Afternoon in Napa, CA

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A few months ago, I received the exciting news that my cousin and his wife are going to be having a baby girl in July! I was invited to the baby shower – the catch? It’s in Napa, California a.k.a wine country! Of course, I absolutely could not say no to this opportunity to visit my cousins and see Napa. One of my best college friends, Diego, lives in San Francisco, so I stayed with him and he came to Napa with me for the day. It was a great day of pretending to be rich, classy, and famous.

There was a bit of trouble with my rental car in the morning and I ended up having to book a different car at the last second – that was extremely stressful since I was worried that I’d miss the shower, but my worries melted away when we found one in time… and it was a Mustang.

I really enjoyed the drive to Napa Valley – San Francisco is famously foggy, so I loved when we crossed the Bay Bridge into the sunshine! Unfortunately, CA is in a drought right now, so hopefully the sunshine doesn’t last for too much longer, though I do admit that I enjoyed the weather.

After a lovely baby shower and seeing said cousins, it was time to go wine tasting with Diego! I don’t know anything about wine; I’m more of a beer/whiskey gal when it comes to alcohol, which I rarely drink. We stayed in the Carneros region so that we could do three things in the afternoon without moving around too much. First stop – Cuvaison Estate Winery.

Dark picture of us, but look at that view at Cuvaison!
Dark picture of us, but look at that view at Cuvaison!

The staff was so friendly and made us feel very welcome and relaxed. Like I said, I’m not into wine at all, but I did quite like one of their pinot noirs, and it was fun doing a comparative tasting, which I haven’t really done before. Diego really liked the zinfandel and ended up buying a bottle; that one was pretty good, too!

After that, we sat and soaked in the view (even though it was pretty windy, brrr). We had another half hour before our second tasting, so we decided to go for a drive with the top down and take in the scenery! I loved watching the rolling hills go by – Napa really is a beautiful place. We also saw a lot of super fancy cars! We fit in a little bit with our rental Mustang, but there were a lot of even fancier ones that went by.

Next up was our tasting at Domaine Carneros. This place is one of the more famous wineries in Napa and is known for its sparkling wine. Therefore, we did the sparkling wine flight (as well as a cheese pairing!)

A very squinty Diego with our sparkling wine flight! My favorite was the one on the left, the brut
A very squinty Diego with our sparkling wine flight! My favorite was the one on the left, the brut

I really enjoyed all of them – I’m a lightweight when it comes to wine. I’ll drink whiskey neat, but I gravitate toward fruitier wines, so this sparkling flight was right up my alley. Maybe one day I’ll get better at appreciating wine… 🙂 One thing I did appreciate, however, was the cheese plate. I love cheese! There was one called “Midnight Moon” which was an aged goat cheese that I was absolutely crazy about. Diego actually went and picked himself up some at Whole Foods later.

Lastly, it was dinner time!

Salmon at the Farm at Carneros Inn
Salmon at the Farm at Carneros Inn

Seemingly every restaurant in the Napa winery area is at least semi-fancy; Farm is less formal, but still $$$. It was a very nice experience nonetheless. You heard me before that I’m not a wine person; well, I ordered a cocktail instead of one of the local wines by the glass. Even still, I loved sipping on my honey old fashioned (one of the best cocktails that I’ve had in my short drinking career). Diego got something from a local winery. The food was rather nice as well – you can see in the picture how beautifully the salmon is plated. We also shared a chocolate dessert which was great as well.

Key takeaways: I loved my time here! I think I’ll definitely need to come back in about 10 years when I have more money at my disposal (student loans? what are those?) and maybe appreciate wine a little bit more. 🙂

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