Back at the beginning of May (omg, I know, I’m so behind on blog posts), Nick’s mom and two of her friends came down to visit us! We had such an awesome time showing them around the Bay Area. We took them to many of our favorite places and a couple of new places as well – namely, to Napa! Nick and I hadn’t been up to Napa yet, despite visiting a few other wine areas (Sonoma, Livermore) several times. Napa has a reputation for being a little snobbier and a little more expensive than the other regions (since they were the first big region and have a lot of big-name wineries), so we didn’t feel a huge draw to go by ourselves. But, we had gotten Nick’s mom a wine tour as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago, and so it was definitely time to cash in!
We hired a limo so that everyone could participate in wine “tasting” (aka drinking). We used Liberty Limousines based out of Campbell and were absolutely delighted with our driver Steve’s excellent service. I can’t say enough good things about Steve. If you ever need a limo service in the Bay Area call Steve!!
Our first stop was Robert Mondavi winery. Oh, by the way, I highly recommend visiting Napa on a Monday. Usually the crowds are pretty insane, lots of tour buses and limos and tourists. On this Monday in May it was very quiet and we saw almost no crowds and didn’t have to wait for tastings anywhere. The weather was also perfect, blue skies and hot but not too hot…which has nothing to do with it being a Monday and everything to do with it being California!
Fun fact about Robert Mondavi: in the late 60’s Sauvignon Blanc had a reputation for being a sweet wine, and dry Sauvignon Blanc was very unpopular in California. Mondavi created a variety of Sauvignon Blanc called “Fumé Blanc” which was dry and oak-aged, which then became very popular. Fumé Blanc is now an accepted synonym for Sauvignon Blanc in California.
Our next stop was a winery called V. Sattui. Wineries in Napa are not allowed to sell food or host private events, except very old wineries which have been grandfathered in…like V Sattui. V Sattui winery began in 1885, was shut down in 1920 due to prohibition, and then was re-started in 1976 by Vittori Sattui’s son, Dario Sattui. There is more fascinating history on their “About Us” page.
After lunch at V Sattui our next stop was Beringer. Beringer also had beautiful grounds and a lovely little wine shop. We all had just one glass here, and some water, since we still had a whole other winery to visit!
Our final stop of the day in Napa was Castello di Amorosa, a full-on castle winery built by Dario Sattui (yes, of V Sattui winery that we visited earlier).
This castle winery was a pet project of Dario Sattui’s, and he had all of the stone and artwork either brought in from Europe, or he brought in master craftsmen from Europe to build the castle. We were scheduled for a tour and private tasting in the cellar.
The castle and craftsmanship were just stunning – I was in awe, it truly seemed like a labour of love (and a lot of money).
From the top of the castle we went waaaay down…to the dungeons, cellar, and torture chambers!
Finally, it was on to the tasting in the cellars! Our final wine tasting for the day before the wonderful Steve poured us into the limo and drove us all safely home…