Last month Adam and I took a trip two Napa with two of our dearest friends. Adam was the best man in Jerod and Meg’s wedding and they invited us a long weekend to keep the celebration going. Jerod is like me, a planner, and put together the most amazing itinerary. He found the perfect Air BnB, set up amazing tours and made sure we didn’t go hungry. I came back seven pounds heavier and pretty darn snobby about what I drink (kidding, I still love Black Box).
I learned so much about wine, the different soils, that the reason I hate Chardonnay is because of Lactic Acid (that milky, thick taste) and that honestly an $11 bottle of Kim Crawford and a $45 bottle of Illumination really aren’t that different. A good Chardonnay is basically priceless to me at this point and tried some Red Blends that were unreal.
October 25th: Calistoga / Downtown Napa
Chateau Montelena (Calistoga) (1:00PM)
This was our first stop and it was a very traditional walk-in tasting. It lasted about thirty minutes and was very educational. We didn’t have the personal experience we did at many of the other vineyards, but it was a great first stop. Especially for Napa newbies! We learned a lot about tasting properly and what to look for in a glass of wine. The grounds are spectacular. It is literally a castle and makes for some beautiful photo ops.
Lunch: Lovina or Brannan’s Grill
We stopped for a quick lunch at a road side BBQ place and it was fantastic. However, both of these places came highly recommended.
Tank Garage Winery (Calistoga) (3:00PM)
This was an awesome experience! We learned so much about the winery and the story of two best friend’s opening it together was really fun to hear. I also loved learning about the story behind each wine label. The wines weren’t my favorite. However, the old gas station turned into a tasting room was pretty cool. It was such a down to earth vibe and we had great conversation with the people running it!
Dinner: Morimoto (Napa) (8:00PM) (C)
The Waygu beef was dumb delicious and the halibut seriously blew my mind. Top notch food. Our server was fantastic, until she wasn’t, but the food was everything we expected.
October 26th: Napa Valley / Silverado Trail
Breakfast: Model Bakery (Oxbow)
We ended up having Buchon (we couldn’t wait for dinner)!
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (Napa) (11:00AM)
(Tour and Tasting )
This was one of my favorite tours. Meg and Jerod are in the wine club at Stag’s Leap so we had an incredible experience. We were in a small group of 10 and got to sit in the private tasting room overlooking the hillside. The wines were fantastic and the tour guide, did a great job. They even broke out a special bottle for Meg and Jerod to celebrate their wedding!
We loved their Sauvignon Blanc and ended up buying a bottle to drink that weekend.
Lunch: Redd Wood (Yountville) (12:30PM) (C)
Highly recommend for an adorable pizza place. The salads and pizzas were insanely delicious and they have Peroni, if you need a break from wine!
Merryvale Vineyards (St. Helena) (2:00PM)
(Signature Tasting )
This was seriously such a beautiful vineyard. The grounds were gorgeous and the wine was really great. It also is in walking distance from downtown St. Helena which I feel in love with. I ended up scoring an amazing Reiss blazer at a vintage shop. The shopping in St. Helena was wonderful and the shops were so welcoming and warm. We stumbled upon a husband and wife’s new bar and got an awesome tour. It was an old bank and the vault was turned into a tasting room.
Exploring St. Helena is a must!!
Dinner: Bouchon (Yountville) (6:00PM) (C)
We’ve been to the Bouchon in Las Vegas, but knowing the garden our veggies were sourced from was across the street was so cool. I got the Steak Frites and my mouth is watering just thinking about it. The steak tartare was also, insane. If you go to Napa and wan’t amazing food, but don’t want to spend $325 on lunch at French Laundry - GO. HERE.
October 27th: St. Helena / Napa Valley
Quintessa (St. Helena) (10:30AM) (C)
(Quintessential Experience )
This was our splurge tasting of the trip. And I would have paid double for the experience we had. We had a private tour with Nacho, the assistant wine maker’s son. We drove up the side of the vineyard in a ATV and pulled up to a glass treehouse. We sat in a glass room a top the vineyard with views that looked like they were out of a painting. I can’t even put into words how special this was and we were treated to four bottles of unreleased wine to take home.
Domaine Chandon (Yountville) (12:15PM)
If you’re looking for a PARTY, it is here. Lots of mini dresses, lots of sequins, lots of 21st birthdays. We found a table, bought a bottle of Rose and left. The grounds were pretty, but pretty sure I saw PBR cans in the trash!
Lunch: Mustard’s Grill (Napa) (1:30PM) (C)
Iconic and amazing.
Dinner: Bottega (Yountville) (8:00PM) (C)
We had a fantastic experience here. Jerod and I did get into a tiff over the wine (sorry, i love you), the recommendation from the sommelier ended up being insanely delicious and our meals were so, so, so, so good.