Napa Trip Report --- Part One

Jun 18th, 2002, 08:01 PM
  #1  
Kim
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Napa Trip Report --- Part One

Just back from a long weekend in Napa. Here is my report.

We arrived Thursday night on Southwest from Chicago to Oakland ($390 for the two) The plane was delayed and retrieving our car took a bit longer than expected so we did not arrive in Yountville at the Villagio Inn until 11:30 pm (expected to arrive 9 or so). We checked in (did not go to the room) and headed straight to Bouchon's (having lived 10 years in NYC it was still not too late for dinner!)We loved it. I believe the menu was abbreviated at this late hour - husband had the steak frites and I had the mussels. Great service and atmosphere -- very much a French Bistro feel. The night end perfectly when we opened the door to our room -- very spacious, well appointed, fireplace, large bathroom area, balcony with a nice view.

Friday: up early, I did spa treatments, husband golfed. First Winery:
Mondavi: took the tour and tasting($10 each), Sue Ellen was our tour guide, enjoyed her very much - she loves what she does and is very knowledgeable. After tour, she leads the group into a small tasting room -- also passed h'or doevres (nice touch).

Opus One: across the road, impressive modern building, the taste is almost a full glass but they charge you $25 or $30 depending on what you want -- only reds are available -- took our glass up to the terrace on second floor and enjoyed the view. Very few people there -- quiet and stately feel to the visit.

Grabbed a sandwich at Dean & Deluca and ate it in the car.

Niebaum-Coppola: pretty building, but it was crowded and touristy -- no room to walk up to the bar for a taste, tons of merchandise for sale -- ended up walking out without tasting.

Grgrich Hills (spelling?): celebrating their 25 yr anniversary and had a barrel tasting --fun and relaxed atmosphere. No fuss room.

Cakebread: We loved cakebread, arrive right around closing and they were very nice and took their time with us anyway. Ordered some wines -- a chardonnay and a cab.

Dinner at Martini House - highly recommend it -- it was chilly but several diners were outside on their terrace which was lovely. We sat in the main room, nicely lit, wonderful service and enjoyed everything.
 
Jun 19th, 2002, 07:10 AM
  #2  
Judy
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Thanks for your report. Looking forward to Part Two. Questions: You mentioned the price of your airfare, but could you also tell us the nightly rate for the Villagio (w/tax) as well as the spa treatments, and whether you thought it was worth it? Also, did you have winery tour reservations in advance? Thanks.
 
Jun 19th, 2002, 07:34 AM
  #3  
Sheli
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Kim:

So glad to hear you liked Cakebread. We enjoyed our first visit there this past April. We have since joined their Wine Club. They spent a lot of time with us and gave a tour, even though we had not made a appointment.

Looking forward to Part II of your report.

Sheli
 
Jun 19th, 2002, 09:39 AM
  #4  
kal
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Kim,

Let's see...Yountville, Bouchon's, Cakebread, Niebaum and Martini House?
Sounds like one of our "perfect" trips to NapVal!

Got the 7-13/15 weekend booked in Y'ville and Bouchon's better have a large supply of oysters and mussels on hand.
Great trip reports.
I can already smell the fermentation as we pedal around the valley.
kal
 
Jun 19th, 2002, 10:13 AM
  #5  
Kim
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Sheli, I remember your report! I printed it out and enjoyed reading it especially when we were in Napa. Due to your report I felt that I should return the favor. Hope it is helpful.
Kal, I also read several of your recommendations on this site prior to our trip. Thank you!
Judy, the second and third portions are already up on the site -- you just have to go down a bit to find them. As far as prices at the Villagio -- Thurs was $270, and Fri, Sat was $325 per night. I have the total bill at home and can give you the taxes as well if you would like. If you are seriously considering this, I would ask for a second floor room with a balcony so you can have a decent view. Re: The spa. I had a facial for $100 (about 50 minutes) that was incredible. ask for Mary. I also had the salt sea scrub that I enjoyed as well for $55. The Spa is very well run, beautifully appointed, calm music playing, just an overall serene and pleasant experience that I am glad I did. The tours that required reservations where Mondavi ($10 each), Schramsberg (the tour was free with your tastes, I forgot to write down the exact $$ but I did a flight of champagnes ($12?)and my husband did one taste of the J. Schram ($25?), and Joseph Phelps (forgot the write down $$). All three I highly recommend, although Mondavi is very basic so depending on your level of wine expertise may not be interesting to you. I think everyone would enjoy Schramsberg and Phelps. All others we just walked in.
 
Jun 19th, 2002, 10:16 AM
  #6  
x
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Kim, it would be helpful to have all your parts on this one post. All you have to do is add the other parts as responses to your first post. I love Napa but do we really need three separate threads about your trip report?
 
Jun 19th, 2002, 10:18 AM
  #7  
Kim
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Did not think of that -- here you go.
 
Jun 19th, 2002, 10:21 AM
  #8  
Kim
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Message: Saturday:

Schramsberg Tour (Calistoga) -- thoroughly enjoyed this tour, great history about the vineyard (it's the label that presidents serve and Nixon started the trend in 72 --before that the White House always served French Champagne). Our tour guide was very good. The tour takes you down into the caves and ends up in a lovely tasting room where everyone sits around a big table for the tasting. Loved their blanc de blanc and J. Schram -- ordered a couple of each. You can only taste if you take the tour which I recommend.

Clos Pegas: very good tasting, although they were very busy and the room was pretty crowded. The women who helped us seemed jittery and nervous which made it hard for us to relax. They also have some cool art here.

Sterling Vineyards: arrived here around 12:30 and there was a long line (at least an hour) to take the tram to the tasting room so we ended up not going -- did not realize until later that you can also take an elevator.

Lunch at Wappo Bar and Grill in Calistoga -- great lunch spot, sat outside on the terrace.
Headed down the Silverado Trail after lunch.

Joseph Phelps -- our favorite taste -- made reservations for their tour which is really a seminar -- beautiful room -- our tourguide Saul was great -- I liked this tour because it focused on trying to identify what you are tasting and smelling in a particular wine -- interactive -- he tried to get everyone involved -- nice change from the history lessons and informative info we learned on the wine process. The final taste is done on a pretty patio with beautiful views of the valley.

ZD: good taste -- loved their chardonnay

Drinks at Auberge (beautiful views)
Dinner at Terra -- extraordinary food -- had a nice corner table -- room was quiet and relaxed. Will finish final day tomorrow...


 
Jun 19th, 2002, 10:24 AM
  #9  
Kim
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Message: Hmm, can't sleep so will finish now!

Headed back to the Silverado Trail (so
pretty). First stop:
Silverado Vineyards: gorgeous views, beautiful and spacious tasting room. It was too early yet to start tasting a selction of 5 wines for $7 so we opted for a taste (one each) from their limited reserve wines -- I loved the '98 Yountville Chardonnay ($4) and my husband loved the '97 Cab Limited Reserve ($5) and he also tried a merlot filled chocolate ($1.25 each) and enjoyed it immensely even though the merlot squirted out all over him and the bar! We were there early so room was pretty empty which was pleasant. In fact, the gentleman helping us noticed I had a camera and offered to walk outside on the terrace and take a picture of us -- very nice gesture! I would make this a definite stop on anyone's list just to take in the breathtaking views -- the rivaled the views from Auberge.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars: pretty unmemorable taste ($7 for five tastes), cramped tasting room -- nothing exciting here... for us that is.

Clos Du Val: simple, unpretentious tasting room in a pretty ivy-covered building. Taste was $5 and was refundable with purchase of wine -- couldn't resist so picked up a bottle of their Chardonnay, Carneros but they are known for their Cabs which we also enjoyed. Very friendly staff.

That's our trip! We had a FABULOUS time -- and will definitely return and most likely will go right back to the Villagio -- next time will try hot air ballooning -- saw them up in the sky one morning and it was breathtaking. Now on to planning out trip to Paris in 2 months! Any ideas??


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Jun 19th, 2002, 10:32 AM
  #10  
x
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Kim thanks for all the valuable info. It's nice to hear about restaurants other than the French Laundry since most of us will never get in there. I'm saving your notes for when we go next! Did you have good weather and was this on the weekend? It doesn't look like you had a big problem with crowds.
 
Jun 19th, 2002, 10:41 AM
  #11  
Kim
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We had wonderful weather the entire time -- mid to high 70's in the day and 60's in the evening. Sunny all 3 days. Since we were there Fri, Sat, Sun, I was expecting there to be alot more traffic and crowds -- although we did run into crowds here and there (Niebaum Coppola, Sterling trying to take the tram -- if you want to do the tram ride at Sterling I would go first thing in am, and somewhat at Clos Pegas). The Silverado trail was virtually empty when we were driving on it and while Rt 20 certainly had many cars on it, the traffic moved -- nothing like going out to the Hamptons!
 
Jun 20th, 2002, 09:14 PM
  #12  
Kim
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Someone asked for our room rates plus tax -- here is the breakdown270 plus $27 for Thurs, S325 plus $32.50 for Fri and Sat -- breakfast was included in the price and it was superb. They also provided a complimentary bottle of wine in your room. They do charge your credit card for the first night stay upon booking.
 
Jun 21st, 2002, 02:39 PM
  #13  
Sheli
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Kim:

Thank you so much for a great report! I wish I could fly right back to CA this weekend!

We too are looking into Ballooing on our return trip. We are also thinking we want to stay at a more "spa" place than a B&B. I also had never thought of checking out the golf courses. Definately something else to think about for next time.

Glad you had a great time! You'll have to report about Paris as well.

Sheli
 
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