We woke up Sunday morning without much of a plan for the day, thinking we might go drive to some wineries and then maybe just head home. But the bf started thinking and got us heading out the door with a crazy itinerary in hand.
We started the day back at the oxbow public market to buy the cheese from the night before and to see if there was anything else we needed/wanted. We bought the cheese, then came across the chocolate vendor who makes the Ceja chocolate wine sauce. We had wanted to get something for Trish (the awesome pourer at Mason) and thought a cute little bottle of wine chocolate sauce would be great. She was so excited to see us again, and loved the gift!
We then said goodbye to downtown Napa and headed north to hit a few wineries, the first was Frank Family. The bf had some of this wine at the Pasadena wine festival and that was our main reason for visiting. The place wasn't super friendly or personal, you had to pay as soon as you walk in and then you go to different stations for each type of wine. We split the reserve tasting since I wanted to try the sparkling wines and he wanted the reserve reds. The sparkling wines left much to be desired (and were pretty expensive) so we moved onto the reds. The reds were good, but it was in a very small room with lots of people and only one pourer crammed into the corner. A weird experience after all the fun downtown rooms we tasted in the previous day. Off to our next stop, Chateau Montelena!
For those of you who don't know, Chateau Montelena pretty much put Napa on the map in the 1970s. I highly recommend the movie Bottle Shock for a quick and fun history lesson (if you remember, we also tried the wine from another winery featured in the movie, Gustavo Thrace, the previous day). We were a little concerned that the tasting would be similar to Frank Family and not very personal, luckily we were wrong!
The grounds and building were gorgeous, see above, and we decided if it looked too crowded inside we could leave. Pretty soon after we walked in someone motioned us to head to a back room where they had more tasting areas and we had a pourer just for us! The tasting fee was expensive ($20) but we split it and felt like we got our money's worth since we got to try bottles that sold for $150. The wine was great but mostly out of our price range although we did walk out of there with a copy of Bottle Shock signed by Bo Barrett!
Now for the real adventure we headed to the next valley over, Sonoma. The last time we went wine tasting in Sonoma we LOVED it, and we realized it wasn't too far out of the way and we could get back home just as easy as if we had stayed in the Napa valley. First pit stop was at the Dry Creek General Store for some lunch. The sandwiches here are wonderful but the wait can be long, in the end it was worth it and we enjoyed our sandwiches.
The next stop was Dry Creek Olive Oil since the bf is a member of their club. We got to try all the current releases they have and since he gets a 20% discount we bought a bottle of some cara cara orange infused olive oil that wasn't part of the shipment he got. The person there recommended we drizzle it over goat cheese which we have since done and it was delicious! The bf also wanted to get a new shirt since his was lost in the great flood of 2010/2011 (a pipe burst in his wall). When they couldn't find a shirt in his size they gave him the size bigger for free!
The last stop was our favorite winery from our last trip, Hook and Ladder. I was a little worried that we were thinking too highly of it since it was one of our last stops last time. It lived up to all our expectations, and since we liked it so much we decided to join their wine club (it's the first one we joined so its kind of a big deal). We bought three bottles, got a cute reusable carrying case (that we were told fits two bottles and two wine glasses) and were on our way home.
That concluded our Napa adventure, glad I finally got it all written (only 4 weeks late :)