September 7, 2009
One of my favorite books, A Tale of Two Valleys, humorously chronicles the history of the two most prominent Northern California Wine Country counties, Napa and Sonoma. From a visitor’s point of view, the book fuels the ongoing fiery debate as to which county has more to offer its residents and visitors. Mr. CG and I are Sonoma County residents, so naturally, we’re biased towards our own home turf. But every now and then, we wander over the hills to visit Napa, and for good reason. A weekend in Napa County is simply divine.
It was our ten year anniversary, and the details of our getaway were left to Mr. CG. I’m glad I relinquished all control, because he took me on a tour of some amazing places I’ve never visited. It was a whirlwind weekend with fun around every turn.
Our first stop was crashing a wedding.
Well, not really. In truth, we arrived at Hans Fahden Vineyards in Calistoga as they were just setting up for a wedding. Turns out, the charming owner Antone Fahden is a lawyer turned vintner who hails from the very same law school as me. We had much to agree on as we sipped his blends.
Take a stroll through his exquisite gardens:
How stunningly gorgeous is this cake?
How charming are these place cards set in wine corks ?
Here’s the pavilion where they serve cocktails:
And the illuminated cave where they serve dinner:
Clearly, there’s a reason Hans Fahden has won this award:
Next, we went for more tastings at Graeser Winery where we were treated like family. We wandered the vineyards and hiked to the top of Diamond Mountain to enjoy the exceptional valley view and a Bordeaux blend.
Mr. CG surprised me by splurging on our hotel. I was completely caught off guard. Solage resort is located a few minutes outside downtown Calistoga and is quite cosmopolitan, but with a zen organic vibe. It took me by surprise how much I absolutely loved this place. Three days and two nights here and I was completely rejuvenated.
Our private bungalow room:
Our private patio:
A complimentary anniversary welcome gift:
The pool bar & cabana:
Amazing water features all over the property, including this one:
Solbar restaurant at night:
The stunning contemporary fireplace – those are metal rods artistically welded together.
Dangerously delicious red and white sangria cocktails. Both are made with orange juice, Grand Marnier, and vodka. The red also has cabernet and peaches, the white has chardonnay and blueberries. Yummy yummy yummy.
Heirloom tomatoes with ricotta, toasted breadcrumbs, and basil. So scrumptious !
Seared ahi over butter beans:
I just love their Black Sea salt & pepper !
One thing is for sure – this region will guarantee gastronomic sensory overload. Next week, I’ll fill you in on our visit to:
Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Yountville for lunch, my new favorite dining spot on the planet and the place where I want to have my last meal in life, ever. I am truly a Francophile foodie.
The flagship NapaStyle store
Castello di Amorosa, a Tuscan castle in the heart of Napa Valley.
and window shopping in St. Helena.
Three days away left me rejuvenated and inspired. So now it’s back to business as usual . . .