Napa Valley, CA
I was cleaning up and organizing my vast collection of pictures on my various hard drives and found a folder of one of my trips to Napa.
The company I used to work for had an office in West Sacramento. I had to go there about 4 or 5 times a year. Now to save the company money I was usually allowed (thanks Steve) to book a Saturday night stay. The lower cost of airfare balanced out the cost meals and hotels. West Sac is only 80 miles or so from Napa. 80% of my visits were always solo, fun but there was no one to share the experiences with. A few times friends of mine were doing biz in San Francisco and were able to meet me there for some winery visits and truly artisan culinary treats. One occasion I had a show in San Francisco that I used our friend John Austin as camera man for the event. At the end of the show John's wife Erin and Kim flew out to meet us for a few extra days in the Valley. The valley is about 24 miles long with Mayacamas Mountain range on the west and the Vaca mountain range on the East. The climate and natural yeast strains that are there make Napa Valley one of the best places on earth to grow grapes and ferment wine.
Here are a few of places that keep me going back.
There are too many places to mention so here are a few of our favorite places.
One of the best educational tours about wine and it's history. A must if you go.
Not my favorite wine but a great cable car ride up to the tasting room for one of the best views of the valley looking South.
One of the best wines in the valley
Another great wine
Beautiful gardens that you can enjoy while sipping on one of my favorite Zins
Great caves and great wines. I took a cooking class offered by Webber Grill here.
Tables and grills set up next to the vineyard and Miner wines on every table.
What a fantastic experience.
Not only a great wine they have a sub label called Hawks Crest that you can get for 13 dollars....nice.
One of my top 5 in the Valley...unreal
The only Iranian wine maker here. Everything he makes is gold
Yes Francis makes one heck of a wine and the winery also houses a vast movie memorabilia collection
I saved my favorite for last. What a killer estate including a full blown test kitchen including estate chefs to do nothing but make great food. Poke around this site and you will find a whole section of unreal recipes
This is a Cabernet that you may buy once a year as a special treat.
I didn't even scratch the surface of the wineries there
Kim and I have never eaten in a restaurant for lunch in the valley. This grocery
sells all kinds of amazing cheeses, olives, artisan breads. We always grab a few things and a bottle then head to a local winery on the side of a mountain and picnic.
Yikes, I want to go now!
Hands down one of the most romantic places to enjoy a meal. An evening sitting under a grape leaf laden arbor while smelling and sipping a local wine then dining on perfectly grilled foods is tough to beat.
At the CIA they have an amazing restaurant. We have had several meals here and always walk away with the knowledge that we have had some of the best food on earth (I don't say that lightly)
There are dozens and dozens of privately owned places that just plain ol get it.
SCREW YOU McDONALDS!!!
Well? We have only ever stayed in one place so I guess I'm not a good tour guide for this category but this place is amazing. For Kim's first time out there I thought I'd get a nice B&B and started my search. A few links later I found myself at a place called Safari West tucked away in the far North of the valley, edging over the border into Sonoma. Private safari lodge style tents are what they offer. Tents you say? Yes, tents with king size pillow topped beds, hand made furniture, running water and private decks over looking a heard of Giraffes. Kim's kind of place. Once again the site tells the story better than I can.
Here are some pictures from the trip with the Austins.
Tasting at Coppolas winery
The Godfather's desk from the movie...cool
The courtyard of Cakebread, you are looking at a whole house that is nothing but a kitchen...amazing
The best we had that day...wow.
A Johnny Sandwich at Cakebread...
Waiting for our table at the CIA
One of the tranquil views at Safari West. Notice the tents on the hill.
Kim right at home...
They even have Lemurs...
Delilha the Great Indian Hornbill has free reign of the property. Here she is trying to figure out how to steal a piece of chicken from the grill...
Not sure what else to say, We just love this place and long to go back...