Napa Valley Vacation – Day Two

I didn’t know if it would be possible to top Day One of our Napa Valley vacation, but Day Two did not disappoint.

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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William Hill Winery

The view from William Hill Winery.

The first stop of the day was for an early morning glass of wine at William Hill Winery. The tasting views here are some of the most spectacular in all of Napa Valley so it is worth the stop. While the tastes in wine vary in our group, we all agreed on the 2019 William Hill Winemaker’s Series Malbec. *chef’s kiss*. Learn more about William Hill Winery on TripAdvisor.

William Hill Winery
10am Wine with a View at William Hill Winery

Baldacci Family Vineyards

Cave Tour at Baldacci Family Vineyards

Next stop was a short trip up Silverado Highway at Baldacci Family Vineyards. We started with a glass of bubbly on the terrace with a view of the estate vineyards. Thereafter, we toured the wine caves where it was nice and cool inside. Next, we headed inside of the estate for a wine and chocolate pairings. (And if case you are wondering, wine and chocolate are ALWAYS a solid pairing.) My husband was so impressed with the wines that he joined the Baldacci wine club…a rarity for him. Learn more about Baldacci Family Vineyards on TripAdvisor.

Baldacci Family Vineyards
Lobster Corn Dogs at Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar

Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar

For lunch, we headed south into downtown Napa and had lunch at the Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar at the Archer Hotel…swanky swanky swanky. While the lobster corn dog was quite interesting, the panoramic rooftop views of Napa Valley were the star of the show. And the wine menu did not disappoint: I am partial to Spanish wines but this was the first establihiment in Napa that I’ve visited that poured Tempranillo by the glass. *Tip of the Hat Salute* Learn more about Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar on TripAdvisor.

The view at Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar
Seven Apart Winery “Base Camp”

Seven Apart Winery “Base Camp”

Yes, there is a story behind the “Base Camp” title…but I will allow the sommelier to share it with you when you visit. And it is definitely worth the visit: the winery hosts only 3 tastings a day so I assure you that none of your friends have ever visited. With this in mind, book your visit well in advance.

We were fortunate to be invited to purchase the first allocation ever from Seven Apart with their 2018 wines – less than 1,000 people received this invitation. With that said, Seven Apart is a small production winery that focuses on quality (no “cut corners” is the owner’s saying) rather than quantity. And there is definitely a feeling of community here: the managing partner emails my husband every few months simply to check in. In all of our wine club experiences and my personal experiences as a sommelier, I have never encountered another estate manager who is so personal and attentive.

But let me be clear: Seven Apart does not make “weeknight wine”. It’s not a wine for a novice. These are complex wines suitable for an experience wine palette (read “wine snob” like me). With a price point of around $600 for three bottles (no single bottle sales), these are wines that require a bit of aging in a cellar…and good company to eventually savor them with in the future.

A note about the art and architecture…

If you are a fan of modern art and architecture, the Seven Apart estate is for you. Every piece of art in the estate is accompanied by a story. And plan on spending a little time pondering and discussing each piece of art – every one sees something different in each piece. The discussion of the artwork elevated our experience and made the tour even more memorable for me.

On another note, most wineries in Napa Valley will spend plenty of time talking about wine growing, harvesting, producing, and winemaking. But very few will talk to you about the business of wineries in Napa Valley. Our sommelier, Juliana, indulged us in a discussion of the dollars-and-cents side of winemaking as part of our tour at Seven Apart. Incredibly refreshing and insightful.

And in case you haven’t gleaned this yet, Seven Apart was my favorite tasting and tour of the entire trip.

Read my review of Seven Apart Wintery on TripAdvisor.

Seven Apart Winery “Base Camp”
Seven Apart Winery “Base Camp”
Seven Apart Winery “Base Camp”

Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse

Our final stop of the evening was at the Archer Hotel and Charlie Palmer Steakhouse. Charlie Palmer’s occupies the open-air lobby of the hotel resulting in a vibrant dining atmosphere. I was particularly captivated by the 3D topography map on Napa Valley along the wall.

Perhaps one of the most extensive wine menus in all of Napa, we opted from the 2019 Ghost Block Cabernet Sauvignon…sleek and sexy with no bite in the sides of the mouth. I started with Steak Tartar followed by Sea Scallops with Saffron Risotto. After a few more sips, sniffs, and swirls, this wine lover was ready to call it a night. Learn more about Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse on TripAdvisor.

A rare 2020 bottle that is drinkable due to the Napa wildfires. This 2020 Ghost Block Cabernet Sauvignon was smooth and sleek with no bite on sides of the mouth.
Steak Tartar at Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse
Sea Scallops with Saffron Risotto Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse

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