Saturday, May 2, 2009

Napa Valley Day 1

Day 1 Monday

Breakfast in downtown Napa at a little restaurant/juice bar. Organic food and fresh squeezed juice. Mark got apple, and I got carrot beet. I figured that counted as my nutrition for the week, so felt entitled to guilt-free eating the rest of our time here! Woo Hoo! I got an egg sandwich and Mark got the famous trio - scrambled eggs, sausage and pancakes.

We started at the wineries nearest the resort since we had massages at noon! The area is Carneros and it is at the lowest sea level since it is furthest south, and the weather there is a little cooler, so this region is known for white wines. It's hard to believe that just driving a few miles north would change the grapes so much! Our first is a winery known for it's champagne, Domaine Carneros. I recognized the blue and gold bottle, and this wine is available throughout the US. It was a beautiful winery with gorgeous grounds. It is the only one we had time for before our massage.

Our massage experience - we went straight to the spa at the resort where we were staying to spend some time in the whirlpool and steam room before our couple's massage. The spa itself is a cave with vineyards above it. The whirlpool in the ladies area was beautiful and soothing, with a stone wall that had water running down over it. The steam room was very pretty as well. After meeting Mark in the common area, another beautiful room, we went on to our couple's massage. There were chocolates and champagne by the whirlpool tub, which had lots of places for the bubbles to come out rather than a few strong jets. The bottom of the jacuzzi had different color lights that would shine through the water and the bubbles, very cool! We had a while to spend together before our couple's massage would start. What a great way to relax before our massage! Then our hour massage. It's funny how each place I have been to does things a little different, adding their own touch. The way they massaged my hands was different, and something that I liked was the way they wrapped the towel around my head when I was laying on my back. It kept my hair out of my face and felt snug. They took the towel and the bottom edge that ran under my neck was wrapped across the side of my head, over my ears and forehead. At the end of the massage, they twisted/pulled my hair in the towel which felt really good. It is similar to when you wrap your hair in a towel after your shower, only different. The lady who gave me my massage was very, very good. What a great way to start off this part of our vacation!

Then we went to Oakville Grocery for a quick, late lunch on our way to Robert Mondavi. We grabbed a coffee there, too! We ate on picnic tables on the grounds and shared a table with a couple from Mexico City. They had just arrived in Napa also. We told them about the tour at Mondavi, and to our surprise, they ended up going there also! The Mondavi tour was better than I thought, even with all the great reviews! I learned so much, the tour guide was funny, and the wine tasting included a bite of lamb burger. Lamb and wine, I didn't ever think about how well they compliment each other. After we left Mondavi, we went to V. Sattui. It was good, and we bought a dessert wine there. It had very pretty grounds as well. On to St. Supery and bought a red and a white there. My favorite white up until that point was at St. Supery. I'm not a big white drinker, but the buttery undertones at the end of the sip are very noticeable in Napa wines. Most of their wines were a little higher in price, but I really liked many of the wines I tasted there. Peju is next door, so we stopped in there also. They had some great art, a huge stained glass scene from a church, and cool sculptures on the grounds, too. It is a private, smaller winery, and a bit more pricey, but had very hearty reds.

We walked around Calistoga, a quaint little town in northern part of Napa. There were cute boutiques and a bookstore that had a nice selection of books you aren't used to seeing often. We were searching for just the right restaurant to match our relaxed mood. We left Calistoga and headed south, planning on stopping by a few restaurants our concierge had recommended. The first one we came to was 25 Brixs. We decided that was the one. The decor was very cool, modern, but rustic and cozy. Our table had a couch on one side,very comfortable. The windows had beautiful views. Our cute waiter was friendly and helpful on picking not only the right entree, but of course the wine to go with it. He also recommended some wineries he thought we would enjoy. The food was unbelievable! They paid close attention to quality and many of the items were organic. We started off with olive flatbread baked in the pizza oven - and made with very fresh olives. We split a beef dish that was awesome, and ended with an apple crisp dessert. There was plenty of food, and we lingered over the meal, so it was quite late when we left. The food was truly outstanding! Five Stars!

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