Day two of my San Francisco trip called for a major change of pace. I was ready to take it slow in wine country up in Napa Valley. I found the 90 minute car ride from home was the perfect amount of time for me to brush up on my la France! Oiu?
It wasn’t until we drove out to Napa Valley that I realized I’ve gotten a little numb and claustrophobic living in the city. The open space, acres upon acres of vineyards, and gentle rolling hills brought forth a tender feeling of being connected to nature.
Needless to say, we tasted wines as beautiful as the chateau itself.
- 2013 Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2014 Calistoga Zinfandel
- 2012 Valley Petite Sirah
- 2014 Napa Valley Chardonnay
- 2013 Potter Valley Riesling
As a first time wine taster I wasn’t sure what to expect or what to do, but the staff was very friendly and informative. Though famous for their Chardonnay and Cabernet, I enjoyed their Potter Valley Riesling the most, ideally paired with spicy food such as Indian or Thai curries.
After taking advantage of the picture perfect backdrops and pristine gardens, we headed over to a fun winery in St. Helena, Castello di Amarosa. For those of us who don’t speak Italian, Castello di Amarosa translates to “the castle of love.” This is a 13th century Tuscan castle winery complete with high walls and defense towers. The estate expands over 30 acres of vineyards and was built over a 14-year period by Dario Sattui, a fourth generation winemaker. However authentic the castello, it is merely a backdrop to showcase beautiful wines made of grapes of mainly Italian varieties that pair well with foods from around the world.
While there, we decided to do the charcuterie and cheese parings in the Il Passito Wine room. We were able to taste their reserve wines including:
- Pino Bianco
- Chardonnay – La rocca Vineyard
- Pino Noir – Terra de Promissio Vineyard
- La Castellana – Super Tuscan Blend
- Il Barone – Cabernet Sauvignon
- La Fantasia – Dessert Wine
- Il Passito – Late Harvest Semillon
I’d consider this a unique cozy experience as well. How often do you get to sip wine in a castle while sitting in a comfy chair made for royalty? My favorite was the Il Passito, a dessert wine that round and creamy but wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet.
After all that wine it was time for a real meal at Two Birds One Stone in Napa. Chefs Sang Yoon and Douglas Keane teamed up to create a well-executed take on Asian cuisine. For me the ingredients were all to familiar, but the flavors were entirely new. The inspiration “is the bounty of northern California, and the farmers and producers who grow it.” The restaurant partners with farmers to bring guests the freshest, “of-the-moment products into [their] menu and onto your plate.”
The beautiful vineyards, world-class food, all backed by an amazing history created a romance I could live in forever.