Thursday, April 24, 2014

California Trip: Day 3

After a great first two days in California, we woke up Friday ( still early, but not quite as bad as Thursday!) ready for another fun day.

On Friday's agenda we had 3 wineries plus dinner plans. I had left our lunch open since I wasn't sure how long our wine tastings would last.

We began the day at Frog's Leap in Rutherford, which also ended up being our favorite winery we visited! This was the only winery where we also took a tour in addition to our tasting, and I'm so so glad we did, especially first thing in the morning when we were still feeling fresh and energized!

One of my favorite parts of our tour (in addition to our tour guide, Erin) was the fun straw hats they had us all wear! We loved that Frog's Leap had great wine but also didn't take themselves to seriously. She made it very clear to us that their founder and owner just wants to people to enjoy the wine with great food. I can get behind that! We learned on our tour that a lot of their wine is made with organically grown grapes, they practice "dry-farming," they had an adorable dog running around named Abby, and they have garden full of all kinds of great veggies, herbs, and flowers on their property. Oh....and chickens! Frog's Leap was just so fun. If you make the trip here, I highly recommend the tour!!

We left Frog's Leap and decided to stop for lunch at Farmstead, after having it recommended to us by our tour guide at Frog's Leap and an employee of the cottages. This may just have been my favorite meal here!

J got a gnochhi with a beef ragu and I had a smoked roast beef sandwich with a vinegar coleslaw. Aaaaaand we may have started our meal with an appetizer called "the potted pig." That dish in the back was our potted pig, and I still don't know exactly what it was (some sort of pork pâté?) , but I will probably be thinking about it for the rest of my days. It was SO good!

We left our yummy lunch and headed to Duckhorn Vineyard in St. Helena. 

We liked the wine here, but overall, a pretty blah experience. We had made a reservation, but they had no outdoor seating, so were stuck inside at a table and there really wasn't much to see. Overall, this was definitely one I'd skip if we went back. Nothing special here for us. In fact, I think this is the only place we visited where we didn't purchase a bottle.

We had a little bit of time to kill before our last tasting reservation of the day, so we wondered around the town of St. Helena some (which was way cute!). We visited St. Helena Olive Oil Co. (thanks to the many bloggers who suggested this!), and had a ball sampling the different oils and mustards. We brought back a a souvenir from here for my parents and something small for us!

We headed out of the small town of St. Helena and headed to Kelham Vineyards. A friend of mine from home and Kate both highly recommended Kelham to us, and we're so glad we made the reservation. It was such a change of pace from everywhere else we had been. Kelham is family owned and their two sons (who are the wine makers), also did our tastings. Both of the brothers were so nice and personable. Talking with them, not only about wine and their vineyard, was definitely a highlight. The grounds were beautiful, and once again...adorable dogs running around! And they were rescue dogs! Double win. We noticed they had a lot of older wines on their tasting menu compared to the other places we had visited and they assured us these wines would continue to age well, so we bought a bottle here to share on our 10 year anniversary in 2018!

Other than that odd bird statue/sculpture above, we loved Kelham! 

To top off our third day, we went and took a another nap (once again, West Coast time plus wine all day will do that to you!), and then that evening we drove to Napa and had dinner at Carpe Diem (thanks BHB for the suggestion!). We had to wait about 20 minutes after our reservation time for a table BUT they gave us each a glass of bubbly...that's good service there, folks! The food was tapas style and absolutely delicious (are you sensing a theme with the food on this trip?). J was hesitant going into this dinner since they call themselves a "wine bar," but even he proclaimed how impressed he was with this great dinner find! Only complaint, which had NOTHING to do with the restaurant, was the two crazy girls at the table next to us. Thanks to these "ladies" (I don't think that term could really be used to describe these two...) and they're noisy conversation and smart phones, I learned all about tinder (which ps, I'm still bothered by this app) and their dating habits. I could have really done without them. But I suppose it makes for a fun story?



  1. I would love to take a trip to Napa some day & your posts are going to be so helpful to me! Question, if you don't mind me asking, about how much money does each tasting cost?

  2. Love the fun straw hats! :) And oh my gosh, I am SO bothered by tinder as well!!! What the heck?!?!

  3. I am loving your recaps! (I think Napa will always be on my list to visit but I have to tackle Europe first!) What was the weather like? Looks like y'all have pants and light jackets - is that normal for the time of year you visited or is it generally cooler?

    Keep them coming!!

  4. I want to say that Duckhorn, the outside was used for the old 80's show called Falcon Crest. Have you heard of it? It was set in Napa and about a family trying to start and keep their family wine business going again. I'm sad you have a blah experience there! And tinder... that whole app totally makes me cringe!