Mediterranean climate in Northen California: Napa Valley: Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga. During the early 1970s there were about 50 wineries in Napa Valley, today roughly 525. Astonishing growth in a region I would call paradise. Cool marine mornings heat into warmth by lunch. And it’s like this April-November. Perfect for grapes and perfect for enjoying the horticultural science and poetry of wine making.
Day 1: lemony ricotta pancakes (Alexis Bakery in Napa- so so very good), divinely chocolatey crispy chewy and goey dark chocolates from Oxbow Market.
Winery: Hendry Winery grows 11 varietals and exclusively uses French oak barrels ($1000-1200 each) on 118 acres owned by one family since 1939. If you can only go to one winery, consider Hendry a wonderful 1st choice. No marketing wordsmithing, just smarts, instinct and hard work by a man who is both a farmer and scientist.
Boutique winery: Vitner’s Collection in Napa selects small wineries and offers wines only available from this region. Wonderful experience.
Evangeline: Creole French in Calistoga. Delicious but we had to have a reason to drive 40 minutes in the early evening hours through Napa to Calistoga to see and smell the vines. This is harvest season and the smell wafts through the valley.
We’ve explored the Tuscan region of Italy many years ago but this 2nd visit to Napa really reminds us to swish, swirl and take in the aromatics of bottled poetry everyday.
Sorting through stems and leaves
2 year old Pinot Noir grapes