Well today was the day. Five years ago, we tied the knot in La Jolla (San Diego), California and this year, we're back in CA for another visit. I must say, MrP really knocked it out of the park with his planning of our visit to Napa. I was in charge in SF, but Napa was his baby...and he's been 5/5!
We started with our Sweetie Pies bakery breakfast to ensure we'd have energy for the day.
(Oatmeal, Scone, Low Fat Oatcake, Tea, OJ & Egg/Bacon English Muffin)
And when this is your view as you eat...it's a great morning!
On the way to Calistoga....check out the McMansion in the hill!
Our first visit of the day, Chateau Montalena.
Sound familiar? They're the ones who really put California wines on the map.
Have you seen Bottle Shock? It's the story of the infamous blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 where the 1973 Chateau Montalena Chardonnay beat the French wines.
Their chateau is GORGEOUS!
And the ponds are nothing short of fabulous either
A pair of satisfied customers who left with 2 more wines. We even had a bonus tasting, as they were celebrating the 35 year anniversary of their win, so they had opened up some of their reserve library wines - today's was a 1984 Chardonnay. If we'd been there last week we could have snagged a bottle of our own, but sadly only two bottles of the nine they took out remained and they were opened for tastings this week. Sad face. Nonetheless it was incredible (and we're not typically Chardonnay lover's to begin with)!
Palmer count: 13
No moping for us, though - it was off to SolBar for our lunch reservation.
MrP tried a glass of the 2010 Turley Cinsault El Porron from Lodi
I had the Sex in the Valley - charbay green tea vodka, thyme, mint, cucumber & house-made lemonade
heirloom beet and citrus salad, avocado mousse, frisee, cara cara oranges
We went with the Lucky Pig - slow-roasted shoulder of long and bailey duroc pork, black sesame crepes, pickled pineapple, mongolian peanuts, lettuce cups and more.
It was a lunch to remember, that's for sure!
Our next stop? Our favorite winery! Deerfield Ranch Winery
As we drove over the bridge, we noticed these giraffes on the island in the middle of the Kenwood Marsh. It made me love the winery even more (I love giraffes, having fed them when we visited the San Diego zoo after getting married).
A Deerfield barrel (note the logo with the design of the mountain ranges)
Tasting in the Cave (23,000 square feet of caves)
Last of the grapes getting ready for separation
Fermenting Tanks (glycol cooled)
On the trail to the Winemaker's home (part of our private VIP tasting)
View from the back yard (note: does the range look familiar?!)
Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Knight (AKA Walker)
We forgot to snap pic's of the patio where we sat with P.J. (winemaker's wife) and sampled several terrific vintages from their library, but I did take this picture towards the end when we were sampling their 'Gold' dessert wine (so yummy). P.J. was lovely and a very gracious host; also even though it was the last day of harvest Robert Rex (winemaker) stopped to chat for a few minutes, which was fun. It was so beautiful and relaxing - it really was a perfect afternoon.
One of PJ's roses in her garden
PJ and I with our jointly-loved giraffes.
She promised to have a baby for me to adopt next time we visit so I could actually get it home without numbing shipping costs. I swear I'm not a giant - she's just TINY!
Happy Anniversary, Buddy!
Thank you for a fabulous anniversary day (and vacation)!
Final note: with another five bottles, we put the Palmer count to 21. Technically, two are dessert wines, so they count as 1 and we're taking a bottle of the Deerfield DRX to The French Laundry tomorrow, but we're still getting to the end of what we can bring home (max 24, of which we'll pay tax & duty on 20). Hopefully our bike tour tomorrow isn't as productive as the last couple of days have been! HAHAHAHA
Also of note - just for MrP's coworker - we DID have In N Out for supper on our anniversary. That's right. Burgers. Cuz that's how we roll! (He thought I was the driving force behind the Michelin starred restaurant visits, so I told him I'd be happy with an In N Out burger for our anniversary and I'm pretty sure he thought I was full of bologna.