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  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  1st time to Napa for 3yr anniversary

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Author Topic:   1st time to Napa for 3yr anniversary
Hawkeye
Member
posted 04-15-2012 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Damombo,

I will bet you never catch up with us! :0

Waiting with baited breath for your trip report.

-Hawkeye

IP: 67.167.170.10

Hawkeye
Member
posted 04-15-2012 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi aj,
Chiarello is open to the public but Thomas Rivers Brown is not. If you like TRB wines, He also makes Black Sears, Outpost, Harris, Jones, and a host of others.
-Hawkeye

IP: 67.167.170.10

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-14-2012 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
Domombo-36 yrs is very impressive! I was aware that Thomas Brown was the wine maker for Chiarello and was hoping to taste some...I was hoping to visit, but I guess it's not open to the public, too bad. Thx for the suggestion--I love all things Michael Chiarello...his food, his wine, his face(sigh)so I will definitely add it to the itinerary.

IP: 173.88.205.18

damombo
Member
posted 04-14-2012 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Hi aj,

Celadon is one of our favorite restaurants in Napa - had dinner there 2 weeks ago and it was again delightful.

We have dined at Bottega twice in the last couple of years and have had wonderful dinners both times. The service has been excellent and the food delicious and always interesting. Great flavor combinations. I'm sorry that the other reviewer had a lousy experience, but ours have been very positive. If you have time before dinner, step into NapaStyle and try Michael Chiarello's wines - Thomas Brown is his winemaker and the wines are fantastic. At least for our palate And I'm sure that you understand that we all have different palates and will not always agree on what wines are great and what wines are not.

Happy Anniversary to y'all - we will be celebrating #36 this July and are planning a Napa trip in November to celebrate. Not as impressive as Hawkeye's 55, but we are working on it!

IP: 96.8.187.200

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-13-2012 06:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
If we have time we'll check out Boethe Park, but Armstrong Preserve is definitely in as well as at least one winery in Sonoma near it. So excited to finalize itenirary this weekend.
Thx for checking on the Preserve

[This message has been edited by aj33 (edited 04-13-2012).]

IP: 173.88.205.18

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-13-2012 06:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi aj'.
Glad that the gallery finally chimed in.
I did check on Armstrong Redwoods and the page for that park is still active so I am guessing that it is still open.
That part of Sonoma County is really pretty IMO so I think that you will enjoy including it in your plans.

IP: 71.65.250.8

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-12-2012 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
Kod
I'll check out Boethe State Park as Muir Woods is definitely out.I've been considering Bistro Jeanty as well as Gott's Roadside(for lunch). I decided to go ahead and book reservations for last night @ the Bistro...I love french food! I'm sorry you didn't enjoy yourself @ Bottega, however, I love Michael Chiarello - so it's a must for me. Thank you for the winery suggestions...I am considering Failla. So many choices...it's going to be a long weekend!

IP: 173.88.205.18

Kod
Member
posted 04-12-2012 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kod     Edit/Delete Message
We enjoy hiking in Boethe State Park just north of St Helena. Frank Family and Failla are good wineries nearby. Gott's Roadside , also in town, is a high quality fast food place Napa valley style, with its Ahi sandwiches, sweet potatoe fries, and assorted wines, as well as good burgers.

IP: 68.45.99.199

Kod
Member
posted 04-12-2012 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kod     Edit/Delete Message
My wife and I stopped by Muir Woods on our way to Sonoma the week before Thanksgiving on an early Saturday afternoon. It was so crowded, actually mobbed, that there was no where to park.We were unable to stay because of that. We stayed in Yountville and we did not enjoy Bottega at all. We found it to be a pretentious, showy place, really a tourist trap. I live in the Northeast with plenty of authentic Italian owned restaurants and know what good is. If you enjoy traditional French Bistro food, Bistro Jeanty is great with excellently prepared dishes, good portions, and fairly priced.In Napa we ate at Celadon a few years ago and enjoyed it very much.

IP: 68.45.99.199

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-12-2012 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
Thx, Hawkeye, Yesilovewine, and Scott for all the info...I will be sitting down over the weekend to finalize our itinerary...my husband is insisting on the Preiser Key, guess he's worried about getting lost Any suggestions for last night in Napa for dinner. Once I figure it all out I'll post it, just so you experts can let me know if it needs fine tuning

IP: 173.88.205.18

Hawkeye
Member
posted 04-12-2012 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi aj,

You had some very good wineries on your list, I was just trying to minimize the travel time between wineries.
-Hawkeye

IP: 67.167.170.10

ssala
Member
posted 04-12-2012 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ssala   Click Here to Email ssala     Edit/Delete Message
We will be returning to Napa in 8 days to run a half marathon and taste wine. Our schedule includes the following, "r" means repeat visit...
Saturday- Baldacci (r), Hill, Benessere(r), Madrigal(r)
Sunday (post-race)- Failla, Rombauer, Zahtila
I always encourage folks to get the Preiser Key which has essential maps of the valley. That way you can maximize your wine tasting and minimize your drive time.
In past years, we have visited Merryvale, V Sattui (great deli), Sterling (tram ride), Castello di Amoroso (replica of 13th century Tuscan castle, excessive but entertaining), Del Dotto (great cave tour), Hall (fantastic cabs), Storybook Mountain (fantastic zins), Vintner's Collective(in Napa has some great wines from small producers), Sawyer. That should get you started. Have fun, learn lots...
Scott

IP: 75.70.79.148

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-12-2012 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
Thx yesilovewine...I will check on Armstrong Preserve and also the other 2 sites you listed.

IP: 173.88.205.18

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-12-2012 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hello Hawkeye. Glad to see you're up and about. I've been trying to mind the store here lately as everyone seems to have disappeared again, but its hard to do!
Aj, Hawkeye is one of "go to" folks for Napa info so pay attention to what he says...
So, I really know more about Sonoma, and that's why I thought you may want to give Armstrong Preserve a try. It may be closed on the day you are going...for that matter it may be closed period, budget cuts in CA being what they've been, so be sure to verify that it will be open before committing to the plan.
If all that works out, there is a very good thread about the route to Armstrong from SFO on trip advisor..I just saw a link to those directions on a current thread over there last night which is what made me think of it for you.
A picnic there would be a great thing...you can pick up supplies at several places along the way.
Then check www.russianrivertravel.com to get a comprehensive list of wineries and businesses in that area, and see what suits you for things to do on the way back across the county and over to Napa. There are quite a few wineries along River Road that may appeal to you, and I believe that if you take River Road across 101 it becomes Mark Springs West Rd and I think that is one of the tamer routes over the mountains to Napa Valley.
Of course if this sounds too complicated, you could always see Sequoia trees in Napa at Sequoia Grove....

IP: 71.65.250.8

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-12-2012 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
Wow Hawkeye- 55yrs of marriage that's fantastic! I can't wait for us to get there. You are a wealth of knowledge---just 1 question: The only vineyard you suggested off of our original list was Burgess...do u think we should scrap the rest?

IP: 173.88.205.18

Hawkeye
Member
posted 04-12-2012 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi aj,
Napa Valley is a great place to spend an anniversary. We have spent the last several of ours there and we will have our 55th this year and will be back again.

Since you are having dinner at Bottega in Yountville, there are several wine tasting rooms within walking distance. Try Cornerstone, Hope & Grace, Jessup, and Girard I believe is open until 7:00 PM so you could make that your last stop and then walk back to Bottega.

The wineries you list below are quite some distance apart and are all over the valley so you might want to consider bunching your wineries by the day. Here are some suggestions and you can change the days around:

First, let me say this, you go to Napa to TASTE wine, not DRINK wine. Normally, they pour less than an ounce in your glass. That does not mean that you have to drink it all. There is nothing wrong with dumping excess wine in the "dump" bucket. Also, some tasters just take a little in their mouth to taste, then spit it in the dump bucket. That way you don't get blotto. Also, carry plenty of water and crackers in your car to drink and eat between wineries. Especially drink plenty of water. Now, I will get off my podium.

Day 1 - Since you are staying in St. Helena.
CHASE FAMILY WINERY. A small family winery specializing in Zinfandel. By appointment. Contact Jeff Blaum on the website and tell him the guy from Tennessee sent you. You will see 100+ year old Zinfandel vines and learn how a small operation works.

ANOMOLY VINEYARDS. Their vineyard almost backs up Chase. This will give you an example of a small vineyard that produces one variety, Cabernet, and wonderful Cab it is. Also by appointment so you will need to go to their website to make an appointment. I find calling works best for me.

KELHAM VINEYARDS. A great tasting experience. You could do lunch here with the platter of meats and cheeses they put out. It is a little expensive though. They have great wines, and they don't release their Cabs for 8 years. Appointment needed.

SALON St. Helena. This is a tasting room in downtown St. Helena which tastes HARRIS and JONES wines. Asa is the host and he is excellent. By appointment.

There are all kinds of others if you need more.

Day 2 - Stags Leap Appellation.

CLIFF LEDE. A great variety of varietals. Web site says you need an appointment, but you don't for a small group.

ROBERT SINSKEY. Same as Cliff Lede

STAG'S LEAP WINE CELLARS. Not to be confused with Stag's Leap Winery. You do need an appointment.

HARTWELL WINERY. By appointment. Limited varietals and a little pricey. Appointment needed.

Several others in Stag's Leap to choose from.

Day 3 - Howell Mountain Appellation. Let's have a little scenery along with wines today. Pick up a picnic to take with you.

BLACK SEARS WINERY. Make an appointment with Chris. Tell him the daylily guy sent you. Excellent Zinfandel and Cab. Good red blend.

OUTPOST WINERY. Good reds. A great place for a picnic with wonderful views. Appointment needed for tasting and picnic.

O'SHAUGHNESSY WINERY. Great Cabs rated 94 and 98 points by wine spectator. A little hard to find, but worth it. Appointment needed.

LADERA VINEYARS. Great mountain reds. Appointment needed.

BURGESS CELLARS. Good variety. Appointment needed.

Now to your question about driving. We always drive on our own and have never had a problem.

Have a great anniversary. Life is very, very good.

-Hawkeye

IP: 68.169.184.68

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-12-2012 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
OOOOO great idea! We're very open to Armstrong Preserve. HHHmmm what kind of wine do we like, honestly what don't we enjoy! I'm actually loving Sangiovese right now, but love a good cab, pinot grigio, chardonay, sauvignon blanc-depends on my mood, so we're pretty open. I'm not big on Syrah. I love champagne, my hubby could take it or leave it.
We'll also have a good chunk of time on our 3rd day-as all we have planned is Tres Sabores & Beneserre.

IP: 173.88.205.18

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-12-2012 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
With such a large block of time to work with, would you be interested in by-passing Muir Woods, which reportedly gets crowded, and heading to Armstrong Redwoods Preserve in the Russian River area of Sonoma County?
This would allow you to see the trees in a more natural setting ( not likely to see busloads of people) and do some cursory exploration of Sonoma County as well.
The Mondavi Signature tour does get great praise from lots of folks, and that would be a nice choice for starting your Napa visit.
Going back to the original plan of Muir Woods, and passing through lower Sonoma county, there sure are some good spots for stopping. What types of wine do you like?
Or, given that this is an anniversary trip, would you like to stop at Gloria Ferrer for a tour and tasting at their sparkling wine facility?

IP: 71.65.250.8

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-12-2012 07:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
For the redwoods we'll be stopping at Muir Woods on our way to Napa.
I was thinking since we have to drive past Sonoma...maybe there are some suggestions of a place to stop there...we'll have about 4 free hrs.
Was also considering the Mondavi Signature...that has been discussed on this board as being a great intro into wine making. So many options, so little time!

[This message has been edited by aj33 (edited 04-12-2012).]

[This message has been edited by aj33 (edited 04-12-2012).]

IP: 173.88.205.18

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-12-2012 05:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
aj, what redwoods are you going to check out??

IP: 71.65.250.8

aj33
Junior Member
posted 04-11-2012 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for aj33     Edit/Delete Message
We will arrive in SF @ 10am on 6/9 -We are staying @ the Wine Country Inn & Gardens in St. Helena. On our drive there we will stop and check out some redwoods, other than that I've made reservations at Bottega for 7:45. Any suggestions of things to do between 1pm-7pm? Day 2 we would like to make our own itenarary of wine tasting. We will have a rental car but have also thought of renting a driver for $35/hr for about 6hrs.Of course that still leaves gratuity and tasting fees. We'd like to see about 5 wineries. Suggestions on whether we should hire a driver or drive ourselves? I've done some research, here are some wineries we're considering:Barnett, Behrens Family,Buehler, Frias, Venge, Burgess, Cartlidge & Browne, and Poaletti Estates?Comments, suggestions, or info on these would be great!Day 3 we know we want to stop @ Tres Sabores and Benessere, but thats all. We need suggestions for lunch/dinner and activities.Thought about some good chocolate and Bounty Hunter's for an evening...thought?We have a total of 3nights/3days, our 4day we will be exploring SF and will depart tuesday night @11:45pm

IP: 173.88.205.18

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