Friday, May 05, 2006

Our Visit to the Holy Land

aka, Napa Valley.

Before anyone calls me heretic let me just say everyone has their own way of talking to God and their own way of praying. Mine just happens to involve wine, good times and pretty places.

On our first day in Napa we went black tie Taxi bus and our driver was Otello.
On the bus was Uncle Bob and Maryann, Bubbles and Poppy, Meme, Pat, baby Pat, Uncle Don, Eileen and of course, Ryan and I.
Our first stop was Andretti. I was as unimpressed by the wine as I am by car racing. But it was still pretty. Of course everything in Napa is beautiful. And , regardless, I tasted all the tastings that were poured in my glass. It wasn't even noon and already I was getting silly.

Next on our pilgrimage was Mecca.
Domain Chandon has been a mainstay at all of our celebrations: at our wedding we toasted with White Star and we had so much (thank you Uncle John for the generous gift) left over we toasted all year. Then we toasted at Carmella's birth, Christmas's, Easter's, New Years, 1st birthdays and 30th birthdays and then Beau's birth and we still continue to toast and sometimes roast with Chandon whatever the vintage, whatever the occasion. So really, for me, there is no holier place than Chandon. It is holy water.
Here is me and Meme worshipping at the shrine.

It is a beautiful vineyard. It even smelled divine. The champagne was delicious and I really didn't want to leave.
All I can say is if you go to Napa, don't skip over Chandon. We did buy a special bottle to take home and I can't wait for the occasion to drink it. Maybe my upcoming 35th birthday or maybe our 7 year anniversary?

After leaving Chandon we stopped at Sunshine foods and picked up some yummy edibles and headed for our next winery. By this point I am pretty well beyond silly, sitting in the back of the bus with Uncle Bob and Uncle Don asking them 20 gazillion questions, talking about nothing. What can I say? I'm a talker and despite my regular wine consumption I am still and always will be a light weight.

We stopped at the Reverie winery for lunch. This is an awesome winery with very good wine. I am not much of a red person but we did buy a bottle here as it was excellent. Not to mention they have a couple of hotties employed here to peddle the wine so even if the wine hadn't been good there was still yummy eye candy to be had-- well, for the women, and I suppose, the men too-- depending which way you swing.

I would add this to a definite stopping point of any tour of Napa. They store their wine in a man-made cave--so cool cave effect but not creepy like real caves-- and as you can see from the picture you can have a picinic here. This is ideal on rainy day such as we had. Also, their label, at least what we bought, is called A.S. Kiken, that's right Ass Kick'n wine. Don't ask me why because I 1) did not take notes, 2) was busy staring/not listening to hottie during his tutorial and 3) I was already past my usual limit.

After Reverie I am unclear of the exact order of the next wineries but we visited Ehlers, Merryvale, and Markam--the rock-n-roll winery.
At Ehlers there was a dog named Riley and Bocce ball. I really think Otello took us here so that he could work on his game. I even tossed a ball. It seems like a fun game. Maybe I'll have Ryan put one in the backyard. I think it would be a great addition to Beaupalooza III.

This is the whole group in front of Merryvale.

We had dinner at the Rutherford Grill and 4 of us ate the most expensive ribs in the whole world but they were damn good. So if ever in Napa and you want ribs go to Rutherford Grill.

The next day we did much of the same but we drove ourselves. We tasted my favorite wine at Cakebread. The winery wasn't all that much to look at but I guess with wine that good you don't have to do a lot to try and sell it. We brought a bottle back for my mom and her eyes about popped out of her head. The reserve chardonnay is amazing and they told us you can't buy it in stores. I am hoping when she pops that bottle she invites me over for a glass (hint hint).

We also visited:
Plumpjack It was fun and quirky and the wine was good but mostly reds and like I said, I don't drink a lot of red so I passed on buying. Plus, what I liked was a bit pricey.

We stopped and lunched at Cuvasion. Again we got lunch at Sunshine Foods. I think Poppy bought some wine from here and we drank it at lunch. It was very good too.

Close Pegase.
I really wasn't impressed by the wine here but it is definitely worth the visit if you like art. They have some amazing pieces.This sculpture is by Henry Moore.

The building and the landscaping were equally impressive.

I don't know who did the Thumb sculpture but it did seem familiar to me. I was drawn to it because I have always likened my body shape to that of a thumb. I am not a pear. I am not an apple. I am a thumb. I have actually been told this. Notice the similarities?

Peju had amazing gardens, grounds and a beautiful tasting building.
This was the last vineyard we visited in Napa.

I felt like I was in the room of a castle.

I think this should be Meme's and Pat's Christmas picture.

After our tour of the wineries we sucked it up for an adult evening out in downtown Napa. We had dinner at Celadon and then danced at Joe's.
Our evening was cut short because Pat decided that he had the Natalie Holloway case all figured out and we must leave immediately as Meme and I were in great danger. It had something to do with the bartender ringing a bell and the free shots that someone bought Meme and I. It was a weird scene but nothing dire.

So, I think we had a fun trip. Since being back I do get the shakes around 1pm because I no longer start drinking before noon. It has been a tough adjustment but I'll manage.


  1. eI'm so jealous of your trip to wine country! It sounds like such a fun place.

    I don't think you look like a thumb - the only other thing that comes to mind is laffy taffy (if it is warm and bendy) but that isn't very descriptive either.

  2. I am so jealous. Brought me immediately back to our trip down the Pacific coast. If you want to recreate the trips some afternoon, give me a call. Afternoon wine buzz = the good stuff.