I am officially wine and Napa obsessed. We recently invited a couple to join us on our second expedition. Find my other favorites from our first trip here. This trip required lots of research to find the hidden gems and something fit for foodies. We stayed at the Hampton in Napa for the second time. Our reasoning was it was close to downtown Napa and to our wineries. Honestly we get pretty wine wasted so there is no need for ambiance with your room.

 

 

Delicacies Tasting at Piazza Del Dotto

This was our second experience with Del Dotto wine and their delicacies tasting. Piazza is the newest addition to Del Dotto. The vibe is Italian with a fountain, gorgeous gardens and outdoor barns with turkeys and peacocks. The 5 course pairing ($175) was fabulous and was more memorable due to the amazing grounds and gardens. When you walk into the building you are overwhelmed with the giant chandelier, gorgeous views and attention to detail. Matt greeted us with a glass of rose and invited us to our table outside.

 

The table setting was a dream. We could not have picked a more perfect day. Matt was very knowledgeable and gave us the run down of our tastings and the food. Our menu pairings included a steelhead frittata, waygu slider and a porcini pasta. We were able to taste other wines and do a few side by sides of different vintages. I honestly would enjoy this experience every time I visit Napa. Yes, it is on the higher side, but it saves time on grabbing lunch and you receive the highest standard of service.  Pairing food with wine is such a fun part of traveling.

 

Unfortunately the wines cave wasn’t finished when we visited but Matt took us on a VIP tour. HOLY $h!t, they spared no expense and the attention to detail is magnificent. The door to the cave was a huge wooden door that when opened, lead you to hand laid Italian marble on the floor. I can not wait to go back and visit once its finished. We purchased a few bottles of their limited cave blend…we have yet to enjoy.

 

Clif Family Winery & Bruschetteria

Clif located in Saint Helena, is related to the Clif bar! We didn’t make a reservation but it was a nice pit stop and it was located along our wine path.  The bruschetta truck was located right outside so you could order and bring it in the winery. We ordered the avocado and salmon, it was the perfect size for our group. Ryan and I really enjoyed their King of the Mountain Tasting ($40), hence the 2 bottles we purchased.

 

 

Aonair

One of my clients recommended this hidden gem and WOW was it worth the drive. Aonair is about 25 mins into the Conn Valley hills off the main road. Luckily Matt from Piazza mentioned that we should pay our Uber driver to stay since many will not make the drive. This winery is best done with a private driver. Matt also informed us of the stellar whiskey collection the owner had. The guys in our group were fascinated. They were able to taste 23 yr Pappy along with others, but we did join the wine club (6 bottles twice a year).

The property has a gorgeous patio that over looks the valley. You can sip your wine and soak in the sun and natural beauty. We tasted 4 of their wines. The bottles are corked and dipped in red wax, this is fun when you struggle to get into the bottle.  Dan was very hospitable and patient with us as we were running late!

 

 

Palmaz

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Palmaz was a sight to see. They incorporate technology and zero gravity bottling. The wine production building is 4 levels and goes underground. Located on a 600 acre estate, the tour shows you the ins and outs of Palmaz along with the families buildings and homes. Diana showed us where the recent fires came onto the property. One of the owners was literally on his roof with his hose saving his home.

 

 

 

Our tour ($100/pp) started out with their rose as we walked along the property. We were so amazed at the technology behind their wine. It was over my head but still fascinating. After our tour and learning about the winery, we were seated in a private room to finish our 5 course tasting paired with amazing amuse bouche. During your tasting they will educate you on their club, Brasas. We did join the club, which waived our tasting fee. The wine is on the higher side but well worth it. They offer so many events for their Brasas members… if only we lived near Napa.

 

 

Stags’ Leap

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So this was the “wrong” Leap winery. NOTE: there is a Stags Leap and Stags‘ Leap. We did enjoy this stop. Located in Yountville, manor was gorgeous. We were greeted in the entry space and waited to start our tour. A chilled glass of rose started our tour. We walked around the vineyard and saw one of the trees used to make wine corks. The best secret about this winery is down in the basement there was an old speak easy. The room was small and filled with old alcohol bottles and other antiques.  Our tasting was held at a grand table. We purchase the Estate tasting and tour ($75/pp). My favorite was the Audentia Cab.

 

 

Places to eat! (or NOT)

  • Basalt: we sat outside on their patio and had drinks. I enjoyed the Bees Knees with a tiny dried Sichaun flower bud that when bitten into makes your mouth go numb. It was crazy experience.
  • Coles Chophouse: we were excited to eat amazing steak but it was a fail. 3 out of the 4 steaks were overdone and the customer service was to be desired. We did like their beef carpaccio. But this was a miss.
  • Auberge de Soleil: this is a typical stop for us for a light lunch, gorgeous view but spendy. My pretty pink drink was a passionfruit mezcal margarita!
  • Morimoto: amazing sushi, great outdoor seating. Spendy but worth it. Great tuna tartare, spicy shrimp and yellowtail sashimi.

 

 

 

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