Here’s to the great Napa Valley

It’s been said that when a digital clock reflects the image of 11:11, you should close your eyes and make a wish. Serendipity abounds. Our visit to Napa Valley in April was everything we could have wished for, and more. The experience from start to finish was magical. If you’ve had the privilege of winning one of the many trips provided by Auctioneer Dean McCurry for many of Arlington’s Charity Auctions, then you are bound to know. If not, bid higher. Dean does a remarkable job, but that is only the beginning.

Our lodging was at the “Napa Farmhouse” on Dry Creek Road just outside of Yountville. This spacious house included two living areas, two dining areas, a well-appointed kitchen, three bedrooms and three bathrooms with a natural rock pool and hot tub just off the back deck. The grounds were perfectly manicured with roses, tropical plants and grape vineyards as far as the eye could see. The setting was peaceful and relaxing.

At Eleven Eleven Winery we were welcomed to our tasting by Jordan, who had prepared a beautiful setting complete with fresh flowers along the center of our table. No surprise: both the wine and the experience were extraordinary. After all, it was Eleven Eleven signifying a special moment in time. Dinner our first night was at Bistro Jeanty. A quaint French restaurant in the center of downtown Yountville. No disappointment on the food or the service.

 

With her good friends Brad and Judy Rupay, Brian Liu of Chase Cellars and her husband Scott, Reba Blevens recently experienced the greatness that is NAPA Valley.

Day two began with a call from our driver for the day, Pat Hennessey. He made sure we were comfortable and was quick to offer to take pictures for us at each of our stops. The first vineyard was recommended by the concierge that helped us with our arrangements. The James Cole Winery was beautifully landscaped and very inviting. We enjoyed a private tasting on the patio since the weather was a perfect 74°. Our next stop was for lunch at the Mustard Grill. Fortunately, we’d made reservations because this place was in high demand. The Mending Wall was our destination after lunch. Our favorite from the tasting at this vineyard was a 2015 Red Zinfandel, Mortar and Stone. Of course, we brought a couple of bottles home!

The afternoon included a stop at Woodhouse Chocolates and the Model Bakery for “Oprah’s Favorite English Muffins.” Both were worth stopping for! Our last stop of the day was Chase Cellars just north of St. Helena. Our host, Brian Liu, and the owner, Kate Hayne Simpson, could not have been more gracious. I found my favorite Rose’ here, along with several beautiful reds. Our evening ended with a wonderful dinner at Bouchon, sister restaurant to the infamous French Laundry in Napa.

We spent two more days exploring Napa Valley. Tastings included the historic HESS Vineyards, Domain Chandon, O’Brien Estates, Domain Carneros, and Cuvasion. We enjoyed Sunday Brunch at Auberge, where the view was absolutely breathtaking and the service was impeccable. We were even treated to a chef-prepared meal in the comfort of our home from Blossoms and Chef Nate that included appetizers of caviar and ahi

tuna, a salad of baby greens and trout, homemade pasta with a lemon saffron sauce, and a beautifully prepared steak with a dessert of chocolate and strawberries as the finale.

All in all, we had a wonderful trip and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of the vineyards or restaurants we visited. We all left a little piece of ourselves behind with hopes of returning soon.