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Napa Trip Report

jthorn1227 | Apr 22, 2012 03:00 PM

So - I did lots of research before we went on this trip. Got some good advice/not so good advice. Here is our report...

Flew into Santa Rosa airport -- I HIGHLY recommend this if possible. Tiny airport, efficient and no traffic to Napa!
Russian river brewery - my husband loves this place. We got some snacky bar food for lunch. But you don't go for the food you go for the beer.
Lagunitas brewery - very cool outdoor patio! Apparently they do live music some times. I didn't have anything here, but my husband loves the beer

Stayed at Carneros Inn. I freaking love this place. It might be the best place I have ever stayed at. We had a harvest cottage with an outdoor fireplace, dining area and TUB! The pool rocked. We got cocktails there in the afternoon. Great views. Great service. Will definitely go back (but might be awhile until we can afford it!)

FARM restaurant - a no-brainer since we stayed at the Inn. Great food, great service, great cocktails. Would definitely go back.

Full day 1
Smith-Madrone - an interesting drive up to Spring Mountain. We got there too early and were shooed away for 15 minutes. Wouldn't have bothered me except we had only planned to be there an hour. Good wine. Charles is an interesting guy. Bought all 3 wines - riesling, cab, chardonnay.

Pride - I have to say I feel like we were led astray here. Big winery, wine not so good but pricey. The views were gorgeous but I think that is why they get away with not-so-good expensive wine. We did the tour and the people that were on the tour with us were absolutely obnoxious. Lots of bragging about "big name" wineries they were going to. Blah blah blah. Who cares. We had a picnic here that was lovely. The only wine we bought was for the picnic and we only drank about 1/3 of it.

Schramsberg - loved it! Great tour. Nice to have bubbly to mix it up. After going through the cave you do a very nice seated tasting. Which is also nice after standing all day. I highly recommend this. Bought 4 bottles of bubbly!

Robert Sinsky - they were closing for a private event so only got to taste a few. Cab franc was great. I bought a pinot blanc and a white blend.

We spent the afternoon hanging out at the pool!!

Dinner @ La Toque - ok this totally sucked. I was pretty excited about going here but based on some reviews I knew I was taking a risk. The food was actully very tasty. SERVICE SUCKED. And if there is one thing I can't stand it is BAD SERVICE! We started off with some cocktails which were tasty and then I wanted to talk to the sommelier about a bottle pairing for dinner. She seemed very annoyed we were doing the wine pairings on the menu. I tried to talk her up and tell her what we liked and I think she just picked the easiest pairing she could think of. No creativity. We waited for at least 20 minutes between course 1 and 2. And even longer for dessert. I was going to have a glass of dessert wine but noone came over to ask - so I skipped it. We complained. We got a comp glass of port. Who-hoo. But what really pissed my off was that they "for my convenience" added an 18% service charge so no need to tip. WTF! He should've taken that off! I think they are taking advantage of the fact that they are a hotel restaurant. They don't perform more than an average hotel restaurant. I was wildly disappointed and will never be back.

Day Two
Artesa - went here after our waiter from FARM recommended it. Can't beat the location. They have a large patio with tables. Nice guy did our pouring. We did 1 reserve and 1 regular tasting. Left with a merlot and an albarino. It was crowded. Probably wouldn't go back, but I was glad we went.

Etude - Loved this place!!! Great pinots and whites. We spent some big bucks here. ;) Bought a pinot, chardonnay, pinot blanc and cabernet. We love Soter's wines from Oregon - so this was a natural. Would recommend it and would go back. Would even consider becoming a wine club member!

Lunch @ Bounty Hunter in downtown napa. Good food. But boy did my tummy hurt later... :) We got a zin with lunch which was probably a mistake given that it was 16.4% alcohol!

Jarvis - great tour. Nice sit down tasting. Would recommend this one as well. Left with a red blend.

Domaine Carneros - only went here because the weather was beautiful and thought it might be fun to have a glass of bubbly on their patio. Apparently everyone else in the Napa Valley had the same idea! Fun way to end the day.

More hanging out at the pool.

Room service near the outdoor fire on the patio with our own wine.

Day 3 - had to go home :(

All in all it was fun!! There are so many more places to go/things to see/wine to drink/and places to eat! We will be back.

Thanks for all the help!

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