  The steak and eggs - oh man.  Mushrooms, potatoes, delicious steak and scrambled eggs.  We all wanted to lick the pan.  And the carrot cupcakes.  I'm not a big carrot cake fan but let me tell you.  We all thought about eating the paper just to get every last crumb.

After saying goodbye to the Pierces, we went to our last winery of the trip, The Terraces.  It was a wonderful spot to end the amazing trip.  Nate, one of the winemakers, was our guide and he was fantastic.

Sitting on some incredible real estate on Silverado Trail, tucked behind an very unassuming gate, Terraces winery is an amazing place full of cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel vines.  Nate put us into their utility golf car and we headed off to check out some vines and views - just look at this one!  It's amazing - you can almost see all of Napa Valley from the top of their property.

We were literally riding through the vines.  It was great!  Along the ride, we stopped in one of their stone buildings dating back to the 1880s.  This one houses their balsamic vinegar barrels.  The lesson in balsamic aging was super cool, and we got to taste it straight out of a few barrels, tasting the difference. It was really interesting to see how it's aged in the different size and wood type barrels.

See how the size is graduated?  After 1 year, they go in and use the smaller one to fill up the larger one to replace what's evaporated.  Then they cover them with the cheesecloth and wait another year.  Each barrel is made from different wood type, and they have a significantly different taste between the different types.

Then we went back into their 'tasting room' which doubles as a guest house above their wine making facility.  We tried several of their wines, and really enjoyed our time chatting with Nate.  He showed us different blending options, and how really simple wine making can be.  A splash of this, a splash of that...swirl, drink sip.  We had a great time with him, and could have hung out with him all day.  If they come out with a fifty-fifty-fifty blend, that was all us :)

We hated to say goodbye to Nate and to Napa, but it was time to head south to SF to fly home.  The view out the plane window of the fog over the city was amazing - the fog rolling in over the city was ridiculous.  You could see it swirling from the air!

We love California wine country.  Some people go to the beach, we go to California.  It refreshes us, and we love to learn about new restaurants, wineries, winemakers, and try new things.  This was our 5th trip in 4 years, so please, if you're heading there don't hesitate to contact me with questions about places to go and see.  I love to talk about Sonoma and Napa, and would love to help you find great places to visit! 

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog posts...

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