Thursday, June 26, 2008

California Day 2

Day 2, June 26, 2008 - Napa Valley

We got a good night’s sleep, not a long night’s sleep, but we slept well in our “green” bed that’s actually a very sterile white. We took our time getting ready and realized that the most important stop of this day would be Starbucks. We grabbed our lattes and were off to the Napa Valley. It only took us about 20 minutes to get into the heart of wine country. It was truly amazing how many vineyards there are. Big ones, small ones, fancy ones, simple ones. There are hundreds of them.

We started off in St. Helena at V. Sattui. This was also our favorite of the day. The main building of the winery was breathtaking. It was a four story building that we could have stared at all day. We had a picnic lunch in front of it after walking around and seeing everything we could see. They had an authentic Italian meat and cheese market which looked like something out of a movie. We shared an amazing, and I mean amazing Black Forest Ham Sandwich with smoked cheddar and chutney. We added a side of pesto pasta, and of course, a bunch of locally grown V. Sattui green grapes. It was all very good. The grapes really did taste different here. After that, we headed north on Highway 29 and came immediately to Sutter Home.

We weren’t expecting much at Sutter Home. The outside wasn’t near as elaborate as V. Sattui, but they had a nice house that was also an inn, but the cool stuff was reserved for inn guests only. We went through the gift shop and found the cutest little bottles of wine that we snatched up for some of our friends. We then came to the wine tasting counter, and we discovered that Sutter Home gives you samples for free. So we tasted about 8 different kinds of wine. A taste is really just a taste, not by any means a glass, and they hooked us up. They were supposed to give us a choice of 4 different kinds, but they kept asking if we would like to try all these different kinds. We learned that a reserve wine is made specifically from grapes on sight, and it is different from the wine that they ship out to the rest of the country. The reserve white zinfandel was our favorite, but we really enjoyed all of them. We browsed around the store, and headed further north. We didn’t spend as much time at any of the other places as we spent at these two.

Up the road, we went to the Behringer winery, and the Culinary Institute of America (which was a very impressive place). Holly wanted to check out some of the places that “A Walk in the Clouds” was filmed, and we found Charles Krug and Duckhorn wineries. Charles Krug was under construction, but Duckhorn was the first winery where we actually got close to grapes. We are officially enthralled with vineyards. After going to these places, we went on a hunt for the house seen in the new Parent Trap movie. Holly remembered that it was in Rutherford. So, we typed Rutherford into Gigi and she took us to what turned out to be one of the coolest stops of the day - the Rutherford Hill winery. This winery was off the beaten path, and the view was incredible. You could see the whole valley from this place. After walking around a bit, we ventured into the store and asked the gentlemen behind the counter about the house we were looking for. As it turns out, one of the guys lived on the same street as the house we were looking for. Needless to say, our directions were quite good, and we drove right up to this house which was very fun. This was Holly’s highlight today. It was a very beautiful house.

We made our way into downtown Napa around dinner time to find a place to eat. We made an attempt to eat at Copia, which is where Julia Child’s restaurant is, but we thought it a bit pricey. So, we went down the road and found a very cool street festival going on. We walked through and found a cool little Italian place called Piccolino’s. We ate Italian, and sat by the windows and watched the locals. After dinner we stopped by some of the booths and sampled peaches, dips, peanut brittle, and Greek yogurt. We purchased some kettle corn, chocolate covered strawberries, and cabernet flavored fudge. Delicious.

We came home, webcammed with Jacob and Carol for a bit, uploaded our 259 pictures, yes 259 (we did delete a couple, but not many) from the day to the computer, and dropped in the hot tub before retiring to the room - which is where we currently find ourselves. All in all a very productive, relaxing, and fun day.

We spent all day looking at grapes, and on tap for tomorrow.. more grapes. We’ve got another full day of grapes planned, but we’ll wait until tomorrow’s blog to tell you about that.


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