3 girls, 2 days, 9 wineries, 1 chance encounter with MASAHARU MORIMOTO (details to come tomorrow! Early details – I cried.) and too many sips of vino to count, means Napa was a smashing success!
There’s nothing like a little girlfriend time to rejuvenate the soul – especially with these two, Natalie and Lindsey. We’ve been on several vacations together throughout the years since meeting in college, and always have a blast no matter where we go.
Send us on a wine-tasting weekend to Napa Valley, California though, and the fun really gets turned up a notch!!
It’s hard to imagine taking back a hearty Napa Cabernet so early in the morning, so this sparkling, “mimosa” feeling stop felt like the perfect way to start our day.
Mumm is located on a breathtaking plot of land in Rutherford, about 15 minutes north of Napa, and offers tours plus tastings, or just tastings on their gorgeous outdoor patio with killer views.
The wine tasting experience at Mumm is unusual not just because they serve sparkling wine, but also because they have table-side service on the patio, almost like a restaurant, rather than standing up at a tasting bar. We really liked that! (Please notice the soul searing stare from the gentleman in pink.)
After settling into our seats underneath the morning sun, we ordered a “house” trio of Mumm sparkling wines in 3oz pours for $18.
Our server poured, and we sipped from left to right – driest to sweetest – with a Rose in the center. I loved all three (obvi) but actually preferred the dry over the sweet, which is unusual for me!
We got to chatting with our server, and he brought out a fourth Rose for us to try – a specialty of the house. We found this to be a common event with most of the wineries we visited. The more you chat and get to know the people working at the wineries, the more they are willing (and want!) to let you try more, delicious wines. Mumm is a MUST visit in Napa – and be sure to visit their website for printable 2-for-1 coupons before you go!
We were undecided about where to go next, so our driver, Ivo (lurve), suggested we go to Peju, about 10 minutes away.
Peju is a family-run winery started by a husband and wife team, that is now run by their two daughters.
The driveway leading into the winery sits beneath a long archway of shady trees, parallel to the grape vines bordered with TONS of sunflowers. I could hardly stand it!
Peju’s tasting room is wide-open, bright and airy. We had fun chatting with the ladies up front before bellying up to the tasting bar with Jeff, our wine tasting guide.
Jeff walked us through 4 of Peju’s wine offerings, for $15 (if I’m remembering right!)
Napa is known for their red wines, but each winery we went to poured at least 1 Sauvignon Blanc to start the tastings for the white wine fans (me.) This was one of the best I had all weekend.
As I mentioned, chatting = more wine. Jeff was a GEM, and ended up giving us tastes of 8 different Peju wines, which were some of the best of all the wineries we visited.
Especially the Provence wine, which is a “white wine drinker’s red wine, and a red wine drinker’s white wine.” Delish! Even Lindsey liked it and she is a die hard red wine fan.
Be sure to check out the 50 foot tower upstairs at Peju, if you go, for views like this!
After Peju we stopped off at Oakville Grocery, an adorable “gourmet” market and deli nearby, which sells hot and cold sandwiches for lunch (I had a hot chicken, bacon, and caramelized onion sandwich – TO DIE.) This was the perfect stop because it was quick and affordable.
We were going to stop at nearby Dean & Deluca, but it would have been 10x busier, plus this place was oozing Napa charm. I highly recommend!
Our third and second to last stop of the day after lunch was at Jessup Cellars in Yountville. Lindsey had heard great things about their wine and tasting room before we left, and Ivo confirmed it was a must try.
Although Jessup Cellars are not located on a vineyard, rather in the shabby-chic town of Yountville (home of French Laundry!) their tasting room is beautiful and intimate. They also have a bigger room for parties, and places to sit down and sip.
For $20, the girls and I sipped our way through 5 different wines with our tasting guide, Bay.
Bay seriously made this visit – he was so awesome, and his Dad makes yurts. ‘Nuf said.
I enjoyed the Petite Syrah best here. BTW Syrah and Shiraz are the same thing, however Petite Syrah (or Shiraz) is a different grape!
At every winery or cellar we visited, we made sure to ask our guides what their favorite wineries were. Who knows better than the locals, right? Bay circled several to visit, but we had to choose just one before our car service ran out. Regusci Winery it was!
Regusci is a big medieval castle feeling place that sits on a HUGE vineyard with views that made me want to pinch myself. Their tasting room is long and cozy, and I loved the little touches like fresh flowers in – wait for it – MASON JARS everywhere!
At this point we had been tasting wine all day and were deeply involved in girl talk (aka babbling our faces off,) so we didn’t get to talk too much to our wine tasting guide (who was busy with several other visitors – it wasn’t like we were ignoring her.)
It was a more casual vibe anyhow, so she came over to refill our glasses and fill us in on the winery’s history every 10 minutes or so. It was perfect!
We finished our last tasting on their enormous, elevated back patio. It was like a dream. I definitely recommend Regusci not only for the wine, but the atmosphere. Just beautiful.
After Recusci, Ivo whisked us home where we promptly crashed, then headed out for dinner at Uva, a chill Italian restaurant with terrific food (and half portions, which is key) and live music. Day 1 was a BLAST, and Day 2 might have been even better (see previous note re: meeting Morimoto. I can’t even…ahh!) Details to come tomorrow!