Annie, Dion, and Jason came to visit SF, so we decided to do a day trip up to Napa Valley with Anji and Sherwin! It was a pleasant hour and a half drive up to the area from San Francisco, and we made sure to fill our tummies with some classy In-N-Out burgers before we started sipping wine.
First stop: Castello di Amorosa
4045 St Helena Hwy
Calistoga, CA 94515
As the name implies, this winery is also a beautiful castle with multiple levels, surrounding greenery, and lots of weekend tourists. We opted for the Premium Wine Tasting, which came with five wines and general admission to the castle.
I’m still working on my wine palate, so I’m not going to write about the different notes and hints of [insert plant name here] until I get a little more experienced. I do have to say that the La Fantasia dessert wine was my favorite, and the winery told us that it’s also known as the “Baby Maker.” The others definitely agreed— a quote from later in the day:
DION: I think Jason wants to drink La Fantasia tonight… (His birthday!)
ANNIE: Oh man, that’s stuff is so good; Sherwin calls that one the baby maker
SHERWIN: Yeah, we could drink that all night long
ANNIE: Sherwin is it a bit a early for that
This winery was also dog-friendly, so Anji and Sherwin’s dog, Evie, joined us for the trip!
Second stop: Beringer Vineyards
2000 Main St
St Helena, CA 94574
Next up was our Taste of Beringer Tour, where we got a tour of the absolutely gorgeous vineyard while learning about the process of winemaking and the history of the area. Then we sat down to a few wine and food pairings, and our tour guide instructed us the “proper” way to sniff and inspect wine before letting it trickle down our throats.
We tasted a 2013 Private Reserve Chardonnay paired with Salt Roasted Beets and Lemon Ricotta (left), and then a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Ewe Sheep’s Milk Cheese (middle), and then a 2010 Nightingale Dessert Wine paired with Ginger Cake and Orange Marmalade (right). The wines were great, but the cheese might have been even better than the wine.
“I realized that I really like sweet wines, so maybe I should just get the grape juice,” Jason said at some point during this tasting.
Last stop: Market Restaurant
1347 Main St
St Helena, CA 94574
For dinner, we went to a very quaint nearby city whose Main St was populated with adorable shops and restaurants. We didn’t drink any wine with our dinner, and stuck with just eating food. “I really want to drink a red wine, but then it’d be a $50 dollar dinner,” as Sherwin explained.
Jason got the Ahi Two Ways:
I tried the Grilled Swordfish, which came on a small bed of orzo, and was the perfect size for dinner:
Anji tried the special, which was a lightly fried soft shell crab:
Dion tried the Rosie Organic Chicken Breast, which came with marble potatoes and a side of vegetables:
Lastly, Annie tried the Organic Fried Chicken, which came plated with an incredible amount of food, including cornbread, mashed potatoes, and sautéed spinach.
All in all, it was a wonderful day in Napa Valley. Lots of delicious food and drink, and I hope to be back again soon!