After a 23-hour travel nightmare, we finally arrived in Napa Valley…and we were not disappointed.
Just to give you a little background on our trip, I am a lawyer by trade. But during the COVID lockdowns, I completed a wine sommelier certificate course. I am currently at Level 3 out for a total of 4 levels.
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Napa Valley Vacation – Day One Vlog:
We are staying in an AirBnB this week at Silverado Country Club. The location is ideal because it’s sort of halfway between downtown Napa and most of the wineries. Quiet and quaint…but we did have do dodge some deer while driving within the country club last night.
Stag’s Leap Winery
The first stop of the day was at Stag’s Leap Winery. (Note: that is Stag’s Leap with apostrophe S…not S apostrophe. Long story but very confusing.). Our sommelier was one of THE BEST I have ever encountered in Napa so if you book a tasting at Stag’s Leap, ask for Aaron. He even brought some off-the-menu chicken liver patê for us to try. The patê was exactly what I needed at that point in the day. We all agreed that the 2016 Winemakers Series Malbec and the 2019 Cask 23 were our favorite wines of the tasting. But to be clear, no bad wines at Stag’s Leap. Ever. Learn more about Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars on TripAdvisor.
Auberge du Soleil
Next stop was lunch at Auberge du Soleil for THE MOST STUNNING dining view in all of Napa. High upon a hillside, the view is every bit as spectacular as the view. I opted for the two course meal with the first raw oysters of the day (more to come!) and the Cabernet Braised Short Ribs. Every bite was delicious. I will definitely return to this restaurant in the future. Learn more about Auberge du Soleil Resort and Restaurant on TripAdvisor.
Saint Helena and Calistoga
Next, we took a drive to Saint Helena and Calistoga. While there are plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, and stores in Saint Helena, it can get a bit crowded and hectic. I prefer the quieter quant town of Calistoga. Evangeline’s is one of my all time favorite restaurants with its French and Creole cuisine…and charming atmosphere. We couldn’t fit Evangeline’s in the itinerary this year, but we did drive by just so I could gush to our friends about it. Also, the antique stores in Calistoga are nothing like the ones I’m accustomed to on the East Coast. It’s worth it just to stop in and explore. Click HERE to find things to do in Saint Helena…and click HERE to find things to do in Calistoga.
Iconic Napa Valley Sign
From Calistoga, we made an obligatory photo stop at the iconic Napa Valley sign. Bring your camera and tripod – it’s worth the five minute roadside stop. While we visited the Napa Valley NORTH sign, here is a link to the identical Napa Valley South sign.
Silver Oak Cellars
Our final tasting of the day was at Silver Oak Cellars. The estate is scenic and breathtaking with plenty of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, so bring your camera and tripod.
Silver Oak only produces Cabernet Sauvignon…so do not expect to be served Merlot or Chardonnay. We enjoyed the side-by-side Napa Valley versus Alexander Valley tasting: 2014 v. 2018. After plenty of sips, shifts, and swirls, this certified sommelier voted for the 2014 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. *chef’s kiss* Learn more about Silver Oak Cellars on TripAdvisor.
Our final stop of the evening was at my hands-down favorite restaurant in all of Napa Valley: Cordeiro’s Steakhouse. This establishment features the old school table service that I remember from the 1970’s, complete with table-side salad preparation and service, complimentary chocolate fondue for dessert, and everyone’s favorite: the complimentary after-dinner drink cart. Learn more about Cordeiro’s Steakhouse on TripAdvisor.
I ordered my second serving of oysters for the day, Oyster’s Rockefeller, and the half rack of lamb. Our waiter recommended the Paradigm Winery Cabernet Sauvignon which was actually produced from grapes grown in the Cordeiro’s vineyard next to the restaurant…absolutely divine. The complimentary chocolate fondue for dessert was totally fun…and the complimentary tawny port from the after-dinner cart was exactly what I needed before bed. Sweet dreams of sips and swirls…
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