To say that my husband and I never get the chance to ‘get away’ would be the understatement of the year. We have had only one honest vacation, which had to include our dogs. This is mostly because of time and money constraints, but also because of our dogs. When my in-laws invited us on a law school graduation celebratory trip, I knew the dog situation was the only thing stopping us. Luckily, my mom offered to take them for a few days and the whole arrangement worked out perfectly, they were very good boys!
I love living in what is pretty much the center of everything great in California (and far away from LA, thank God). Napa is only an hour away, which is nice considering people come from all over the world to experience its wineries.
We arrived without incident Friday night. Went to a fantastic little Italian restaurant for dinner, Ca’ Momi, whose menu stated, “Out of respect for history & our grandmas, we respectfully decline requests for substitutions & modifications” which I just love. The food was great, though I might have survived on just the antipasti and cannolis…
The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel (which had resident swans!) and was my only attempt of the weekend to eat healthily. Our first tasting started at 10:00 a.m. so we were on our way pretty early.
The first winery we visited, Spring Mountain, is hard to put into words. It was just perfect? Their wine is on a whole different level than anything I’ve ever tasted at a winery. The whole experience is very VIP and educational while being unassuming and unpretentious. I found myself sitting there thinking every business should be run like this: all customers welcomed as important clients while removing high pressure sales tactics. The product speaks for itself. The grounds were gorgeous. We were invited to do our tasting in the house, which was basically a private, perfectly preserved Crocker Art Museum. We tasted four cabs, a regular 2010 and 2001 and then two of Elivette line, 2008 and 2005, which basically means Reserve to Spring Mountain. Their reasoning? Most wineries slap the Reserve label on anything just to charge more. Spring Mountain’s is actually superior. Or so we were told. I agreed, the Elivettes were delicious. We took home a 2008.
After the indoor tasting, we wandered the property with a glass of our choice of cab. They had donkeys and a sheep and a fig tree to feed them from. Barn (winery?) kittens galore. the majority of their vines are planted on a hill for soil science-y reasons, but the perspective would be a good enough reason for me.
The next winery, Honig, did not deserve to come after Spring Mountain. It had a cute little patio and I really enjoyed the big bumblebee sign - Honig means honey in German. The wine was… not great. It was a table tasting, was cold out and the patio offered little protection from the wind. There was no heaters. It was misting. They did bring out an interesting white wine type port which tasted like straight honey mixed with vodka. Woof. The sales person told us that customers have told him they could drink half a bottle in a night. I wondered how their diabetes was, though he also mentioned it could be used as a syrup on fried chicken which could definitely be interesting. At least the buildings featured my coveted Napa farmhouse style. Regardless, I would not recommend a trip to Honig.
The last winery we visited was Frog’s Leap. They’re worth a visit if just to walk the grounds and the garden. Their wine was pretty good considering the price, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere and set up of the tasting. There was a walk up bar where you get your ‘taste’ and from there you can basically adventure all over the property or hang out on the lawn in Adirondack chairs. A very no rush feeling to it all. I quite enjoyed it.
After our nap (of course), we had reservations at R+D Kitchen. I had meatloaf. It was amazing. No drinks, thankfully. We left early the next morning, stopped at Solano Baking Company for some famous pecan fritters and made great time getting home to our pups.
Thanks again to my husband’s wonderful parents and to my mom for puppy-sitting.