It started off on the wrong foot with dinner in San Francisco at Maven - www.maven-sf.com We thought that 2 somms opening a restaurant seemed like it would be a good thing. The service was awful (they werent even nice- so condescending, the wine list was a joke and the food was worse. We had calamari (greasy and chewy) scallop crudo (couldnt even taste the scallop-so overpowered) savory tart (do they use salt?) duck sliders (found all the salt!) and charcuterie - which was good. The trip down to try something new with so many other amazing places just steps away, was a pure disappointment...I vowed that Monday morning I was going to wake up and try to forget that nightmare of a place. I NEVER talk about a restaurant like this, NEVER! But I will say in this instance-its warranted.
Monday morning!!! - On to the start of the best week ever...My favorite gal Kila and I were off to wine country. First stop was Black Stallion winery- a glass of Rose in hand by 1030 is a great Monday morning! www.blackstallionwinery.com
We had a lovely tour and tasting and then a lunch in the cellar! Delicious organic chicken and veggies.
Off to Stags' Leap Winery www.stagsleap.com to check in my clients in the winery house...A lovely historical tour and what a great afternoon to drink some petite sirah! The Gypsy Camp and the NE Cede Malis were the hits of the day. Such a peaceful place- off the sliverado trail about a mile back - no cars, no sounds, no people....just silence and snakes. :)
Then a trip up Howell Mountain to see the most handsome man in Napa Valley....
Mr John Buehler..www.buehlervineyards.com
THis winery isnt the easiest to find and its a windy drive, not for the weakest of stomachs....His estate is gorgeous with views that CANNOT be beat. He and his family are among some of the nicest people I have met, the wines are delicious and a true Napa Valley Value! Down the mountain to dinner in St Helena... The Market was busy for a Monday night with Locals....I had a hearty NY Strip that was cooked perfectly- and dont forget their famous butterscotch pudding...It reminds me of my grandmas. www.marketsthelena.com
The Inn at Southbridge - www.southbridgenapavalley.com was a last minute decision and a good one. located In st helena, right next to Merryvale winery and La Tra Vigne. A great health club, great breakfast and the rooms were nice.
Off to historical Louis Martini Winery...www.louismartini.com
We toured, tasted, had the most delicious lunch of flank steak, roasted chicken and greens. And that was in the cellar with opera silently serenading us in the background. Gallo always goes over the top and their details are what make their hospitality stand out. We also had the chance to blend our own Meritage (blend of noble grapes) and then learn how to bottle and cork and label! What a great seminar we had and we left Louis Martini, our own bottles in hand, secretly all thinking we had made the best blend.. Some of the great wines we tried there were the new Alexander Valley Cabernet and the acclaimed Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauv. Awesome time.
From Cabernet to Pinot noir
So off to Carneros for a lovely Tasting at Etude Winery www.etudewines.com
Their pinot blanc was one of the best I've had from Cali and the deer camp pinot noir was masculine and earthy and delicious! We stopped at Oxbow Market for a watermelon aqua fresca (my favorite non alcoholic drink ever - refreshing after a day of wine.
We stopped at some dear friends house In Napa and we shared a beautiful bottle of Aussie wine from her latest trip and then off to dinner at Alex. www.alexitalianrestaurant.com
A new restaurant hitting the Napa Valley - and I liked it. It had a great feel- a roaring fireplace, nice lighting. The food was fresh and very delicious - started with burrata with arugula and mushrooms and then rabbit sugo that was hearty yet light! The service was good and overall Im glad to have gone here. And yes we were in bed by 945pm...what a long day of food and wine..
to be continued.....5 days left to write about