Napa and me.

Banner year, milestone year, breakthrough year, 1st trip to Napa, 1st wine tasting, 1st vineyard tour.

I’m quite satisfied that I waited till 50 to do this trip. If I had gone in my 20’s….I may not have come home, gotten married, or had children.

The trip started with the ‘get acquainted Thursday”. We landed in Oakland, made our way up 80 to 29 to Napa. We found our very cute house on 1st street, and had lunch on the river. We were able to walk to dinner, and had California BBQ at the Bounty Hunter. The ambience is way better than the BBQ. Ribs were tender, but not a lot of flavor.

Friday was our ambitious wine tasting day. I scheduled times at 3 vineyards….I was way too ambitious.

Our first stop was historic Stags’ Leap. Not to be confused with Stag’s leap. It is all about the plural possessive, and the historic Manor House built by Horace Chase in 1890. I didn’t want to leave. My first wine tasting and we had a blast. The tour was fantastic, from the glorious living room, to the porch, to the caves, to the Bacci Ball court. They had a wine for each stop.


When the tour guide started talking about the Legend of the Stag Leaping, a doe and fawn appeared on the palisade above the caves jumping to their next location.

The wine was outstanding, but the grounds were glorious. Their Malbec was the silkiest I have ever had. The Viognier was smooth and fruity. The Cabernet was outstanding. Their Merlot puts most American Cabernets to shame. I took 2 bottles of the merlot immediately to enjoy for the rest of our trip. I have never tasted the equal of Stags’ Leap Merlot, as weird as that sounds…who likes Merlot?

Our next stop was Del Dotto. This was a barrel tasting tour….bad idea without eating first. Still lots of great info. Del Dotto uses a gravity flow/whole grape fermentation. They let you taste from the barrel so you understand how good their product is before it ages. I also learned some of the nuances between American Oak and French Oak. I was not impressed with the Savignon Blanc we started with. I did like the Cab Franc. Their Cabernet in American Oak was so smokey, you could taste bacon. Bacon wine will cost you $165.00 a bottle so beware bacon lovers.

After Del Dotto was food, and a nap. We tasted from 12 barrels and I learned why Napa folks gargle and spit. We loved the cave, but no grounds to wander, and no humming birds. Great accents to the cave. We got a kick out of the light fixtures. Check out the arm!



The last winery we visited was Darioush. Persian inspired, water gardens, pillars, and statues of Darius the 2nd. Old and new, classic and modern in the most pristine atmosphere possible. The amphitheater was acoustically perfect. The wine was fabulous, especially the Cabernet. The Viognier was very nice. The Chardonnay was balanced, and not too oaky.

We got to see the Vines up close, the private tasting rooms, the caves, and we got to enjoy the ambience. Darioush is a lovely place to visit.



We Ballooned, which was fabulous.


We hiked in the Muir woods north of San Francisco, which was more than we bargained for. The trail we chose was almost 2 hours up, and 1.5 hours back. We loved it all!



The house we stayed in was lovely. Built in the 1880’s our hosts had updated the kitchen and bath, but they left lovely glimpses of the original home, like the door bell, the Front porch lights, the dumb waiter, hardwood floors, windows, and gardens. Some of the roses were ancient.





Cheers my friends. Explore, enjoy, embrace, and sip some good wine!

2 thoughts on “Napa and me.

  1. LOVED this post! I’m a lifelong Bay Area resident (with chunks of time spent elsewhere), and I’ve *never* done a tour of Napa! Good for you. I’m excited because next month my friend J and I are going to take the Napa Wine Train, enjoy its gourmet dinner, and spend the night at The Meritage Resort. Just a very quick overnight get-away, which is all I have time for, but I’m so looking forward to it!

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