Here’s the background on me and Napa.
It was already end of April and I started to get desperate about not being able to go to Napa. I don’t really drive so I Don’t have a car. It was basically impossible for me to go to Napa…unless I hired a tour. The only thing is, the tours start from San Francisco, and just getting to San Francisco on the train would take me 2 1/2 hours. I had mid-June to look forward to, when I would be in SF for a couple of days, then I could probably take a day tour. I wasn’t willing to wait that long.
I was lucky that my teacher mentioned that we should get our asses down to Napa. My classmate suggested we should go and I basically invited myself (and offered to pay for half the gas).
Finally, the day came. My friend was supposed to swing by for me at 8:30am but just when you’re looking forward to something, something bad happens. My friend, unfortunately, got into a minor car accident. She was okay, thankfully. She picked me up after 15 minutes of telling me that she got into an accident and we were on our way, until her mother told her to fix her car before we got there…which was the best idea. It was safer if she got her car fixed. We found a great car shop near me and the guy fixed it so quick and not that expensive. We were a little anxious that our trip started with a dent but we were easy going people.
We were finally on our way. We missed our first appointment at Failla winery but it turned out, we didn’t have a reservation. Our reservation got mixed with our classmate’s reservation who was going the day after. We just decided to take it easy and meet her friend in downtown Napa.
My friend pointed out the Wine Spectator headquarters.
Not going to lie, I would like to work for them someday. I’m really interested in food and wine writing. I could be their Asian correspondent or something. *Coughs* Attention Wine Spectator!
The view was amazing. Even downtown Napa was pretty cool. It was small and quaint. We met her friends at downtown Napa and her friends took us to the house they were living in, where the owner of the house set us up with an appointment at Artessa Winery!
The lady (Gina) turned out to be a CIA Grad!!!! She was so nice and we definitely connected since we were both CIA. She was super nice and she used to be Wolfgang Puck’s executive Chef.
She drove us to Artessa and when I saw it, I almost cried. It was so beautiful…all the beautiful vines, greenery, barrels and wine. I’ve always told myself I didn’t want to get married but when I saw the property, I wanted to get married just so I can get married on the property.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bratney/7192586978/" title="Napa Adventure by gigiv, on Flickr"<img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/7192586978_6ae5674b51_b.jpg" width="678" height="1024" alt="Napa Adventure"></a>
FYI, Parellada is a grape they use in Spanish Cava, along with Xarello and other grapes.
Isn’t it so pretty?
This is their entrance to the viewdeck.
This is what you see from there.
We had a free tasting which was great. My friend and I were spitting out the wines just so we wouldn’t get drunk (like in class). We were used to that kind of tasting. I’m sure people found it weird that we were spitting it out instead of drinking them. Their Pinot Noir was so good!
We didn’t have another appointment after Artessa so we decided to take our chances at Domaine Carneros which is owned by Taittinger.
Getting in, was like coming back to France. Check out their Chateau.
The place was packed!!! I’m glad we found a table. My friend pulled out her business card and I pulled out my student ID, and guess what? Free tastings I guess. The guy treated us so well. He was definitely kind and accommodating. He gave us a lot of stuff to taste.
We definitely just enjoyed hanging out on the patio, drinking sparkling wine, like these people. By this time, we were no longer spitting the tastings out. So yeah, I was starting to get buzzed.
We shared a cheese plate to tide us over until dinner. We definitely were not going to spoil our appetites for dinner. We had a reservation at Oenotri where one of my CIA classmates worked. I saw the menu the day before, and let’s just say, I was looking forward to that dinner.
More champagnes and wines…
Their Famous Gate Pinot Noir was pretty good. I bought a bottle.
We then made our way out of their to get to our dinner appointment at Downtown Napa on time which was at 5:20pm. My friend told me that the place was always packed so we were definitely not going to take risks in missing that appointment.
We still had time to spare so my friend offered to show me Silverado which had the view of all the wineries that we learned of in class. It was so beautiful, I wanted to cry.
We got to Oenotri and my friend popped up from behind me with her 7 month old baby, Karlten!!
This couple has a special place in my heart because they met through me (accidentally). I was glad they got along like a house on fire but I was even more pleased to see them married and have a baby.
This is little Karlten. Isn’t he adorable? Check out those baby blues.
I don’t carry babies but he kept reaching out to me so I had to carry him. It was surprisingly pleasant. He was lighter than I expected. He kept touching my face which I was okay with then he started squirming which got me paranoid so I gave him back (in case I Dropped him). I have a reputation for being a klutz even if I’m pretty athletic and coordinated (dance and team sports).
My friend got us a table by the kitchen (Thanks Dan!!) and he hooked us up with a Prosecco to start. Thank you again! I did not hold back with ordering. I got the Cresta di Gallo with asparagus. It was amazing. It was just supposed to be for myself but it was so good I had to share it.
My friend and I planned to get a bottle to match our main course (For educational purposes) so we asked my friend Dan for a recommendation. He gave us this Chianti Classico which was perfect for chosen course, in this case, porchetta. Mmmmmm. The porchetta entree was a mixture of salty, tender, bitter, sweet. I couldn’t have eaten that thing faster. The Chianti Classico brought out a lot of characteristics of the porchetta dish. It actually made it less salty and made the juices in the pork stand out.
By this time, my friend and I were smashed.
Did we stop here?
No, we certainly did not.
We decided to split the dessert and finish off the course with a dessert wine. They only had two options on the menu so we asked my friend he could recommend. He offered a Vin Santo which converted me to food and wine pairing at CIA. I definitely encouraged my friend to get it.
Needless to say, my friend enjoyed it and so did her two other friends who were not wine drinkers at all. I think it’s safe to say that we converted them into the magic of food and wine world.
So, thanks Dan and Min for that amazing dinner!
See you again soon!
And yes Napa, I hope to see you again soon.