After a delightful night at the Fairmont San Francisco, we met up with our Dad and hit the road for a father daughter excursion in Napa! All of our cool SF friends have raved about Scribe Winery which is in Sonoma on the way to Napa, so it seemed like the perfect first stop. It is a hipster hub perched on a lovely hill, dotted with picnic tables where you can enjoy the wines and the beautiful views. Definitely worth a visit, mainly for the rustic chic picturesque setting (make an appointment).
We continued into the Napa Valley and stopped at Thomas Keller’s iconic restaurant Bouchon in Yountville for a delicious and slightly gluttonous lunch. We sat inside in the upscale bistro-like restaurant which was festive although the sunny patio would have been lovely too. We could have easily followed lunch with a nap, but we were antsy and curious to explore the town of St. Helena, rumored to be the “cutest” town in the Napa Valley. Yountville, by the way, is essentially a main street of absurdly good restaurants and tasting rooms– we didn’t find any boutiques or the like. So, we made our way to St. Helena which has a very picturesque, “All American” small town main street with a handful of boutiques, tasting rooms and restaurants. We didn’t find any treasures, so maybe don’t come to Napa looking to shop?
And finally it was time to check in to the illustrious Auberge du Soleil! Winding up a hill, the hotel is tiered along a hillside overlooking the Valley. It is spread out, yet nothing is too far. Our rooms were lovely and we were thrilled to have been upgraded to rooms with a view– nothing better than a room with a view! Except one with a private terrace! And a fireplace, enormous bathtub, fully stocked complimentary mini bar, and fluffy beds. Also included in your stay is a decadent breakfast – green juices, mouth-watering pastries, omelets – we could keep going (it was Mary’s birthday so we felt entitled to really go for it)! The heated pool, which was all ours as nobody else was around, is one of the nicest we have ever seen. Definitely goes onto our top ten list! The hotel also has a well equipped fitness center to work off all of the decadence.
We reluctantly peeled ourselves away from the hotel for dinner at Farmstead. It was divine — especially the dishes with lamb. The best lamb we have had. Our waiter was spritely and knowledgeable yet we were the last table there and we had an 8pm res.
The next day, we had a full day of wine touring and tasting. We had a driver take us to Hartwell Vineyards, Reid Family Vineyards and Porter Family Vineyards. Our favorite of the day for the unique setting alone in a dramatic wine cave underground — and very nice wines, particularly reds for you red lovers, was Porter Family Vineyards. Hartwell was also inspiring up on a hill, and for someone interested in starting their own backyard winery, go see how the Reid family has done it. We had a quick and casual lunch at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa which is like a mini Ferry Building in San Fran, or Santa Barbara’s Public Market. Very cool and delicious options everywhere! We had gourmet tacos from C Casa that were outstanding and much needed coffees from Ritual Coffee.
Just to be sure we rolled out of Napa, we had the tasting menu at Auberge’s Michelin starred restaurant which was as outstanding as you would expect. We had a bottle of our new favorite chardonnay, Far Niente, and only were sorry we hadn’t scheduled a visit to their winery in the neighborhood… Next time!
Speaking of next time, we decided we would rather break up all of the tastings– spend the mornings at the gorgeous pool and then visit a few in the afternoon…. And we are curious about Sonoma and Glen Ellen, Napa Valley’s more laid back, less discovered neighbors.
We feel at home in the vines and can’t wait to return!