Thursday, September 17, 2009

the real deal, v.2

time for Part Duex of Evs and K's Full Napa Review!

(Part One, here)

The Small Wineries

we visited bunches of little wineries and overall, they were our favs! major highlights below, but if you're curious about the whole line-up, we tasted at:

Hall was an obvious favorite and we took being nerdals to a whole new extreme taking pictures with different "Hall" signs and bottles. and then of course, i took Nerdaldom one step further upon a surprise appearance by (the other) Kathryn Hall - the woman is fabulously gracious and i gave serious thought to swiping her freakin' adorable Cavelier King Charles Spaniel Coco. we also unknowingly visited Hall the day before the release of their 2006 Kathryn Hall Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (rated a 96 by Wine Spectator) and recieved a covert taste of the goods after sweet-talking the barista and signing ourselves up for the quarterly wine clue (how could we not?). with only 500 bottles in production, we are now the proud owners of two! Hall's motto is Crazy Good Cabs and they ain't lyin'.

Frog's Leap was both of our favorite wineries overall - wine, grounds, personality of our server, etc. we were able to taste on a huge wrap-around porch looking out over a fruit and veggie garden boasting the biggest squash and pumpkins i've ever seen in person. Frog's Leap is a certified LEED organic winery and the goods from their garden are sold every week at the farmer's market (leftovers come back for an employee free-for-all... ie: working there might just be my dream job).

Turnbull was a very quaint little winery with excellent wine and the best freakin' mustard i've ever tasted. seriously, we demolished the entire sample bowl with pretzels - i can't wait for our jar to make its way to Texas with our wine!

Duckhorn just had overall fabulous wines. and, again, beautiful. like Frog's Leap, you could taste on a huge porch but, alas, it was all full. we did snap one of my favorite trip pics of the two of us on the patio... actually, to be precise, some lovely ladies who worked for GAP Corp. took it for us... and i promptly told them that i was a GAP Brand Enthusiast... and then we talked about how i was wearing Real Straight Born to Fit jeans... and how i loved my navy striped favorite fit tee... obviously, the entire porch was enthralled.

Cakebread - love their wines / was not a huge fan of our tasting... mostly because our "wine enthusiast" was a complete toolbag, and also a little bit because there was a man in our group who i would bet my bottom dollar was a pedofile. oh, and Cakebread believes in "responsible tasting," so the pours were less than 1 oz. not to be a total lush, but come on dudes, its Napa!

Hope & Grace - H&G was the site of our first and only tasting in one of the tasting rooms (sans vineyard) in town (Yountville). it was also our very first tasting and we had a superb experience with iwishicouldrememberhernameshewassupernice. then KY Couple (the state, not the jelly) joined us, decked out in Tommy Bahama and boasting a wine cellar spreadsheet... and the ambience went a bit South.

Peju - please refer to the photo of the girl molesting the bronze sleeping lady. there are others. of Evs. but i'm not that mean.

Alpha Omega - good wine, pretty new tasting room, nice fountains.

Ceja - see v.1

San Francisco

being the super-smarties that we are, we decided to take the Red Eye home to Dallas (12:30 am departure time) so that we could enjoy a full day exploring the Bay City. actually, since i didn't post the statue-molestation-photos, i am going to go ahead and say this was all Evs' idea. good in theory / not-so-good when it rains off and on all day and you have no plans besides walking down the bay and no hotel room to seek shelter in.

we started out on a good note - brunch at Perry's with great views of the Bay Bridge. we explored the Ferry Building with all its fabulous smelling and tasting and looking market stalls (cheese and bread and herbs and fungi, oh my!), and then walked the miles down to Fisherman's Wharf to watch the sea lions (i freakin' love the sea lions).

right about the time we discovered a chocolate festival winding down in Ghiradelli Square (big-time bummer), the drizzle began. and continued. we sought dry respite at a "wine bar" back in Fisherman's Wharf... um, yeah, no. i think the cab they poured Evs was a cousin of battery acid. i got the better end of the deal with overpriced crappy bubbly. dinner at Cafe Kuleto served us better - we went home damp (on a delayed flight) but with tummies full of good food!

to sum up - Napa was badass. underscore. exclaimation point.


  1. I had a great experience at Cakebread 6 years ago. James and I went back about 4 years ago and it was miserable..they seemed too uppity (is that a word??)
    Love the Duckhorn porch. BEAUTIFUL and relaxing.

    Glad you all had a great time. We're thinking of a trip out to CA, but we're going to do Sonoma and the RR this time.

  2. So if I ever decide to go to Napa, I'm basically going to consult your last 2 posts! Thanks for sharing and for all of the pictures!

    By the way, the sweater/sweatshirt you have on in some of your Napa and San Fran pics is ADORABLE!! It looks incredibly comfortable but is stylish! Love it!

  3. Boooooo to responsible tasting. Um you're on VACATION. It's Napa, indeed!

    then KY Couple (the state, not the jelly) joined us, decked out in Tommy Bahama and boasting a wine cellar spreadsheet... and the ambience went a bit South. LOVE this. Sounds miserable, but we can giggle at your misfortunes now.

  4. So pretty! We have been dying to go on a Napa trip- I see it in our near future :)

  5. Such fun! I just got married, and I'm already thinking that Napa would be the perfect spot to celebrate our first year anniversary. And you bet I'll be coming back to your posts for tips. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Frog's Leap is one of our faves as well! Our last visit was almost 5 years ago so happy to hear they're still wow'ing their guests. We so need to get out there again!

    I grew up about 45 minutes from Napa (an hour or so from SF) and miss it tremendously. Seeing your pics eased my homesickness a bit - thank you!

    Glad to hear you had a great time!

  7. amazing, amazing, amazing. utter perfection. you look completely in your element. i can't wait to hear all about it in detail AND i need a FOOD recap STAT!!!

    Love the pic of you at the Hall winery!!


  8. B is from San Fran and used to work at Ghiradelli! He used to tell me how they would have to go into dark rooms with no sound or sight and just taste the new flavors and write down all the tastes and smells they experienced. Yes please.

  9. your pics are making me wish i liked wine so i could go! :)

  10. I am glad to know Frog's Leap is good to people other than me. Once at a work lunch, my boss assigned me the task of picking the wine (I give off an air of class, obvs) and I picked Frog's Leap. Everyone who drank it said it was good, but I thought they were all lying to me (I may or may not have been drunk).

    I am more than a little jealous of your trip. Looks like you guys had a great time (except at the "responsible" tasting...BORING)

  11. I ADORE Kuleto! My girlfriends and I go there every time we make a trip up to San Fran...great memories :) It looks like you guys had an awesome trip.

    P.S. I'm not sure that I've ever posted a comment here, but I love your blog and read it daily!


  12. So glad you had such a fabulous time! It was awesome to read about!

    And I have so seen those sea lions before! Well probably not those exact ones...but it was at those spot so maybe :)

  13. I love Cakebread, even if they are overpriced in my opinion. Love your pics!

  14. SO AWESOME! I see you wore JCrew's new fall line on your trip and looked fab!

  15. Ahhh I want to make a trip to napa now! :) I don't know if they would like my lush little self though, I do like the heavy hand... when pouring wine of course! :) ha ha. I don't know why but I just cracked myself up. Anyways, glad you had the most awesome trip and hope that all your wine makes it safely home to you!

    Too bad SF was kind of a bummer, seeing that picture of you by the bay bridge reminded me of when I ran there. :)

  16. Glad you made it to Duckhorn! Did you get to have yummy little snacks during your tasting??

    You've inspired me to bust open this lovely Napa Cab this weekend that I've been saving for who's know what.

  17. Napa looks so pretty! I'm loving the recapping...

  18. Jealous!! Jealous!! Jealous!! Jealous!! Jealous!!
    Looks so awesome, I love the pics!

  19. It looks like so much fun!! The small wineries at Napa are by far the best. I'm sorry your SF day got rained out tho!

  20. I LOVE Frog's Leap! Such a great winery, not to mention the great wine!

  21. Ok so basically you're trying to crush my soul by saying that cakebread was lame and chiarello was a douche. Kidding. Bummer though - I had a WONDERFUL experience at cakebread in 2006. I almost purchased a bottle of Hall cab at HEB today - inspired by your cute post. Then I snapped out of it. I can only justify $30 bottles live from nappa. A $30 HEB purchase isnt as rewarding somehow.

    Cant wait to get back there!

  22. I love your husband- he always looks so ridiculously happy in the pictures you take of him. He has a great smile!

    And how pretty are you? I'm so jealous, so jealous, so jealous- I want to go to Napa so badly!

  23. Looks like you had a grand time in SF! Love all your vacay pics! :)


happy little comments!