Day 3 arrived and we couldn’t believe we had to keep up this pace for another day, but we plowed ahead and started the day at Zahtila, a small-production winery in Calistoga owned by Laura Zahtila. Then we had a quiet meal at the famous Auberge du Soleil, where we soaked in the views and had a three-course brunch that filled us up. We had to cancel an appointment at Castello di Amorosa and made our way to Duckhorn, where we enjoyed their “Food for Thought” wine and food pairing experience with Senior Wine Educator, Abigail Thompson. We ended the day all aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, which runs along Hwy 29 from Napa to St. Helena and back. By the end of the day, we crashed again, this time at the quaint Napa River Inn.
Zahtila: Laura and her soon-to-be husband Michael welcomed us with open arms. We tasted their wines, toured the small operations, talked about the industry and living in Calistoga, and got to see racking in action. We even tasted an 2009 Estate Zin out of the fermentation tank. And it tasted pretty damn good. Give it a couple years, and we will want to buy this bottle when it’s released.
Auberge du Soleil: We started on the bar-side terrace with a shrimp cocktail and wine. Then we switched over to the restaurant for brunch. For $55/person, you receive a cocktail (bloody mary, mimosa, bellini, kir royale, or sparkling wine), a first course, an entree, and a dessert. We thought this was a pretty good deal. The homemade breads and jam alone seemed worth the cost! If you’re looking for a way to enjoy one of the best views in the area, but don’t want to spend a fortunate doing it, Saturday brunch is the way to go. We could have spent all afternoon, sitting on the terrace, sipping on wine.
Duckhorn: After Auberge, we didn’t think we could possibly eat any more, so when we found out Duckhorn had planned their “Food for Thought” Experience for us and we saw the menu, we freaked out a little because we were so stuffed. Thankfully, the food was in bite-sized portions and delicious. But this was really about the wine–and the pairing. We tasted wines from Duckhorn as well as their Goldeneye label. All of them were great, so it was hard to choose which to buy. We ended up taking the Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Goldeneye Pinot Noir.
Wine Train: Albeit a bit touristy for our taste, We enjoyed the train ride, the views, the ability to count all the drunk drivers getting pulled over off of Hwy 29 (Don’t Do It!). Hanging out in the dessert car, sipping on tea and coffee and eating scrumptious crème brûlée and tiramisu, while watching the sun set behind all the vines and hills, was a beautiful moment, and a nice way to end our three-day stay in Napa.
Napa River Inn: Situated along the Napa River and in the Historic Napa Mill, a National Registered Landmark built in 1884, the Napa River Inn feels like a Bed and Breakfast with the amenities of a larger hotel. One of the best parts of our stay was breakfast-in-bed Sunday morning. We were able to choose from options, and the scones and bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on croissiants that arrived the next morning totally hit the spot. We wish we would have had more time to sit on our balcony and have a glass a wine and take in city views. Another time.