Tag Archives: st. helena

NAPA VALLEY Stroll. Explore. Prost.

My love affair with this place started when I saw Carrie Bradshaw talking to Mr. Big regarding his move from New York to Napa Valley.

“Well when you’re tired you take a nap-a you don’t move to Napa.”

From then on, it made me wonder, what kind of place will you exchange for New York? When I was planning my itinerary for San Francisco, my eyes caught a glimpse of the small letters “Napa” on the map and asked? Is this The Napa Valley? Yes, an hour away from the city. My heart pounded and like so many things in my life … Serendipity stepped in…. A pleasant surprise.

The Famous Napa Landmark

The Famous Napa Landmark

Napa Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area ( a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the United States Department of the Treasury) located in Napa County, California, United States.

Napa Valley is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world but production of commercial wine started in the 19th century only.

The combination of Mediterranean climategeography and geology of the region are conducive to growing quality wine grapes. John Patchett established the Napa Valley’s first commercial vineyard in 1858. In 1861 Charles Krug established another of Napa Valley’s first commercial wineries in St. Helena. Viticulture in Napa suffered several setbacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including an outbreak of the vine disease phylloxera, the institution of Prohibition, and the Great Depression. The wine industry in Napa Valley recovered, and helped by the results of the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, came to be seen as capable of producing the best quality wine – equal to that of Old World wine regions. Napa Valley is now a major enotourism (refers to tourism whose purpose is or includes the tasting, consumption or purchase of wine, often at or near the source. Where other types of tourism are often passive in nature, enotourism can consist of visits to wineries, tasting wines, vineyard walks, or even taking an active part in the harvest) destination. – Wikipedia

I was discouraged so many times to visit because of the massive valley fire that hit Napa during the time that I was there. But my heart can’t allow something that is within my reach to go unfulfilled. Like a love that you had to let go because circumstances aren’t right. But still you take it head-on … Life is short for what-might-have-beens.

And Lo! And behold. I felt my heart skipped a beat when I saw the rolling vineyards slowly unfolded as we traversed the valley. With all the drama, I told myself … Mr. Big have every reason to move here … I would have.

The Vineyard

The Vineyard

So many wineries … so little time.

Peju – Tony Peju purchased the 30 acre land because of love for farming and passion for wine. Inside Peju, you can have wine tasting, buy wine and merchandise. They are famous for handcrafted Peju ceramics and custom logo Peju apparel. There is also an access to the wine cellar for visitors. This is also one of the winery featured at the Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Peju

Peju Cellar

 

Grapes in the Vineyard

Grapes in the Vineyard

Castello di Amorosa – located at St. Helena, Calistoga. It is a 13th century inspired Tuscan castle in a 170 beautiful acres of forest, hill, lake and stream. All the metal in the castle was hand-forged over the open flame by the one of the last remaining blacksmiths in Umbria, Italy. Activities: guided tour and tasting (25 USD), wine and cheese pairing and royal food and wine pairing.

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Wine Tasting with our wine guy, Vincenzo Coppola

Wine Tasting with our wine guy, Vincenzo Coppola

V. Sattui Winery – it stands today as the result of hard work, dedication, and the extraordinary vision of two men who happen to be related.  Vittorio Sattui started the business in 1885 after emigrating from Genoa, Italy.  But it was Dario, the grandson who resurrected the business in Napa. This winery has a deli unlike the others. You can buy food and have a picnic outside the lawn.

Entrance of V. Sattui

Entrance of V. Sattui

Robert Mondavi Winery – with a legacy of more than 40 years of winemaking, it is a shining symbol of Napa. The architecture of Cliff May reflects the missions of early California history.

Façade of Mondavi Winery

Façade of Mondavi Winery

Afternoon Solace by the Garden

Afternoon Solace by the Garden

Here is the list of additional wineries in Napa recommended:

 

Hagafen Cellars                                                                      Domaine Chandon

Artesa                                                                                      Beringer

Rutherford Hill Winery                                                           Duckhorn Vineyards

Domaine Carneros                                                                 Etude Winery

Paraduxx Winery

 

Did you know?

  • Wine is fat-free and contains no cholesterol
  • A six ounce glass of wine contains approximately 130 calories
  • California produces approximately 77% of the US wine grape crop
  • Although red wine can only be produced from red grapes, white wine can be produced from both red and white grapes. – Wine Country

 

3 Simple Steps to Wine Tasting

  1. Swirl – swirl the wine vigorously in the glass. As the wine coats the sides of the glass, it releases its aroma of bouquet.
  2. Sniff – Insert your nose into the glass and inhale by taking quick, full sniffs. The aromas can be quite different depending on how far into the glass your nose goes. At the top of the glass, they are more floral and fruity; deeper in the glass, they are richer. Try to detect the full range of scents from berry to floral to spicy to woody … and so on.
  3. Taste – Sip a small amount of wine and move it over your entire tongue so that all your taste buds come in contact with it. Taste for sweetness or dryness. Or is it flat and flabby? Tannins (used in red wines to keep them from spoiling) will feel sort of prickly on your tongue. The ideal touch is a mellow softness – a velvety feeling in your mouth. – Wine Country

Trip Tips

  • Start the trip in the morning. Wineries close at 5pm
  • Wear cotton and your sunnies. It can be very hot during fall.
  • Coffee Break at Dean and Deluca.
  • Have a designated driver who won’t drink. DUI isn’t cool.

Napa Valley will always be a place close to my heart. It will always hold a special memory in my psyche each time I take a sip of wine.  It will always be a place that I will remember with fondness and love. In life, there will be people in your life that will come and wander far … you will tend to forget … like wine kept in a cellar for long.  When it is the perfect time, they will come back, a little older, a little wiser but the essence will remain and this time they might stay. Just like aged wine, it will be at its best, at its finest when it finally touched your lips. Prost!

There are moments, above all on June evenings, when the lakes that hold our moons are sucked into the earth, and nothing is left but wine and the touch of a hand. – Charles Morgan

 

 

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