There is a lot of wine at the end… and start… and middle… of that rainbow! J. and I just returned from five days in the Napa Valley, and we loved every minute of it.
Wine-wise, we did a cave tour and tasting at Schramsberg Vineyards, which uses méthode champenoise (the French way of making champagne) to make its line of sparkling wine; a tour of the bottling line at Francis Coppola Winery, which makes our favorite claret; and a great tasting at St. Supéry (so good we shipped a mixed case of wine back home), a winery recommended by an old camp friend of mine. We also spent a day on a Platypus Wine Tour, and our guide Scott took us and four other couples to Ballentine, Tudal, Madrigal, and Summers Estate. By the time we hit the third winery, I’d hit a wall on being able to notice much of a difference in the wines, other than “like” or “don’t like.” Thankfully, J. kept tasting for us both and found a nice muscat that we liked at our final stop.
Everything we ate on this trip was fresh and fantastic. Whether it was grabbing burgers outside at Gott’s Roadside in St. Helena (I had the most moist, flavorful turkey burger ever), or sitting down to a three-hour tasting menu with a wine pairing at the Restaurant at Meadowood (and we got a kitchen tour, and met super-chef Christopher Kostow!), the food almost universally made us murmur through a full mouth, “this is sooo good.” We also had a chance to eat at Redd (foie gras meatballs? yes, please!), Mustards Grill (which has a sign outside apologizing, “Sorry everything is delicious”), Brix (where we drank a cabernet made from the vines we were looking at), Rustic (a side of Asian-style slaw was the real stand out), and Michael Chiarello’s Bottega (“polenta under glass” set my heart aflutter).
Now that we’re back, I’m shell-shocked that there’s no menu to order from at each meal. Wait, I have to plan the meal, cook it, and clean up? I want to go back on vacation.