Sunday, July 7, 2013

Napa Weekend

franciscan winery
Franciscan Winery in St. Helena
Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. Matt and I had a great time at a work picnic and later at the Marin County Fair. It was unseasonably hot here though so it was a a little exhausting. On Saturday we spent the day in Napa Valley. I love wine and I'm very interested in learning more about it so we planned an entire day in the area to see a few different wineries. Instead of writing multiple blog posts for each place we went I decided to create a timeline of the day. So far Napa has been one of my favorite places we've gone. If I could choose anywhere to live in the USA, it would be there.

tasting room at franciscan

11:30am Franciscan Winery Tour and Tasting
 We started off the day at Franciscan Estate Winery. We had an hour long tour with another couple that started with an educational tour about the wine-making process and then we went on to a tasting. During the tour we even got to taste some unripe grapes off the vine. The tasting was very neat. Our guide explained each of the 5 wines in depth. He also taught us the basics of smelling and tasting wine. After each wine, we talked about the tannins, the nose, the vintage, and whether we liked it or not.
I liked that it was a small group. They also gave us worksheets to fill out so we could remember what we liked. I think its so interesting how wine can taste/smell so differently to different people. Out of the five wines we tried, my favorite was the wild yeast fermented  Cuvee Sauvage Chardonnay. To be fair, I'd had it before :)

1:00pm Tra Vigne Pizzeria 
ducati pizza at tra vigne pizzeria

For lunch we stopped at Tra Vigne Pizzeria in St. Helena. Tra Vigne is a nice Italian restaurant in the area, but because we are on a budget we hit up the pizzeria and received incredible food. It was a nice 78 degrees outside so we sat out on their patio which is surrounded by beautiful green plants and vines. Matt and I shared the Ducati Pizza which was basically a spicy meatlovers. It had capicola, spicy italian sausage, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes on authentic Neopolitan crust. After my summer in Italy, finding "good" pizza has been hard and this was just the what I've been looking for. Their Piadine (salads on flatbreads) looked really good too.

2:00pm Markham Vineyards
We took a quick detour to Markham Vineyards on the way to our next stop. Matt and I split one of their tastings and enjoyed it! One of my favorite parts about Napa is the people. Everyone there has a unique story, but they are all brought together by a love of wine. We talked to some great people here.

3:00pm Stop at a Friend's House
We met up with some new friends for a drink! They had some great recommendations for the area that I hope to come back for.

5:00pm Dean & Deluca 
dean & deluca food store

If there's such a thing as food heaven it is probably here. This upscale grocery store has every delicious thing I've ever wanted and more. We picked up a light dinner here of fruit, cheese, and some prepared salads. They have an awesome wine section and everything prepared is from premium ingredients. Matt chose a potato salad and I got a caprese salad with lemon zest. They have tons of great chocolate, pastries, gelato, meats, fruit, veggies, ect. Everything was just beautiful. I only wish I could actually afford it.

6:00pm Concert at Robert Mondavi Winery
Matt and I arrived with our nice salads to Mondavi for a Lifehouse concert. We had general admission seats so we set up our beach chairs on the beautiful lawn for the concert.
Mondavi Winery concert
We started the night with a bottle of the Mondavi Chardonnay which conveniently came with an ice bucket and vino to go cups. It was perfect with our salads. We also enjoyed some chocolate treats from Vintage Sweet Shoppe.
Lee Dewyze opened and both him and Lifehouse did an incredible job. They both did a lot of acoustic music which was perfect for the venue. If you have a chance to see anyone from their Summer Concert series I highly recommend it.
Tip: Bring beach chairs and a light blanket/jacket. It gets cool at night!
I also picked up the Annie and Magrit Cookbook. I'll let you know when I try some of their recipes :)

concert at Mondavi Winery
It was a fantastic weekend in Napa and I'm hoping to go back at least once before I leave! 

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