We’re home!  And even though I’m absolutely exhausted, I know that if I don’t get it all out now, it’s never happening.  So please, bear with me as I drag you on a mini-version of our trip to Napa.

Our accommodations.  Nestled just slightly north of Downtown Napa and just slightly south of Yountville.

No. 2 at the cottages

Just call it a luxury shanty.

While we never got around to using the fire pit, we definitely enjoyed the private patio, the en suite jacuzzi tub and the daily breakfast basket.  My waistline may never forgive me for the ridiculous number of scones and pecan rolls I consumed, but I have never seen that much caramel or maple drizzle at breakfast.


I’m also trying to come to terms with the fact that I will never eat a pecan roll that tastes like that again in my entire natural life.

It’s a real process.  I’m already planning on spending a longer-than-average period of time in denial.

If you couldn’t tell from this post, we didn’t actually plan any of our trip beyond lodging and the one Groupon I purchased for a winery tour/tasting that we did on our first day while we got our bearings.

So as we roamed from vineyard to vineyard, and in and out of tasting rooms, we gathered more suggestions and recommendations than we knew what to do with!  Knowing what I know now, I would do it all over again that way in a heartbeat.

There were no expectations.  Only adventures.

Chimney Rock

Amongst the other things we didn’t know about Napa before we went:

  1. Their primary grape is Cabernet Sauvignon.
  2. Beringer and Beaulieu Vineyard were the wineries that survived Prohibition by (and this is hysterical) making the sacramental wine for the Catholic Church.
  3. The Stag’s Leap 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon is what put American wine on the map after it won a blind tasting in Paris in 1976.

Oh, and also?  January is their super-off season.  So we spent the majority of our trip alone in tasting rooms.  Which was actually pretty incredible, because we would get tours we didn’t ask for, more extra tastings than we knew what to do with and people would chat with us and answer our questions until we were exhausted.  It was like our own personal, wine-laden playground.

We ate.

Yes, of course besides breakfast.

Though when I try to think about enjoying a specific meal, I am greeted by the whole instead of each of the parts.

I made a list of all of the places we hit in order of most delicious and wonderful to least delicious and wonderful.  And yes, I realize that a taco I ate over my lap in the rental car does not operate on the same plane as watching the sun set over the pines with a glass of wine in-hand from the top of a mountain.  Which is to say, that nothing we ate was actually bad.  And had we actually eaten more than the world’s most expensive french fries, we could have ranked some places on feast-quality rather than on ambience alone.

For reference, see Exhibit A.

La Luna Market y Taqueria

I know.  I KNOW.

Anyway, that list I was promising.

  • Tortilleria y Taqueria Jalisco
  • La Luna Market and Taqueria
  • Giugni’s
  • Auberge du Soleil (hands-down one of the most beautiful views I have EVER seen.  Thank you for sharing this one, Lauren!)
  • Oxbow Public Market (Kitchen Door, Pica Pica Bar, C Casa)
  • Mustard’s Grill
  • Gott’s Roadside
  • Oenotri

We managed to visit three of the seven restaurants on the bon appetit Must Do in Napa list and ironically the Kitchen Door at Oxbow (we did the Armenian Fold + Eat Flatbread) was the best food we ate on that list.

I still can’t figure that one out.  But it was fantastic and unlike anything I had ever eaten before.

And finally, the vineyards/wineries/tasting rooms.  Because obviously, that’s why we went to wine country in the first place.  Our concierge told us that most people try to do three tastings a day.  Which Marcus and I found to be absolutely hilarious.  So we channeled our younger selves and Went Big.  Which, as it turns out, is the difference between doing 12 tastings and doing 22.

Hendry Ranch

Yes, seriously.

Like I said before, we never had to fight for attention anywhere, so even when it was mediocre, it was still a pretty spectacular version of “average.”

St. Clement

Must Go

  • Hendry Ranch (Erin, you were not kidding about this place!)
  • Elyse (Sally, you get a Gold Star for suggesting this tasting)
  • Praeger’s Port Works
  • St. Clement (sourced via Molly)
  • Baldacci
  • Chimney Rock
  • Stag’s Leap
  • Rutherford Hill

They Weren’t Life Changing

  • Domaine Chandon (but these were the sparkles we had time for)
  • Cakebread
  • Elizabeth Spencer (they did have a gorgeous garden and hospitality tent out back though)
  • Louis Martini
  • Beringer
  • Chateau St. Jean (a great place to start the trip with a Groupon, but not profoundly memorable)
  • Regusci
  • Provenance

Cheap/Give Out Coupons

  • August Briggs
  • Sutter Home
  • Folie a Deux
  • BV
  • V. Sattui (the girl we were working with looked like Fake Katy Perry and she was hysterical)
  • Cosentino

And, as the cherry on top of the cake, this weekend was an unseasonably warm one for the Northern California winter.  So we enjoyed temperatures that hovered around 70 without a cloud in the sky.  It was the closest thing possible to heaven.

What was the best part of your weekend?  Did you watch a Real Housewives marathon?  Go skiing?  Action some gorgeous treats?


13 responses to “Napa.

  1. Have never been to Napa and would probably embarrass myself with my lack of wine knowledge, but I bet I would still have fun 🙂

    We spent most of the weekend at a local hotel, where yesterday we hosted 6 kids (in addition to my 2) for my daughter’s 6th birthday party. We ate pizza and cupcakes and the kids made a gigantic mess. Also, pay per view wasn’t working and we were supposed to watch a movie, so the girls entertained themselves extensively while my husband and I tried (unsuccessfully) to figure out a way to play a movie from my computer on the TV. It didn’t turn out as planned, but my daughter said she had fun, so I will call it a success.

  2. It sounds like the absolute, perfect weekend. I LOVE this.

  3. Sounds like you had a great trip! We also enjoyed the unseasonably warm California winter today and went to Sea World. Not quite as impressive as it was when I was little, but we did get to see lots of cool animals. And I’ve got a loaf of banana bread in the oven right now. An excellent weekend was had by all!

  4. Oh my goodness, how lovely! It looks spectacular. Napa is someplace I’ve always wanted to go. And I’m so glad you got to enjoy the nice weather. I am so over this winter and ready for spring!

  5. I worked on Saturday and took yesterday off to just chill out – I ate sushi for lunch, took a 4 hour nap and had a cranberry margarita for dinner.

  6. What a fantastic sounding trip! Such lovely sights, from what your pictures have shown.
    I ran, I homeworked, I socialized. Pretty relaxed.

  7. I am dying to go to Napa! I can’t believe I’ve lived in California and my whole life and have never been. I really want to do a big wine tasting trip. Have you ever heard of Solvang? It’s somewhere around Santa Barbara and I’ve been a few times as a kid, but I want to go back and drink now. It’s a really cute town.

  8. I can’t believe you were so close to me and didn’t come visit! But Napa is way better than LA so I really don’t blame you. Napa is gorgeous and the food is great – can’t say I’ve indulged in pecan rolls before but that’s definitely on my list the next time I head up there.

  9. I’m absolutely elated to see you went to Hendry! I’m glad it lived up to the description. Ooo, too fun!

    Also, Tacos look delicious! and going during the slow season sounds like an excellent idea.

  10. Yay! I am stoked that you had a fabulous trip!

    This weekend I definitely hit the slopes! We’re finally getting snow here in Colorado. Hip-Hip-Hooray!

  11. Sounds like an amazing trip! Question – do you know Molly at Thirtieth Avenue? Because if you do – SMALL WORLD! She is a friend of mine as well! I actually recognized the picture of the porch and then I saw you linked to her – crazy! Glad you and Marcus had a great time – can’t wait to have our fun evening with all the runners and the support group for our husbands!

  12. Fact: anyplace with the name Taqueria in the title will get me in the door. Sounds like you had a fantastic weekend! We skied as much as possible, since Jack Frost is a bit moody and keeps melting the snow, we took full advantage.

  13. So glad you liked Elyse Winery! And now you know why E and D spell my granddaughter’s name with the ‘y!’

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