August 10, 2012

Napa Valley 2012

Four years after our last trip to the Napa Valley, we were lucky enough to visit that beautiful area again for a week of great food and wine this past April, along with my sister and brother-in-law and our friends Meg and Matt. The boys stayed with their grandparents; it felt strange to leave them behind but was a perfect getaway.
Dinner the first night was delicious cheeses, meats, fruit, and of course wine, poolside at our rental house

We took a tour at Hendry Winery with George Hendry. He was adorable, and taught us a lot about grape growing, wine making, and pairing.

Grape de-stemmer

George, talking about pairings and demonstrating the effects that fats have on the palate while drinking wine. He had us try this out by tasting a wine, then eating a cracker heavily dunked in oil, then tasting the wine again.

All set up for tasting and note-taking at Bouchaine in Carneros

Our fun group

Before dinner at Thomas Keller's Bouchon, a favorite from our last trip. (We also made it to The French Laundry this time!-- to be detailed in a separate post.)

Gordie's celery soup at Bouchon. I was surprised he ordered celery soup but it was very good.

The most delicious roast chicken ever

Steak frites

Some of our desserts at Bouchon...

"Tasting" at Mumm Napa-- they, like many places, were exceedingly generous.

Excellent wines at Caymus

Delicious sandwich at Gott's/Taylor's Automatic Refresher

Dinner at the house one night

Beautiful barrel room at Groth

The fact that they have pugs lying around is not the only reason we love Groth

Fancy reserve room at Silver Oak

Really good tacos at Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa

Such an exciting pilgrimage!

We had a great view from our table of the gorgeous, open kitchen at Chez Panisse. We were also welcomed to walk through it. The people were so nice and the kitchen just seemed so calm and well crafted.

Cannard Farm asparagus tempura with horseradish cream and watercress

Pea and lettuce soup with basil sauce and crispy shallots

Spit-roasted Llano Seco pork loin with wild fennel, lentils, fava beans, roasted turnips, and carrots

Page mandarin and kiwi pavlova with roasted pineapple

At Artesa in Carneros-- breathtaking view, cool architecture, and really great pinot noir and chardonnay

We felt special

Dinner at Jole in Calistoga

Cheese course of two cheeses, fruit, chutney, and crispy bread

Chateau Montelena, famous for helping put California and Napa on the wine map when its chardonnay beat French wines in a blind tasting in the 70s-- the movie Bottleshock tells the story

One last stop at Taylor's Automatic Refresher for a breakfast sandwich on the way to the airport

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