Napa Itinerary 2.0

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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David Kaufman
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#1 Post by David Kaufman »

Here is our first draft of itinerary for our 10yr Anniversary trip to Napa in October. Still have some holes to fill in and reservation confirmations that will hopefully come closer to the date given the trip is in the middle of harvest/crush.

Day One - Thursday
Late Lunch at Bank Cafe (Duck Burger)
Arrival at hotel in St. Helena around 3pm
Dinner at Farmstead (confirmed)

Day Two - Friday
Tasting at Envy (confirmed)
Lunch at Sam's Social Club
Tasting at Vincent Arroyo
Dinner at TFL (confirmed)

Day Three - Saturday
**This day is still very much up in the air given harvest season. I know there aren't many stories of tasting at Harlan Estate, but after my last mailing list purchase I inquired and they said they'd be happy to host us if their schedule allows and to follow up 4-6 weeks out to confirm. Really hoping we can squeeze some time in with Alex and Graeme too.
Tasting at MACDONALD
Chicken Lunch at Addendum
Tasting at Harlan/Bond -- guessing this is a stretch so need a backup plan in the event they can't accommodate
Dinner at Torc

Day Four - Sunday
Tasting at Chappellet (confirmed)
Lunch TBD (possible picnic at the winery)
Afternoon Tasting - TBD (suggestions for something in general vicinity?)
Sunset Cocktail at Auberge du Soleil
Dinner at Redd-Wood, Cook Tavern, or Market?

Day Five - Monday
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Depart


Thoughts on what I've put together so far?
Other wineries that I have on my short list include Pride, Smith-Madrone, Young Inglewood, Paloma, Elizabeth Spencer, Heitz, Anderson's Conn Valley. Trying to be sensible about the distances between wineries, which is why there are no Howell Mountain wineries listed.
Last edited by David Kaufman on September 13th, 2017, 7:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Alan Rath
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#2 Post by Alan Rath »

I like that you haven't scheduled more than 2 winery visits per day. Looks pretty good, I would just map things out to make sure you don't too far to go between stops. By October the big crowds will be gone, but roads can still get busy, especially on weekends.

As someone who has been through a few anniversaries, I'd also suggest making sure your SO is on board with all the wine stops. I know my wife would be OK with a few, but would probably want a day off, maybe a spa day, a hike, some change of pace.
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#3 Post by David Kaufman »

Alan Rath wrote:I like that you haven't scheduled more than 2 winery visits per day. Looks pretty good, I would just map things out to make sure you don't too far to go between stops. By October the big crowds will be gone, but roads can still get busy, especially on weekends.

As someone who has been through a few anniversaries, I'd also suggest making sure your SO is on board with all the wine stops. I know my wife would be OK with a few, but would probably want a day off, maybe a spa day, a hike, some change of pace.
I think you read her mind! She just said she wants to make sure there is enough relaxation time at the hotel.

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#4 Post by Kirk.Grant »

If you want to taste wine from an all-around good-guy, I'd try to track down Bob Egelhoff. He was the guest winemaker for Harlan in 1992 (I think) and he's just plain, good people. It helps that his wines are good too. Prices aren't crazy, and the wines are really nice. Clearly Napa...

Enjoy your stay in Napa!
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#5 Post by Karen Troisi »

Since you are staying up valley in St. Helena you might want to consider Two Birds One Stone for dinner
https://www.twobirdsonestonenapa.com
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#6 Post by Ed Steinway »

Sounds like a great trip, David. I am not sure what part of the month you are going, but the Safeway Open is at Silverado October 2nd through the 8th and getting through that portion of Napa will be a bit more difficult.

Thanks,
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#7 Post by David Kaufman »

Ed Steinway wrote:Sounds like a great trip, David. I am not sure what part of the month you are going, but the Safeway Open is at Silverado October 2nd through the 8th and getting through that portion of Napa will be a bit more difficult.

Thanks,
Ed
Ed, we will be there after the Open, but thanks for the heads up!

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#8 Post by Jeff Cassetta »

David Kaufman wrote: Lunch TBD (possible picnic at the winery)
Gott's Roadside, fna Taylors Refresher www.gotts.com/menu

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#9 Post by Michael Martin »

If you do a sunset cocktail at Auberge, maybe dinner at the bar at Meadowwood?

http://www.meadowood.com

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#10 Post by Jeff Rosenberg »

David,

Interesting that you have scheduled a tasting at Vincent Arroyo. I have been an annual buyer for many years. It seems under the radar, as they are seldom mentioned here, ands notes/ratings are sparse on CellarTracker. Have you been before? How do you know about them?

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#11 Post by David Kaufman »

Jeff Rosenberg wrote:David,

Interesting that you have scheduled a tasting at Vincent Arroyo. I have been an annual buyer for many years. It seems under the radar, as they are seldom mentioned here, ands notes/ratings are sparse on CellarTracker. Have you been before? How do you know about them?
Jeff,

I've actually never tried their wines but I was looking for a winery in Calistoga that seemed to offer good value and came across Vincent Arroyo in some older Napa thread on here. How do you like their wines? Any particular favorites?

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#12 Post by Jeff Rosenberg »

Vincent Arroyo is most well known for Petite Sirah; however, I also enjoy his Cab Sauv. Pricing hasbeen very stable. I paid $35 for his base 2007 cabernet, the 2015 is selling for $40.

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#13 Post by JonF »

David Kaufman wrote:Day Four - Sunday
Tasting at Chappellet (confirmed)
Lunch TBD (possible picnic at the winery)
Afternoon Tasting - TBD (suggestions for something in general vicinity?)
Sunset Cocktail at Auberge du Soleil
Dinner at Redd-Wood, Cook Tavern, or Market?
Since you're east of the silverado and up in the mountains for this day, why not keep the theme and try one of the Chile Valley wineries such as Volker Eisele. Great rustic winery with a long history that makes a variety of cab, bxd, white and other wines. Get some lunch to-go from the Oakville Grocery and find a picnic spot somewhere at the Lake Hennessey park (or the winery as you mentioned).
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#14 Post by robert creth »

Unless you are used to that level of eating, The day after the French Laundry may be one for relaxing and recovery. Doubt if you will want much for even lunch the next day.

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#15 Post by David Kaufman »

JonF wrote:
David Kaufman wrote:Day Four - Sunday
Tasting at Chappellet (confirmed)
Lunch TBD (possible picnic at the winery)
Afternoon Tasting - TBD (suggestions for something in general vicinity?)
Sunset Cocktail at Auberge du Soleil
Dinner at Redd-Wood, Cook Tavern, or Market?
Since you're east of the silverado and up in the mountains for this day, why not keep the theme and try one of the Chile Valley wineries such as Volker Eisele. Great rustic winery with a long history that makes a variety of cab, bxd, white and other wines. Get some lunch to-go from the Oakville Grocery and find a picnic spot somewhere at the Lake Hennessey park (or the winery as you mentioned).
Never heard of that one, but I will definitely give it a look. Thanks

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#16 Post by David Kaufman »

robert creth wrote:Unless you are used to that level of eating, The day after the French Laundry may be one for relaxing and recovery. Doubt if you will want much for even lunch the next day.
Ha, hadn't thought about that but you're probably right!

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#17 Post by Leonard Taylor »

Karen Troisi wrote:Since you are staying up valley in St. Helena you might want to consider Two Birds One Stone for dinner
https://www.twobirdsonestonenapa.com
Karen, I made a reservation here for mid September. One option was seating on the patio. Will it be too cold to eat on the patio that time of year?
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#18 Post by Carter Y. »

Have you confirmed your tasting with Macdonald? I emailed them a month ago and was told that they don't host tastings in Sep/Oct any more due to busy harvest.
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#19 Post by David Kaufman »

Carter Y. wrote:Have you confirmed your tasting with Macdonald? I emailed them a month ago and was told that they don't host tastings in Sep/Oct any more due to busy harvest.
Carter - Macdonald is not confirmed due to the unknown schedule around harvest. I put it on my itinerary as a placeholder for now!

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#20 Post by David Kaufman »

Just about a month out from my trip. Here is version 2.0 with a few changes and more confirmed reservations. Need some help filling in a few blanks yet. Also, I need to find some time to squeeze in spa treatments to Alan Rath's earlier point.

Day One - Thursday
Late Duck Burger Lunch at Bank Cafe
Arrival at Las Alcobas in St. Helena around 3pm
Dinner at Farmstead (confirmed)

Day Two - Friday (our actual 10yr anniversary)
Tasting at Envy (confirmed)
Lunch at Sam's Social Club
Tasting at White Rock Vineyards (confirmed)
Dinner at TFL (confirmed)

Day Three - Saturday
Plan A:
Tasting at MACDONALD (placeholder; if available)
Chicken Lunch at Addendum
Tasting at Alpha Omega/Young Inglewood/Elizabeth Spencer/_____???
Dinner at Torc (confirmed)

Plan B:
Tasting at Pride Mountain
Lunch at ________???
Tasting at Smith-Madrone
Dinner at Torc (confirmed)

Day Four - Sunday
Tasting at Chappellet (confirmed)
Lunch at ________???
Afternoon Tasting at ________???
Sunset Cocktail at Auberge du Soleil (maybe)
Dinner at Acacia House (confirmed)

Day Five - Monday
Hot Air Balloon Ride (confirmed)
Depart

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#21 Post by Clint S Q U I E R »

Don't worry about the day after TFL - we had a late reservation and a 10 am tasting the next day and it was just fine. I expected the next day to be rough, but it was fine. Morning after Bouchon was probably rougher since the food is much richer imo.

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#22 Post by Randy Bowman »

Day Three plan B would work out well if you picked up deli lunches on your way to pride and enjoy you lunch at Pride, on the way to or at Smith-Madrone.
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#23 Post by b. c@stner »

Do you have a reservation at Pride? They can fill up.
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#24 Post by C. Bowman »

Randy Bowman wrote:Day Three plan B would work out well if you picked up deli lunches on your way to pride and enjoy you lunch at Pride, on the way to or at Smith-Madrone.
You forgot to mention stopping by to say hi to us ;)
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#25 Post by Nolan E »

Young Inglewood is wildly underrated and underdiscussed, always a high recommendation from me.
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#26 Post by David Kaufman »

Nolan E wrote:Young Inglewood is wildly underrated and underdiscussed, always a high recommendation from me.
Nolan, I think it was actually one of your posts that turned me on to them in the first place!

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#27 Post by David Kaufman »

C. Bowman wrote:
Randy Bowman wrote:Day Three plan B would work out well if you picked up deli lunches on your way to pride and enjoy you lunch at Pride, on the way to or at Smith-Madrone.
You forgot to mention stopping by to say hi to us ;)
Carrie, I will definitely pop in for a visit!

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#28 Post by David Kaufman »

b. c@stner wrote:Do you have a reservation at Pride? They can fill up.
Not yet, as I'm trying to assess the likelihood of Plan A happening.

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#29 Post by David H. »

Nolan E wrote:Young Inglewood is wildly underrated and underdiscussed, always a high recommendation from me.

Big fan here and I could not agree more with this statement. Kelli White from PRESS turned us on to them.
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#30 Post by Kris Patten »

It would be worth the time to find a slot for Domaine Carneros or Schramsberg and drink some bubbles. Then eat on the patio with some Rose or Le Reve.
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#31 Post by Ben Sherwin »

David Kaufman wrote:Day Five - Monday
Hot Air Balloon Ride (confirmed)
Depart
That's totally baller that you are leaving Napa by hot air balloon. Epic. champagne.gif
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#32 Post by Paul McCourt »

Don't skip the cocktail at Auberge. Simply lovely.
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#33 Post by David Kaufman »

Ben Sherwin wrote:
David Kaufman wrote:Day Five - Monday
Hot Air Balloon Ride (confirmed)
Depart
That's totally baller that you are leaving Napa by hot air balloon. Epic. champagne.gif
Only because Screagle wouldn't let me land the balloon at their property. So no copters or balloons...

[dance-clap.gif]

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#34 Post by David Cohen »

day 3 plan b perhaps lunch at the CIA around 7 miles and fifteen minutes away. Do the olive oil tasting for something a little different.
Speaking of food tastings I hope you get the butter tasting while at tfl. Also ask your waiter if you can thank the chef. Either you will be escorted to the kitchen or the chef will come out to you. When we went last we engaged in a good conversation which led to a little knowledge transfer which lead to a 2nd desert being offered somehow. (chocolate tart with icecream if I recall)

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#35 Post by David Kaufman »

David Cohen wrote:day 3 plan b perhaps lunch at the CIA around 7 miles and fifteen minutes away. Do the olive oil tasting for something a little different.
Speaking of food tastings I hope you get the butter tasting while at tfl. Also ask your waiter if you can thank the chef. Either you will be escorted to the kitchen or the chef will come out to you. When we went last we engaged in a good conversation which led to a little knowledge transfer which lead to a 2nd desert being offered somehow. (chocolate tart with icecream if I recall)
Thanks David. I think I am actually going to start a brand new thread about what to expect at TFL. One month from today!

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#36 Post by David Baum »

Ive done the Pride thing many times. Good idea to do it first thing in morning and should not be tough to book. The ride up is a long twisty slow ride best done sober and before the road gets busy. We always pack a nice Dean and DeLuca lunch to enjoy in the picnic area in the vineyard which is lovely and peaceful.

I definitely would NOT come down the hill for lunch and drive back up for a Smith Madrone tasting. You will be hating life if you do - so plan on staying up on Spring Mountain.

If you want to add another tasting up that way check out Paloma. Its usually a low key tasting on the porch and pretty much a one wine tasting - Merlot. They make one of the best in the Valley. If you arent familiar with them, Barbara Richards was one of long time Napa Valley icons who took great pride in producing a WS WOTY for her 2001 Merlot. She finally passed last year and her son Sheldon has been carrying on the tradition of his parents. Its a nice small family owned winery worth supporting.

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#37 Post by Mike Walsh »

+1 for Schramsberg if you can still get a reservation that fits your schedule. Its tour gives you a bit of something different as you get to see the old caves with all the bottles stacked up. Plus they make some delicious wine.

We also always like to swing by Heitz. Its a free tasting and you don't need a reservation so its a nice add on if you find yourself with free time between schedules stops.

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#38 Post by David Kaufman »

David Kaufman wrote:
David Cohen wrote:day 3 plan b perhaps lunch at the CIA around 7 miles and fifteen minutes away. Do the olive oil tasting for something a little different.
Speaking of food tastings I hope you get the butter tasting while at tfl. Also ask your waiter if you can thank the chef. Either you will be escorted to the kitchen or the chef will come out to you. When we went last we engaged in a good conversation which led to a little knowledge transfer which lead to a 2nd desert being offered somehow. (chocolate tart with icecream if I recall)
Thanks David. I think I am actually going to start a brand new thread about what to expect at TFL. One month from today!
Started a separate thread about dining at TFL. It can be found here - viewtopic.php?f=6&t=144123

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#39 Post by Alan Rath »

If you do get into MacDonald, and need a chauffeur , I'm available.
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#40 Post by jimw »

This is a very timely thread for me as I will be in Napa early November.

David I really like our idea of Olive Oil tasting - any suggestions on good places to do that?

Also thinking about the balloon ride- who did you book that through?

Thanks Guys!
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#41 Post by Bdklein »

jimw wrote:This is a very timely thread for me as I will be in Napa early November.

David I really like our idea of Olive Oil tasting - any suggestions on good places to do that?

Also thinking about the balloon ride- who did you book that through?

Thanks Guys!
Round Pond makes and offers various types (lemon, orange, etc.) of olive oils, plus vinegars and other non wine products . And wine too!!
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#42 Post by David Cohen »

jimw wrote:This is a very timely thread for me as I will be in Napa early November.

David I really like our idea of Olive Oil tasting - any suggestions on good places to do that?

Also thinking about the balloon ride- who did you book that through?

Thanks Guys!
Different David but I figure I had naming rights....
We had a great time/great food at the CIA (culinary institute or america) and they had a olive oil tasting.

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#43 Post by David Kaufman »

jimw wrote:This is a very timely thread for me as I will be in Napa early November.

David I really like our idea of Olive Oil tasting - any suggestions on good places to do that?

Also thinking about the balloon ride- who did you book that through?

Thanks Guys!
My wife setup the balloon ride but it is with Napa Valley Balloons I believe.

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#44 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

I would swap out lunch at Sam's Social Club for Solbar at Solage Resort.
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#45 Post by David Kaufman »

Merrill Lindquist wrote:I would swap out lunch at Sam's Social Club for Solbar at Solage Resort.

Great suggestion, thanks Merrill!

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#46 Post by David Kaufman »

Currently rethinking the Torc reservation and replacing with one of the following:

-2 Birds One Stone
-Goose and Gander
-Cook (not the Tavern)

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#47 Post by Nolan E »

Torc was great when I went, but have heard mixed reviews since.

If you go to Goose and Gander, just sit in the downstairs bar, really great atmosphere.
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