A few weekends ago I took a whirlwind trip to visit friends in California. I say whirlwind because I learned very quickly how to maximize my coast-to-coast weekend trips while living in California a few years ago.
I love wine. Particularly red wine. And even more particularly cab sauvs and zinfandels. I’ve certainly been known to enjoy a prosecco or champagne (or three), but red wines are what really make me warm and happy inside. That said, I am not a sommeliers, I just have a general idea of what I like.
On this trip though, what I liked wasn’t important. It was who I was with and where I was at. While Napa Valley wasn’t as green as I had envisioned (and really why should it be? It’s practically in the desert), but it did have the rolling hills and beautiful tasting rooms.
Our first stop was to Peju Province Winery.
It has the best and most animated sommelier, by far. Seriously– the guy (at least in his 70s) made up a rap about every wine we tasted. So fun! It felt like we got the most tastings at Peju as well. My friend was a member, which meant we got to taste for free!
One of my favorites was a red and white wine blend called Provence. Like I said, I’m not normally a white wine fine, but it had enough meaty red in it to be highly enjoyable. My other favorite from this vineyard was the syrah. Perfectly smooth without the sharp aftertaste some syrah’s have.
After exploring the grounds some more, we headed over to Cakebread Cellars. It’s rated pretty highly on tripadvisor as a must-see while in Napa, especially for first-timers.
While I didn’t love any of the wines, we got a nice tour of the grounds and a souvenir glass to take home.
After two wine tastings we were pretty hungry, so we headed to V. Sattui for a little picnic. We brought some food with us, but they also have a great little market where you can buy sandwichs, snacks, desserts, etc. I was busy stuffing my face so I failed to snap any pictures of this stop. Blogger fail. Once our tummies were full we headed over to the most picturesque winery of the trip: Inglenook (formerly known as Rubicon and Coppola).
The tastings there run $45/person, which was a little steep for us. We chose instead to walk around (for free), and then have some coffee and a glass of wine in their little cafe.
Overall, it was a great first trip to Napa. I was lucky enough to have one of my friends offer to drive us around. Otherwise, I’d highly suggest hiring a driver or biking. I haven’t heard great things about the little train that runs up and down the road to the wineries, but it certainly looked cute. There’s plenty to do no matter how long you are planning to stay. Next time I’d love to do their bike trail and head over to Sonoma. Not to mention visit lots more wineries. :)
Hope you enjoyed the trip review! San Francisco coming up next!
p.s. I suggest using the Winery Finder and Tasting Pass app if you head to wine country! They had coupons for 2-1 tasting deals, a free glass of wine, and other fun things to make your wine-tasting tour more affordable.