Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 4 lots of driving

Up early and the packing started as we get ready to start down to San Diego. We have accumulated 8 bottles of red, 3 champagne and 2 bottles of rum. We are hoping we can bring most of this back with us, otherwise we'll have to stay until we drink it. :)

Grab a blueberry muffin and head down the highway. We pick up hwy 1 at Monterrey and the up and down and hairpins start. Our first stop is a restaurant called Nepanthe, which means "no sorrow". It is absolutely beautiful, jutting out into the ocean and a couple of hundred feet up. The sun was beaming and about 90 degrees. Lots of hawks and eagles circling overhead and woodpeckers in the trees.

Back on the road we head to Avilia Beach, a little gem of a place right on the pacific with 2 large piers and a wonderful boardwalk.

Our room is at Avila La Fonda, a block away from the beach with a full kitchen and a coffee machine that grinds your coffee beans before it perks your coffee. Jim is very excited. And they provide the coffee.

We are both a little tired so decided to walk down and grab a pizza to have ith our sangiovese. A perfect night now we just need the tigers to win a game

Good luck tomorrow aurora with the frankenstorm coming your way.

Good night moon

Day 3. Another busy day

Up and about by 9. Over to Yountville for breakfast at the Pacific Blues cafe. French toast with bananas and walnuts on the deck. Absolutely civilized, the people beside us brought their own champagne in a cooler to put in their OJ.

We decided to find our way over to Lake Berryessa, back over the mountain but the other side of the valley this time. Again lots of hairpin curves but this time we had to share the road with a bunch of cyclists competing in a race. I can't imagine how they made it up the hills from a stamina point of view never mind that they didn't get run over by the cars being driven with budding Mario andretti's. It was crazy. With all ths going on we ended up missing our turn and ended up on the southern part of the lake with hardly any gas. Quick look st the map and we headed over to the town of Winter. (why would you name a town Winter in California). Filled up on gas and headed back to Napa.

First stop Mumm's winery and our first buy of the day. A beautiful old fashioned winery with beautiful gardens and great atmosphere. I asked if they were hiring anyone as I had my resume with me but no luck. :)

Our next stop was Opus One. This winery was built by Baron de Roschild and Robert Mondavi and they basically only make one wine a Cabernet Sauvignon which sold for $225 a bottle. Luckily for us they also had a small release of a much cheaper wine for $75 a bottle. Yes we had to buy one bottle.

Next stop was a grocery store for a baguette, cheese and some olives. Yum

Castella d'ambrosia was our last stop. This is a full fledged medieval castle which took 12 years to build. It is owned by V Sattui, he basically made so much money from his first winery that he decided to build his castle up on a hill north of St Helena. It was the busiest winery we visited so Mr Sattui has another huge success. It amazes me that he can be that financially successful from just selling wine through his wineries. He does no exporting or distributing. If you want his wine you go there or join his wine club. If you live in the states and join his wine club he was hosting a pagan night for 250 members last night at the castle. Looked amazing.

Back to the resort (Silverado) and get ready for dinner which as at Ristorante Allegria in downtown Napa. To go with their great wines, Napa might have some of the best food in the world.

Ps to Mary Jo and your martooni nights, discovered a lemon dro martini and a French martini which has champagne in it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 2 Napa Sonoma Alexander Valley

For some strange reason we decided to cover three of the regions today. We started off the day with a walk around downtown napa looking for a breakfast spot. Alexis Bakery Cafe caught our eye as it was the only place we saw that had a traffic jam. Busy busy but worth the wait, they made all their own breads and cookies yum Next we headed up to sugarloaf ridge state park doing a beautiful 5 mile hike skirting the bottom of the hills. It was 50 degrees when we started out. It quickly became a case of sweater on sweater off. Cold in the shade and amongst the trees and boiling in the meadow. Jim saw a stag go bounding up the hill. I missed it, trying to take a picture of Jim. Jim saw a snake. I did see that after his scream of panic. That took us to one o'clock, next stop some wineries. Two of the wineries we visited today are owned by a Canadian couple named Ken and Diane Wilson, they actually own six wineries in Sonoma and napa. We visited St Anne's Crossing and Soda Rock. They refurbished the original post office and General store in Alexander Valley. Absolutely beautiful. Medlock Ames is a small winery totally green. They make enough power with solar panels to run their winery and also sell power to the grid. Being green here sees to be very important and definitely doable with all their sun. Our final stop was at Alexander Valley Vineyards famous for their wonderful Zinfandels. Their two most popular are the Sin Zin and the Redemption Zin. We were more in need of redemption so that one found its way into the car. Finally back to the room after a very busy day. Seeing as it was 80 degrees it seemed a good idea to jump in the pool. We met up with friends, Ed and Sharon, for dinner at a restaurant called Tuscany where I had the best halibut with pesto potatoes ever. Yes, I know halibut is a fish :) Downtown napa is just beautiful at night people walking all over, lots of restaurants on the river and just an exciting bubbly place. Even with all that excitement we were in bed and asleep by 10:30

Thursday, October 25, 2012

On our way to San Fran

Up at five and in the car by 5:45. Not bad for me. A great flight on Air Canada arriving at 11 am California time. Picked up our rental car and arrived at our resort at 2. Air Canada food was not much better than most flights so our first stop was lunch at The Grill, the clubhouse at the Silverado. Delish and even better was the rodney strong 2011 Pinot Noir and to top off that you can buy the bottle and take it back to the room. Truly civilized. Unfortunately the sun was beating down on the patio overlooking the golf course and it just seemed a fitting place to have the last glass. Popped back up to our room and unpacked and I just couldn't resist a swim. So here Jim and I sit with an Olympic pool to ourselves. A little mamma and papas playing on my iPad, a small rum and coke, and it feels like paradise. Jim keeps saying it would be paradise if i stopped singing along with mama cass, especially when I am swimming. Off to an Italian restaurant tonight and then onto wine tours tomorrow. I think I may have to put shorts on. Woohoo. Miss you Canada. Love from Mama Carlson