Busy busy summer so far. This Monday and Tuesday I’m doing a mini tour of downtown Napa with a super sweet gal and fellow writer that I met during the Do Napa downtown media tour, Jenna.
Both Jenna and I were impressed with the Meritage Resort renovations and tour that we say during the initial tour, so we wanted to go back, stay overnight and experience the spa of course! I personally think we would have been better off to stay over two nights, but they only comped us one. So we’ll just have to make do.
Monday, June 25
Check is wasn’t until the late afternoon, so I met Jenna at the Oxbow Public Market for some lunch and wine tasting. We elected to try out Ca’ Momi. Their lunch menu looked inviting and they have seating outside on the patio. Perfect.
I ordered an egg frittata panini, delish. And Jenna ordered the margherita pizza. Both were great. I did enjoy the wines, they weren’t my favorites, but good.
Next we went for more wine tasting. Spitting distance from the Oxbow is TASTE at Oxbow where they pour wines from Waterstone Winery. Excellent modern vibe in this tasting room, very chic. They have a super cool wine bar that is made of shattered wine bottle glass. I feel I must have this for my fantasy kitchen (that and a walk in wine cellar of course!).
Many wines here were tasting great. My favorite in particular is a wine called “A Study in Blue” a tribute to Miles Davis. Grab a bottle or 3 of this for sure!
It was about time to check in to the hotel, so we quickly went to the Meritage, checked in, changed clothes, then head back out, grabbing the courtesy shuttle back downtown Napa.
First on the list was John Anthonytasting room that sits next to the very urban-cool Avia Hotel. We missed this one during our last tour and now was our time to taste. I have to say I really liked most of their wines. They are excellent makers of Cabernet Sauvignon in general. Hats off. You won’t go wrong with any of their wines here.
Dinner was up next! We initially wanted to try Bistro Sabor, we heard a lot of positive things from locals, but alas, they are closed on Mondays. So we went to our second choice, Zuzu. And oh my am I happy we did. We cozied up to the bar and sat on the corner. Our bartender was extremely nice, helpful and fun. They are well known here for their tapas and paella. Everything we ordered we liked (and no we were not drunk). I took photos so I would remember what I ordered, but of course, I don’t remember what I took photos of!
We enjoyed our dinner and off we went to our final stop, Bounty Hunter. In our first visit we only stopped here for a single taste of wine and I’d been tweeting with them about our arrival today, so we had higher expectations with this visit.
We arrived and it was pretty busy. We grabbed the only two seats left at the bar in the back. Jenna and I identified ourselves and the bartender could have cared less. I tried to engage him in conversation and get wine recommendations from him…again, cared less. You can tell he just wanted me to place and order and let him get on with his business. I don’t know if it is because we were not locals or if he’s just a pompous jerk all the time. Well, we ordered, drank our wine and left with an unremarkable experience. Too bad, it has potential. But I will not be back. I’ll just keep to Back Room Wines and 1313 Main!
Tuesday, June 26
Another action packed day in Napa. We had massages scheduled for 9:30am, so Jenna and I met up for a light breakfast in the Meritage’s restaurant about 8. I was really looking forward to the massage. Spa Terrais the spa there and it is set back in the wine caves they share with Trinitas Cellars. The entire spa is in the cave…very unique! We relaxed in the hot tub and steam room first, then off we went to the relaxation room and waited for our names to be called.
I have had many many massages in my life and often times the first time with a new person is good, but not great. Much like sex with a new partner. You try to talk them through it to help them hit the right spots, but inevitably you leave a little unsatisfied. This is not the case here however. This massage rates in my top 3 for first time massages (the other two are Michaela at Union Retreat in SF and Taylor at Taylor Therapeutic). I was totally relaxed and completely worked over. I loved it!
After the work over, we went back to the steam and hot tub for a bit, showered up and sauntered over to the Trinitas Cellars tasting room… directly across the hall from Spa Terra. I can’t think of anything better… awesome massage followed up by spectacular wine tasting, 20 feet away. I really enjoy the wines at Trinitas. They know what they are doing. Everything from their Rose to their Cabs and blends. Really, I don’t think there a wine here I didn’t at least like. Taste, then buy a bottle and sit outside by the pool for complete and utter relaxation.
Of course, we were on a time limit, so we couldn’t relax. We had to taste and run. Oh how I wish I had that second nights stay so we could have truly experienced what a guest would experience. Oh well.
We had some resort comp yet to use, so we grabbed a lite bite at their cafe, and popped a squat at one of their patio tables by the pool. Gobbled up lunch then we had to part ways. Jenna had family to get back to and I had an appt up at Charbay to get to.
I met the folks at Charbay at a cool tasting event in SF at Jaspers a few weeks back. They not only make boutique wines but also spirits. We did a spirit tasting in our initial meeting, so now I was heading to the winery and distillery for a wine tasting. You drive through downtown St. Helena to get there, then turn off and drive up this wonderful winding road covered with trees and twists and turns, you’d swear you were driving to heaven. I come to learn that this area is called Spring Mountain Road and there are a bunch of little wineries up here. I’ll have to make a return trip to check them out. This trip I’m on a mission to get to Charbay.
I arrive and pull up the drive and am greeted by this guy named John. Everyone that works there is part of the family, literally. I think John said he was married to one of the family members. He gives me a tour and education on how things are made there.. then off to the mini wine tasting bar to sample their wines. My favorite by far was their Cabernet Sauvignon, not a cheap bottle of wine at near $50, but very tasty. A great treat! So I treated myself. My next treat will be a bottle of their Tapatio Tequila!
It was nearing rush hour, so I received instruction on how to take the back roads thru Napa to Sonoma and then continue on down south and west back to SF.
What a glorious few days indeed!