Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wine is sunlight, held together by water - Gallileo

Ahhh- the sun, the sweet vines, the savory cheeses and the silent breezes.  We were on to our next adventure all around the Napa Valley area.  We began at the Oxbow market and then on to some of the quaint wineries all in walking distance of downtown Napa.

The Oxbow market is made up of gourmet shops, tasting rooms, restaurants and all kinds of whimsical distractions.  

My favorite was Napastak which just opened this past spring and I am pretty sure  I would have bought one of EVERYTHING if my husband had let me.  

Gourmet treats and gadgets overflowed here- too much to take in for any foodie!

Elderflower Syrup is always a great addition to prosecco, I was pretty sure that was going into my shopping bag.

My take home finds from the market were some wonderful freshly dried pasta, some beautiful olive oil and balsamic, that elderflower syrup, and the most delicious porcini and truffle spread you will ever have melt in your mouth!  I also purchased some  delicious handmade chocolates to bring home to friends at Annette's Chocolates!  

Downtown Napa has some other quaint shops and beautiful views of the river with flowers blooming year round right on the river.

Cute artwork is around every corner, even on the sidewalks!

There was a tremendous classic car show going on when we were in town- very impressive!

One of our favorite tasting rooms in the walkable downtown area was Mark Herold Wines.  This shop was quite small but don't let it fool you.  We had a TOP NOTCH tasting here at the bar and brought home some delicious Acha and Metaphora.  The decor was fantastically fun with a huge "infant" trap under the sink and other fun touches.

A few other places we stopped in for a sip that I found worthy of mentioning were Capp Heritage (very art deco decor but very friendly people with some good wines).  Waterstone was also enjoyable albeit a little more low key.  They were gracious enough by the way to make a wonderful lunch recommendation of dining at The Pear -which I highly recommend.  Thank you to Jesse at the Pear who even sent over a complimentary appetizer which was absolutely fantastic - as far as I am concerned this is a Must Try next time you are in Napa:  their Potato, Jalapeño & Cheddar Cheese Croquettes

These "tator-tots" of sorts were so crunchy and yet so cheesy and tender inside - heavenly!

Their crispy chicken and waffles were amazing as well! Can you taste it....  Buttermilk Fried Boneless & Skinless Breast over a Bacon-Spiked Belgian Waffle with Pear-Bourbon Maple Syrup!

It was time to head just south of Napa to Domaine Carneros and try some tiny bubbles and beautiful views....

At last we drove up to Castello di Amorosa
- known as being the captivating castle on the mountain.  

Thousands of feet of cave after cave were filled with barrels, bottles and tastes!  Lots of history here! 

My final post about our great trip to wine country is coming soon which includes our exclusive tasting at Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Museum and our fabulous stay at a beautiful manor!  Stay tuned! 

*This post is dedicated to the Napa Valley community who just endured a 6.1 earthquake this past week - glad to hear that everyone is ok and the cleanup is underway.  Keeping you all in our thoughts across the country!  

Wine Vacation Tip:  When purchasing various bottles at multiple wineries, ask around to purchase a shipping box and buy some packing tape.  It was much cheaper and very protected for us to pay the extra $35 for another checked bag and have our wine intact when we got off the plane than having it shipped home.  We bought ours for $12 at Uncorked at Oxbow.

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