Trip: Napa Valley, July 2011 (With Pictures!)

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[FOLLOW-UP:  :):) So far the standout is O’Shaughnessy (toured yesterday)- absolutely gorgeous luscious wines, tiny production, and extremely impressive caves. We also LOVED Nickel & Nickel (toured Saturday) Far Niente’s slightly younger cousin. Today we played golf and stopped into Darioush and Silver Oak. Nice wines, but blown out of the water by what we had yesterday and the day before. We are joining wines clubs willy nilly, and look forward to sharing our discoveries:) hugs!
Crystal and Mike]

Into the Earth: A Wine Cave Renaissance

The first documentary of its kind, Into the Earth celebrates the history and future of caves for making, aging and storing wine as well as entertaining. Opening with a concise yet descriptive history of caves from ancient times to the present day, the book is chronologically organized by cave construction date and concludes with a behind-the-scenes chapter with perspectives of prominent cave designers, engineers and drillers. In the striking 240-page volume, readers are introduced to the cave men and women—from winery owners to cave constructors—who have spent the last several decades expanding the design and concepts of these underground works of art.

If Yountville epitomizes the essence of a wine country destination, then the Napa Valley Lodge represents the ultimate getaway for wine country living.
Many consider Chad Robertson, co-owner of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, a city that knows its bread, to be the best bread baker in the United States.  To Chad, bread is the foundation of a meal, the center of daily life, and each loaf tells the story of the baker who shaped it. He developed his unique bread over two decades of apprenticeship with the finest artisan bakers in France and the United States, as well as experimentation in his own ovens.

(707) 967-9600
The Nickel & Nickel winery, founded in 1997 but born from a tradition of exceptional winemaking, is devoted to creating wines that articulate the singular expressions of the vineyards in Oakville and beyond.  (Owned by Far Niente)

One of the first great Wine Country establishments, the Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil pays tribute to its legacy with an award-winning menu and wine list. Executive Chef Robert Curry’s inspired cuisine reflects the natural diversity and rich ingredients of Napa Valley and draws from regional produce, accented with Mediterranean flavors. Wine Director Kris Margerum’s wine list, the largest and most extensive in the valley, showcases the very best from neighboring vineyards.
After Auberge: ZD Wines

(707) 257-4470
Eagle Vines Vineyards and Golf Club is the premiere Napa Valley golf course situated in the foothills with vineyard views in every direction.  Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club was founded on the belief that nature and golf were meant to co-exist in magnificent harmony
2:00 Ladera Winery Estate Tour (CANCELLED BY LADERA)

707 965 2898
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery is located in a beautiful setting off the beaten path north east of St. Helena in a small town called Angwin. We are on the slopes of Howell Mountain with scenic views of Napa Valley.
We believe that architecture should flow harmoniously with the environment, enhancing the beauty of the land, not detracting from it. With this as our guide, we chose stone for the exterior, to blend with the color and texture of our mountainside. Our architect then tied the stone and glass structure closely to our hillside, making the building blend perfectly with our site. The fermentation room houses state of the art tanks, architectural in their shape, yet maximized for function. We integrated glass wherever possible in order to bring the beauty of our mountain into our living and working spaces.
The landscape design blurs the line between the untouched and planned. Olives, rosemary and lavender frame the views with accents of colors throughout the verandas. Our outside dining space blends seamlessly with the hillside – a lovely place to picnic.
We created an 11,000 square foot cave by drilling into the hillside behind the winery. The semicircular construction with soaring 26 foot ceilings gives the impression that the cave continues forever. In keeping with the theme of esthetic simplicity, the cave remains uncluttered. The red wines rest in this beautiful environment for almost two years prior to bottling. Our cellar team believes strongly that the wine improves greatly by the variety of musical styles piped in during the aging process. You can taste Beethoven in the tannins.
(707) 257-1900
Chardonnay Golf Club is a 18-hole semi-private golf facility located Southeast of the city of Napa in Jamieson Canyon at the gateway to the world renown Napa Valley wine district.
DIRECTIONS (since all the sites imply that GPS and cell phones don’t work on the mountains around Napa for some reason):
Napa Valley Lodge:
Take I-80 East across the Bay Bridge. Continue on I-80 East toward Sacramento and cross the Carquinez Bridge. After five miles, exit and follow Highway 37 West for 2 miles to Highway 29. Turn North (right) onto Highway 29 and continue North for 20 miles to Yountville. (Bypass the town of Napa by following the signs to Calistoga.) Exit Highway 29 at Madison Street. The Napa Valley Lodge is on the corner of Madison and Washington Streets.
Nickel and Nickel: 
Nickel & Nickel is located in Oakville, Napa Valley, on the east side of Highway 29.  Follow 29 north through the city of Napa and the town of Yountville.About 3 miles north of the Washington St. traffic light at Yountville, you will enter the small town of Oakville, indicated by a green highway sign on the right side of the road. Continue driving north, passing the Oakville Crossroad and the Oakville Grocery, on the right. Less than a mile north of the Oakville Grocery you will come upon a white, three-rail fence to the right. The fence marks the beginning of the Nickel & Nickel property. Turn right into the entrance of Nickel & Nickel at the north end of the fence.
Auberge de Soleil:
Highway 29 North towards Calistoga.  Turn right at Highway 128 East (Rutherford Grill on NE corner).  After approximately one mile, bear left at fork in the road.  Turn left at Silverado Trail.  Turn right (200 yards) at Rutherford Hill Road
Eagle Vines Golf Course:
GPS Directions: Use 580 South Kelly Road, American Canyon, CA 94503
O’Shaughnessy Winery:
It is important to follow these directions to find us as GPS will not properly direct you to O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery.
Take Silverado Trail North to Deer Park Road, turn right and go 5.9 miles.  Deer Park Road turns into Howell Mountain Road, keep heading east through the city of Angwin. Make a left turn onto College Avenue, go .8 mile, to the second stop sign and turn left onto White Cottage Road. Go .4 mile up the small hill and  turn right on Buckeye Lane and pull up to the black gate, it will open automatically. Proceed down this narrow road which will naturally turn into Friesen Drive. Stay to the left and go 1.2 miles to the second gate.  You will see No Trespassing signs, don’t let them deter you, we have an easement to use Friesen Drive.  You will pass the Howell Mountain Water Company, don’t lose faith, keep driving until you see the O’Shaughnessy Winery gate.  Pull up to the gate and it will open automatically. Go through the gate and up the steep road, at the top, take a sharp right turn, and continue on until you see the stone winery.  Please drive 15 miles per hour.
Chardonnay Golf Club:
Follow Hwy. 29 approximately miles to Hwy. 12 (East); turn left on Hwy. 12; follow Hwy 12 (1.3) miles to the second light, entrance on the right.
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