It was time for Chris and I to get out of town without our children. We love those girls like crazy but seriously, mom and dad need a break. I pray we don't wait another 19 years.
Thanks to our good friends Courtney and Danielle, we had an opportunity to take a trip of a lifetime. Our birthdays tend to be a little more low key (well I did go to Jamaica for my 40th) but Danielle knows how to have a good time. What do you get a girl who has everything?
Time with friends!
We met The Kirgans and Pisariks in Napa Valley for 4 days of absolute fun. If we would have thought out our trip a little better Chris and I would have taken an extra day to stay in San Francisco after everyone else went home. Really, when will we get to do this again?
|Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island|
When you rent an economy car in California this is what you get...the smallest car ever!
The Cardinale Estate was our home away from home for four days. I wish I had a photo to really show you the enormity of this place. You will have to trust me, it is spectacular.
Cardinale is the high end winery of the Kendall-Jackson Family Vineyard Estates. What a great first day! We had crazy expensive wines at Cardinale and Spire with Dale and then spent the afternoon around the pool having lunch and wine with the president of the Spire Collection. This is where we tried our first South African wine, Capensis. Already Chris and I realized this trip was going to be something we could never duplicate on our own.
|Melanie . Danielle . Erin|
The restaurants we ate at were all top Napa Valley locations that were either recommended by top Darden chefs or places Courtney had thoroughly researched. I have to say, AD HOC did not live up to it's reputation. Dani was less than pleased...enough said!
I like grapes and I see them all the time in the grocery store but I have never seen them growing on the vine. In fact, I was completely in awe of the fields of perfectly lined grapes EVERYWHERE we went. It was spectacular! These grapes were right in our back yard.
This was a great little winery. I would certainly go back and buy wine.
After a late breakfast and coffee on deck we headed to Turnbull and Conn Creek Wineries. Again we got to do a first: Barrel Blending. We made our own wine and even bottled it. I'm not a big Cab fan but I tasted Cabernet Sauvignon from at least 15 different barrels, all different grapes, soils or regions and then learned about blending to make the perfect wine. Lots of laughs!
|Not sure what was so funny but I love this picture.|
Our last day with the group was spent at Caymus, Del Dotto Caves and Sterling Wineries. Each winery we visted had it's own distinctive qualities. I throuoghly enjoyed each one but for different reasons. Let me take that back, Del Dotto was flashy and tacky but still left a lasting memory. My favorite wine stories came from our time at Caymus, learning the history of the Wagner family. Danielle's favorite wine comes from Caymus and it ended up being the one place we purchased wine. Note to self, shipping is super expensive!
|Chris . Courtney . Ryan|
|Dinner at Tra Vigne|
To say the food on this trip was exquisite may be an understatement.
Lunch at Mustards Grill . Farmstead . Pier 39
Dinner at Ad Hoc . Goose and Gander . Tra Vigne
Happy 40th Dani!
Thank you for including us in your celebration. I hope it was all you dreamed it would be.
Napa Valley is "Not Terrible"