Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - US Adventure 2009 Napa Valley Edition

1.  We stayed at the Comfort Suites hotel on Sunday night near the Baltimore airport because our flight was at 6:50am!  I booked the flight for 9:something originally, but United changed the time.  I think I am going to complain.  One of the reasons I picked the flight I did was because of the time and then I had to get my baby up at like 4:45 to make a flight - crappy.

2.  Blaise did well on the flight from Baltimore to San Francisco.  He took two naps, which he really needed - see #1.

3.  The flight coast to coast was 5 1/2 hours!  We did see some mountains from the air though, which was cool.

4.  We arrived in SF around 10am local time - another 3 hour time difference, making a total of 9 from Germany!

5.  After getting in to SF, we headed north to Napa.  We are staying at a little house close to downtown Napa - about 30 walking distance which is nice if you are hitting the tasting rooms.  We booked houses or condos for our trip since we figured that will be more comfortable for us all.  It is great to be able to put Blaise to bed and then have the rest of the living space to hang out in.  I never really cared about how nice our accomodations were in the past, but since we are now traveling different with the baby, this was a good deal.  All places also have either a backyard or a patio or some kind of outdoor seating area where we can chill in the evening.  The place we are renting now is the Devita Bungalow.  It is very quaint and quite relaxing.  If any of you plan a trip to Napa in the future I would recommend staying here.

6.  When we arrived we put Blaise down for a nap and my parents and Jan went shopping for provisions.  The kitchen was pretty stocked with things for our use though, which was a nice start.

7.  Once Blaise woke up we loaded up and went to a few wineries to get our feet wet.  We visited Andretti Winery and Clos du Val - both really nice and it was a good start to our trip.

8.  Monday night for dinner Jan grilled steak :)  yum!  We sat outside at the picnic table and enjoyed our food, wine and company.

9.  Tuesday morning we had an appointment at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars at 10:30.  Unfortunately they didn't have record of our reservation and I didn't have any email proof with me.  What is also confusing is that there is a Stag's Leap Winery up the road from them, so they figured we had an appointment there.  We weren't sure ourselves at that point, so we went to check it out and of course didn't have an appointment there either.  The drive back to their winery was beautiful though.  The reason Jan wanted to visit Stag's Leap Wine Cellars was because of their place in history surrounding the Paris Tasting of 1976.  We recently watched an independent film about the Paris Tasting, but it centered around the white tasting and Stag's Leap won the red.  The move is called Bottle Shock and I really recommend checking it out.  It is a feel good movie with some great scenery.  We were able to get a tour appointment for tomorrow morning at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, so we're hoping for some compensation for the mix-up.

10.  At first Jan was pretty disappointed at how our morning was starting out, but we ended up at Frog's Leap and had a great time!  I would very much recommend visiting this winery if you are out in Napa.  I think all wineries charge a tasting fee, for the "normal" wines between $10-$15 for about 5 wines.  At Frog's Leap we paid $15 a person for 4 wines and received some snacks and later a bonus sweet wine.  The setting was amazing!  Instead of just being inside at a tasting room, we sat outside on their large porch on couches where we were able to feed Blaise too.  Our server(?) was really sweet and personable and then we walked around the grounds a bit.  They have free range chickens that we checked out with Blaise and an organic garden.  We also lucked out to watch them bringing in the grapes from their morning harvest and putting them through some machine that picked them off their bunch and smashed them (think I Love Lucy but 2009 style).


11.  We stopped for lunch at a Mexican Market at the recommendation of the people at Frog's Leap.  La Luna was just what we were looking for to bring home lunch while Blaise took a nap.  I think we are going to go back tomorrow and get some Mexican Coke, because I've heard so much about it.  They were waiting on a shipment today - it is supposed to be better because it is made with real can sugar and not a syrup.  I'll let you know.

12.  We visited the tasting room of Gustavo Thrace  this afternoon because he is also a character in the movie Bottle Shock.  They have a very small operation and only buy their grapes from other wineries.  We tasted 3 wines (for free) and they were the best ones I've had since we got here.  Very good - we drank the sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and petit syrah.  We bought a bottle of the petit syrah which we are going to have to drink at some point before Thursday morning when we leave.  If you are looking for something new to try, give Gustavo Thrace a shot - let me know if you like it (or if you don't)!

PS:  If you missed the pictures from yesterday, go back and check them out, I added them later.

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