Monday, July 12, 2010

Napa/Sonoma, Day 2

I had to take a break from my vacation blogs last week, so I could focus on getting ready for Emerson's birthday party.  I'm back, though, with Day 2 of our Napa/Sonoma getaway.  

Our second day on vacation was actually our first "official" full day of wine tasting.  We made this day our Sonoma day and spent the entire day touring wineries and tasting wine in the Sonoma area. The entire gang (The Devers, The Hasses, and The Vogels, along with Danny and I) all hit the road for the hour trip to Sonoma after a light breakfast at the hotel.  Our first stop was St. Francis Winery and Vineyards. What a great way to start the day!  St. Francis was BEAUTIFUL!!!  You can tell I was excited (or progressively got more drunk throughout the day, ha!) because I took more than half of my pictures for the entire day at this location.  St. Francis was the perfect first stop, it had old charm, architectural detail, a great view, good wine and a great food and wine pairing.  Diane arranged for us to have a food and wine pairing on the patio...absolutely a must if you ever visit.   We enjoyed our wine and are charcuterie plates, along with the scenery and the was a perfect start to our Sonoma day!!!

St. Francis Winery and Vineyards

My favorites from St. Francis!!

After St. Francis, we headed up the road a mile to Ledson Winery and Vineyards or "The Castle", as it's known in Northern Cal and around the globe.  This was an unexpected stop, but I just had to talk the group into going.  Being the house enthusiast that I am, it was a must see for me.  So, the group happily obliged to go to another winery and taste wine.  I was more focused on the 16,000 square feet in front of me, but I hear the wine was actually decent too!!

You can tell as the day goes on, I don't take as many pictures.  I actually wasn't drunk, I was just not impressed and therefore, didn't bring my camera out that much.  Our next stop was Kenwood Vineyards.  I didn't really care for the wine or the winery but the rest of the group enjoyed their experience.  I did score a really neat Sonoma County map at Kenwood, but that was the extent of my excitement, hence the reason there are only four pictures. 

After Kenwood, we headed another mile or so down the road to Imagery Estate Winery.  This was recommended to us by several people, not only for the wine but for their art collection of wine labels.  Imagery isn't just known for their reds, they also have the most unique wine labels around.  All their labels are created by local and international artists and all the labels must include (in some shape or form) an image of the Parthenon.  We did a private tasting at Imagery...but I decided not to participate, I'm not a big red drinker.  I think the group really enjoyed this winery, as evident by the six bottles of wine and port we
walked out with.  

(an example of their wine label, taken from the Imagery website)

Our last stop for the day was Viansa Winery and Vineyard.  We ended the day like we began it, with some great views of Sonoma.  Viansa had a great patio overlooking Sonoma Valley.  We took a minute to just take it all in and really appreciate the views, atmosphere and culture of wine country.  While some of the group enjoyed a wine tasting, others shopped in the Viansa market and then enjoyed a limeade on the patio (bet you can't guess what group I was a part of?).  And by the pictures, you can tell Danny was nice enough to carry my purse so I could get some landscape shots..and shop!!!  (He's totally confident in his manhood!)  The best part about Viansa was their balsamic vinegar.  I guess I was on a vinegar kick after dinner the night before at Cafe Citti.  This balsamic was soooo good!!  So, I bought some (shocker!).  Viansa was our last stop on the winery tour and it was a great way to end our Sonoma day.  

After all the wine tasting, and our very early lunch at St. Francis, we were all super hungry and ready for a cocktail that didn't include wine.  We headed to the Sonoma Meritage for appetizers, cocktails and their specialty...oysters!!  While we were there, all the guys got a hankering for red meat (probably all the reds they drank that day).  So, we headed to Saddles restaurant at the gorgeous MacArthur Place Inn and Spa.  Turns out, all the gals wanted steak, too!!  After dinner, we headed back to our hotel with very full bellies and very tired eyes.  We all passed out, which was good because we had a very busy Napa itinerary the next day, and we had a scheduled driver, so you know there would be lots of wine drinking involved!!!

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