Monday, December 19, 2011

Wine Country - Part 1

One place that I hope to go back to at least every 5 years is Napa Valley. There are so many lovely vineyards and wine tours that you could spend a few full weeks there and still not try everything. On our San Francisco trip, Dan, Marissa, Ryan and I decided that we would hit up a few vineyards each day. And since we were only there 2 full days- we were going to make sure and enjoy each and every moment.

The morning of our first day in Napa Valley we drove from San Fran, stopped at McDonald's to grab breakfast (classy eh?) and we were on our way. We're glad we filled our stomachs, because our first wine tasting was at 10:45 a.m. We stopped at Rombauer Vineyards first and tasted the best and most buttery chardonnay ever. We were so giddy with excitement because we were finally in Napa Valley. One of the best parts about Rombauer was the gardens that we were able to have a tour of as well. The garden was FULL of gorgeous colors and a beautiful view of the valley. We even got a private tour of a fantastic view by one of the nicest landscapers on duty that day. We sat and enjoyed for a good 1/2 hour before we were on to our next appointment.

Dan and Marissa enjoying a red wine selection

Enjoying mine as well as Ryan chats up the manager!

One of the beautiful flowers in the Rombauer Garden

Our next tasting was at none other than Sterling Vineyards. You ride a gondola to the top of the hill where the vineyard tour begins. This way you get to take in the breathtaking views from high above wine country, and it is magnificent. Sterling's visit was a phased approach with a certain station at each part of our tour. You would have a Chardonnay on the 1st leg, a Shiraz and Merlot at the next, a Riesling followed that. By the time we got to the porch on the 2nd story, we were feeling pretty good, and took the time to enjoy the view, take some silly pictures and just rest in the sunshine. Tipsy?... maybe a little bit. Marissa and I even found typos in some of the marble signage that runs along the property edge.

Ryan and I getting ready to jump in our gondola!

The four of us at our 1st stop at Sterling

Taking in the gorgeous view from the top

And having a little fun as well

By the time our tour of Sterling was over, we were whisked up into their visiting area for one final tasting. This is where we were able to sit and enjoy some downtime, and...sober up a bit. :)

Dan proceed to check his email on his phone and found that he had quite a few e-mails to respond to when the day was done.

One of the best parts about Napa Valley was the time in between tastings and dinner. Since all of the vineyards close at approximately the same time (about 3:30 or 4:00) you must get in all of your visits before dinner. Since we didn't want to eat a 4:00 dinner, we would go back to our hotel and all nap for a good 1-2 hours before heading out for the night and grabbing dinner to re-fuel for the next day. It was such a wonderful little schedule we had going.

We dined at Mustard's Grill that evening. Where most of us picked something other than wine for our choice of drink. The food was fabulous, and afterward we were able to walk around the garden where they grew most of their herbs and vegetables for their dishes.

Marissa and I also made Dan and Ryan pose just like the front sculpture as well. It didn't take much to coerce them.

Day 1 in Napa Valley was a HUGE SUCCESS! And we had such a great time- after grabbing a drink at a bar in downtown Napa- we were ready to hit the hay and gear up for Day 2 in the Valley.

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