Wandering the Wine Country

My lack of blogging is due to the fact that I have been on a wonderful trip!  We went with close friends to Napa in celebration of both our 15 year anniversaries.


We spent an afternoon and night in San Francisco.  We stayed at the the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins.  This view is from the Top of the Mark.  Highly recommended for views and drinks.  The people watching late night was stellar too.

We stopped for a drink at the Sir Francis Drake.

Shopped a bit in Union Square and hit Maiden Lane.

We had a nice early dinner at Ozumo.  It has great sushi, Sake and fabulous water views.  

Another view from the Top of the Mark.

Alcatraz from our early morning walk on Fisherman's wharf.


Going over the Golden Gate Bridge headed to Napa.

A view of the Golden Gate bridge from the overlook.

We headed straight for Sonoma.

First stop was Cornerstone, a cute outdoor shopping area with tasting rooms, galleries and a restaurant.  We indulged in the tomato tasting that had 30 plus varieties.

Our first winery was intended to be Scribe.  Many friends had recommended but we had not realized we needed a reservation. That will be our next trip.  

Ravenswood is a great stop.  I had been before and returned for a picnic table and a leisurely bottle of Chardonnay on the patio.

Marshall and Alli at Ravenswood

Views of the vineyard from the patio…

Lunch was in Sonoma at El Dorado Kitchen and hotel. We sat outside in perfect weather and enjoyed amazing truffle fries.

I was happy to hit our hotel, The Inn at Southbridge.  I had forgotten that Gott's Roadside/ Taylor's Refresher is across the street.  We has 3 visits there.  AMAZING!

Dinner at TraVigne is highly recommended.  The house made mozzarella and pastas are the best.

The cask room at Merryvale is beautiful.

The exterior at Merryvale is well manicured.

Rombauer is my very favorite of Chardonnay.  We had a great tasting and tour of the gardens.

A cool sculpture at Rombauer


The giant bottle of chardonnay is equal to 12 bottles….this is on my Christmas list.


A purple dune buggy with sheepskin seats may need to be my next car.

Duckhorn is certainly worth a stop.  The wrap around porch is the perfect spot to enjoy their delicious wines.

A terrific lunch at Mustards was followed by a tequila tasting of Uno, Dos, Tres Tequila. Maybe not the very best idea.

Our afternoon was spent in the beautiful Swanson Salon.  The room and table were impeccable.  The Rosato and the Instant Napa were certainly highlights for me. This is a must.

The salon is filled with terrific art by Ira Yeager.

The Rosato was featured in O Magazine this month.  Check out Alexis' blog too.  It is a favorite of mine.

3 tastings and a boozy lunch had some of us Sideways just like the movie.  But, we all rallied after another trip to Gott's and headed to Press for dinner.

My chocolate souffle for dessert was insane.  The wine list is crazy too.  It is a bible of the best wines.

The next morning we headed on a hike.  It was tough after the day before but we conquered Mount Saint Helena.  Here is our view from the summit 5 miles up and yes, that meant 5 miles down….The views were so worth it…only after it was over.

After that hike we stopped immediately at Chateau Montelana.  A favorite from our last trip.  Their wine 1973 Chardonnay changed the California wine business.  We are certainly going to rent Bottle Shock to learn more about the blind tasting in Paris that changed it all.  We saw Bo Barrett in the tasting room. What a treat.

Chateau Montelena is a beautiful estate worth seeing.


We cleaned up and headed to Oakville Grocery for lunch.  It is full of gourmet treats and terrific sandwiches and salads.  You can sit outside and enjoy.

Opus One is next door to the grocery.  Next time we will get an appointment there.  The building is so cool and built into the grounds.

A wrong turn led us to a heard of Longhorn cattle  This particular fellow was not fond out me trying to pet him.

Stag's Leap also won the blind tasting in 1976 that changed Napa.  Winery 2 for the day.

Robert Sinskey was recommened by many and we are so glad we stopped.  It was my new favorite find.  The wines were great and came with food pairings.  The building and gardens are divine.  I got swept away and joined yet another wine club.

Cool cartoon labels at Robert Sinskey

Beautiful flowers on the outdoor tables at Robert Sinskey

Caymus was the next stop.  It is in the central valley.  The wines are all so good.  I am a big fan of the Mer Soleil Chardonnay.

We kept all our wines glasses…we shall see if they return home in 1 piece.

The trip was fast and fun with excessive wine.  It was perfect!