Steve and I just returned from a lovely and wonderful 10-day vacation in California! We started out in Napa Valley at the fabulous-I-highly-recommend-can't-wait-to-go-back Carneros Inn. What an amazing experience.....lovely views, lovely wines, lovely service. On Saturday, we took a wine tour (driven by Sarah of Magnum Tours referred by the Carneros Inn) and hit up 5 wineries!! The day started at Vine Cliff where we had a brief tour of their barrel caves and tasted the tasty Chardonnay. Then off to an 11:00am appointment at Swanson Vineyards. Here was different than any other....a seated tasting of 6 wines with cheese, caviar, and gelato. It was so fun....especially because we had the seating all to ourselves! We stopped quickly by the tasty Oakville Grocery, grabbed lunch, and heading to Kelham Vineyards where we had our picnic and tasted 8 of their fab wines! My favorite was the 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon. Then off to Far Niente. The grounds were amazing....beautiful landscaping and views. I had picked this place to go and have to say I was disappointed. The wines were good, but a cheesy tour of the estates vintage cars. We were more interested in the wine! Last place we visited was Shifflett Estate. Our driver had recommended and called Jeffrey Shifflett, the owner and winemaker. What a lovely way to end the day! One of my favorite places that we visited!!!
The next day of wine tasting was a treat! We went on a tour by John Burdick. It was just the 3 of us....he picked out the wineries and what an amazing day! Our first stop was Deerfield Winery, where we met owner, PJ Rex, and sat with her at her dining room table sipping her wines and chatting over the sustainable grape growing they do there. Then off to Glen Lyon Winery, where we met the real Ronald McDonald (no joke!), Squire Fridell. He was a lovely jovial man, full of stories, that we loved to hear! We ate lunch at his estate with a gorgeous view and in company of his adorable dog, Puck. Our last stop on Monday was Audelssa. Up in the mountains of Sonoma, breathtaking views, and a little bit of car sickness for me, but this was one of my favorites! The place was amazing and Dan Schafer, the winemaker/owner, was so informative. He was the one who suggested A16, a trendy Italian restaurant in the Marina District of San Fran, and by far, my favorite meal of our trip! Thanks, Dan!
After leaving wine country (sadly), we headed off for San Francisco and finished our trip there. We walked around the city, ate at lovely establishments like A16 and Gary Danko, and went to a speakeasy called Bourbon & Branch. It really was a lovely vay-cay!
Oh yeah, almost forgot on the best parts, Muir Woods!!! Amazing California redwood forest!! We made sure to hug them!!!