Napa Vacation - Day 3, mostly

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tiny sunbeams peeked through the curtains, taunting us from our slumber. The near distant hills serenading us like mermaids, calling us to their delicious grape fields. We had lofty plans of waking early to get in a swim workout, but no one wanted to pull from sleep.

My phone started chirping and it was my daily morning photo of Mari. She was already dressed and out and about for the day. She was spending time with her Nina and Nana and looked like she was having a ball. I stretched and my belly was still happy from last night's gluttony. Primo had said that he wanted to be out earlier today because it was going to be our most aggressive day. Also, today was hat day. I didn't bring a hat because I don't really have one. Instead, I packed my tiara. When I bought it for the wedding, I hoped that I would get to wear it more than just that day, and I have worn it about a dozen times already. Fun! Fun! Anyway, I lazily got out of bed, leisurely went down to eat some breakfast, and after getting gas, we were off and away.

Again, it was chilly in the morning, but we knew it would warm up. First stop was Silver Oak. It was a beautiful drive out there. I love how the morning greets the day, fresh and new. Again, I was taken by the scenery to want to do anything but zone out and drive. Gorgeous! We arrive and the large wooden doors seem a little daunting, and the dark, mood lighting in the winery makes for an intimate setting. But the smile from the lady pouring the wine was so welcoming and all of the sudden, the setting changes. We were giddy and we knew that today was going to be a SPECIAL day.
I love how the wines are smiling at us, really detailing how rich and full-bodied Silver Oak really is. I've had it before we came here and wasn't disappointed. I was expecting pretension and waht I got was far from. I was definitely pleasantly surprised by the experience. And moments later, we were off.

Next up, we went into the hills of the valley and when I thought we might've been lost, wondering, where ARE we going, when we arrived: Joseph Phelps Winery. Captivating and mesmerizing can't begin to describe the beauty of this place. I had tingles when we turned the corner and saw this. Could you imagine if that was your backyard? Seriously, gorgeous. I immediately fell in love and the light in the area was gorgeous. The tasting was held outside on the terrace and I spent all of time snapping photos. These pics are SOOC, no edits whatsoever.
Mmm...these were all of the wines that we tasted. I liked the dessert wine, because it was sweet, but it was one of the other more full-bodied wines, the $200 a bottle Insignia, that I preferred. No, we didn't buy one. We were perfectly happy with the taste.
Next up, was Mumm Napa. I was starting to get a bit of a headache because hunger was kicking in. This was a sparkling wine spot and on the outside, it looked like there might've been food. We were seated and immediately, they gave us crackers. I hoped they gave us fruit and cheese, but that was for a separate tasting area, so the crackers would do. We were connected with one of the friendliest women we would see during our trip. She was like an old fashioned southern woman, oozing gobs and gobs of hospitality. Delilah generously poured us our tastings and then hooked us up with a few extras. AND she gifted Stacy and I with a fun wine bracelet straight off their DVX bottle (which we were able to taste both the 2000 and 2001 variety.
I took a short break, to visit the ladies room, but then found myself in their fine art gallery. I saw some wonderful photography completely shot on film and that is what inspired me to do this post with all shots SOOC (straight out of the camera). Sidenote: The first one of me, the self-portrait, is cropped and the coloring is adjusted, but all of the rest are. Anyway, I browsed their entire gallery alone and it was so cathartic for me. This trip was definitely allowing me the most time to myself that I have had in nearly a year and a half. I did a lot of thinking, a lot of praying, a lot of assessing, and giving thanks for my blessings. The whole experience yanked on my creative strings and I scurried back after my sojourn to really enjoy the rest of the day. They had an amazing sale and while there, I picked up a shirt for both Mari and Me. Oh, and I fell in love with Ansel Adam's Moonrise.

Next, we headed back in town to Beaulieu. As soon as you walked in, they handed a glass of wine to you and directed you over towards the tasting area. I didn't want to participate in this tasting, so I wandered off and snapped some photos.
Of course, the boys didn't pass up the opportunity to partake. Yes, it was a quick stop, but why not, right? At least that's what Carlos thought.
I did like how all of the labels from the wine made an interesting pattern on the wall. The angles made me think of waves.
Again, we were there for only 15 minutes, when we headed back to V. Sattui for a picnic lunch. I was not in the mood to snap photos because I was zoned in, focused on my meal. I had to wait in line for about 10 minutes, bypassing the extra 25 it should've taken me, thanks to a gracious woman who gave me her number in line because she was leaving. Hello, out there, thank you!! I ordered 3 different kinds of sandwiches, roasted garlic, some ravioli, and garlic mushrooms. After I had my order, I went outside and met up with the group on the picnic table. We all shared the food. Some dove into their cheeses, others bought some pate to share, and still others had some amazing olives, and brie. MMMmmm...we were sufficiently full and headed on out.

We drove all the way out to Rutherford, but because they were having a special event (a wedding, I think) we were unable to enjoy a tasting. We did grab this nifty shot of a very patriotic cow, though.
Instead, we decided to stop at the Mondavi Family's Charles Krug based on the recommendation of my co-worker. It was really quaint and I was excited to witness an artistic create a water color on the fly. It was nice. So I finally wander in and keep walking to check out the area. When I walk back near the area of where the family was, I slapped the guy in the red shirt on the arm with my floral linen scarf. (Thanks Gen! Loved my scarf and used it a lot!!) I looked up and was horrified. He shot me an incredulous look. I was completely embarrassed. There I stood, stuttering and harried, I-I-I-I'm so, so sorry and scuttled away. I thought he was my primo because he too, was wearing a red shirt today. Clearly, I was tired and not thinking. Dangit. Oh well, I was bound to make an ass out of myself on this trip and I was only too grateful that I didn't trip and pitch a wine glass towards a wall of expensive bottles that we'd have to buy.

While here, I got my first glimpse of an aerator. Doesn't it make that look even tastier than normal? I think so.

And here is where this post ends. The next post is a journey all its own, because after all, it was magical, ethereal, and if I would've enjoyed a fresh cappuccino, it very nearly well would have been heaven on Earth (minus my little one, of course). Seriously, it was like walking into a story book from my childhood. Don't believe me? Well, here's a taste...
This was just the beginning of our journey.


The Art of Family said...

I love following you along on your vacation - these are such great photos and of course, very well written my dear! Happy traveling!

chae said...

Love the photos! Goes o so well with your creative writing style. Trip sounds fantastic. Makes me wanna wine all day. :)

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