Friday, October 2, 2009

Goodbye Napa!

Wednesday was our last full day in Napa.  We got up and headed for Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and took their tour and tasted their Estate wines.  They are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon and it was clear as to why.  The compensated us for the mix-up the day before by letting us taste a few wines before the tour - better than nothing I guess. 

Private tasting with a view - this is on our list for next time!

From there we went to Rubicon Estate which is owned by Francis Ford Coppola, (after stopping at La Luna again for lunch - no mexican coke).  :)  I remember when we had their wine for the first time, it was a few years ago in Denver when we were out to dinner with Michelle K and my parents.  We had the Cabernet Sauvignon and either the Syrah or the Merlot, I can't remember, but either way, I was really impressed.  The winery is the most beautiful one we visited and of the ones we saw, I would recommend this as the number one place to go back to.  We opted out of the tour because we were hoping to get home for Blaise to sleep in the late afternoon, so Jan ordered some wine by the glass and we sat outside and did our own tasting.  In the meantime, my Mom took Blaise for a walk and got him to sleep!  This was monumental and meant we had time to try a couple more wines.  I have always turned my nose up to the Zinfandel, but I really enjoyed theirs and even the Syrah which I am usually disappointed in compared to the Australian Shiraz was quite yummy.  I think the highlight of the day was trying the Rubicon Estate for $30 - a GLASS!

Lunch at La Luna

Rubicon Estate

We are sitting in the distance

Blaise after he rejoined us after his nap

Since Blaise had taken a little nap that meant we were free to explore a little more in the afternoon.  We decided to try and find Orin Swift's tasting room in St. Helena.  We drove up to St. Helena and it was a gorgeous little town, MUCH nicer than the town of Napa, though I think Napa has more tasting rooms.  Napa had so many empty shops it really looked like it had been hit hard by the economic turndown.  St. Helena on the other hand was booming.  Unforunately the Orin Swift tasting room was closed for the day and as it turned out they only did tastings by appointment only anyway, but we were really glad we made it up there since the downtown was so lively.  We bought some wine and a shipping box so that we could check it on our way to Hawaii.  We only brought 4 wines with us, but since things are so expensive in Hawaii and we weren't sure what kind of selection we would find it was better than nothing.  Jan got the Chardonnay which won the 1976 Paris Tasting from Chateau Montelena which we are looking forward to trying - of course it is a different vintage.  We also bought some homemade chocolate from Woodhouse Chocolates, we got the Helenas which were very yummy and were something new for use since they had salt on top!  The salt really contrasted nicely with the chocolate though.

Downtown St. Helena

We headed home and Jan through some brats on the grill and we finished an open bottle of wine while my Dad drank a beer - I think he was getting a little wined-out, although he seemed to really enjoy the tastings and is partial to the Cabernet Sauvignons  that we tried.  Since it had been cool the night before the owner of the house where we were staying dropped off some coffee logs for the fireplace.  The coffee logs are made of recycled coffee grounds so they are better for the environment.  We were hoping they'd smell like coffee too, but unforunately not.  They did make nice cracking noises, but you miss out on the wood smell too.  It was refreshing change after being at the B&B in Maryalnd that the house in Napa was so environmentally friendly - the garden was organic and you could tell that the owners did their best to not harm the environment.

Grill Chef

Dinner outside

We got up early on Thursday morning, packed up, waited for Blaise to wake up from his morning nap and headed south back to San Francisco.  On the way back we took an alternate route through Sonoma and it was beautiful scenery!!  This way we were also able to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge which was pretty impressive.

All in all we had a great time in Napa Valley and although it was a short trip, it was a great teaser and I'm pretty sure we'll be back :)

Blaise is awake from his nap right now, so we're going to hit Waikiki, look for pictures added to this post later today or tomorrow.

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