Earlier this month, Dave and Rachel invited Dayne and I to join them and their two girls for the weekend at their house in St. Helena. I'd been last summer
but this was Dayne's first time at their new place. The six of us grabbed a late afternoon flight down on a chilly Seattle February Friday and landed to a balmy evening at the Santa Rosa airport.
Being that the weather called for mid 70's all weekend Dayne had reserved a convertible for us but when he went to the Avis counter they said they were all out of them! We slid over to the Enterprise counter and not only did they have one but they matched the price. I'm going to remember that in the future.
Once we got to their house, Dave opened some champagne and built a fire in the outdoor fire pit, we grilled some pork loin for dinner, I opened a nice bottle of Leonetti that I had brought down with me (like coal to Newcastle as a friend of mine says), and we spent a little time in the relaxing hot tub.
The next morning Rachel and I took the convertible and drove to Round Pond
where I'd made us a tasting appointment. The winery also makes their own olive oil and you can book a tour to see that, as well as actual cellar tours. We didn't have a lot of time so we just did the wine tasting in their Zinc Bar. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and it would have been fabulous to spend time on their patio but that was reserved for another type of tasting event.
The wines were quite nice, so we finished up our tasting with some purchasing, and then headed off to meet Dave, Dayne and the girls for a tasting at Wicker
. Ron Wicker produces wine from his Howell Mountain vineyard, where his house is also conveniently located. We arrived at his home where his wife Laurie and he poured their Burgundy style Chardonnay (fantastic!) and also a selection of his Cab Sauvs. They are incredibly nice people who are very generous with their time, Ron walked us out to the vineyards for a bit; so small and on such a hill. Ron also demonstrated the Coravin
for us while opening an older vintage bottle for us, that cool gadget is going on my wish list! Anyone else have one? Thoughts?
Our appointment at Wicker ran quite a bit longer than we expected and we were all starving as it was about 3:30 in the afternoon by this time. Dayne and I took the girls in the convertible and we all headed to downtown St Helena for a late lunch/early dinner at Cook Tavern
I had a nice cocktail, and Dayne and I shared some tasty fried pickles. Dinners were all good and the staff was great at helping us find things for the girls to eat. Headed home after dinner for some pool and hot tub time, wine, fire pit, and a movie. Perfect Valentine's day!
The next day all of us drove up to Spring Mountain to Newton Winery
for a reserved tour and tasting. The vineyards, views, and winery are all gorgeous. The tour was very interesting and the wine tasting was held afterwards in a private room with views of the valley. Very nice! Dave and I had gone in on a case of their unfiltered Cab years back so it was great to see where it had come from and also to pick up some more.
At lunchtime Rachel and I left the guys and the girls at Gott's Roadside
as we had spa appointments across the street and the line to order was taking too long. But after our massages the two of us headed back over and had a late lunch of tacos, burgers, and wine outside on the picnic tables. There is something just so RIGHT about being able to order wine with your roadside burger! The line was still crazy long when we left at about 3:30pm. *I've got a special secret hint for my friends when going here to bypass the crazy line. You know how to reach me ;)
We had a nice walk back to the house and joined our gang in the pool. Later that night, after some hot tub time, the boys went out and brought back pizzas for dinner. We had a great time relaxing, making s'mores on the fire pit, and then chilling with wine and movies.
The next morning we woke up to another 75F degree day so Dayne and I spent an hour sunning ourselves by the pool before packing and leaving our friends to a day on their own. We stopped in Calistoga for a casual lunch of fish tacos at Palisade's Deli
enjoyed al fresco on the way to the airport.
The drive to Santa Rosa was lovely and warm, we were so happy to have the convertible (in February!!). We boarded the little prop plane and headed home to some sun of our own (but no where near 75F!) Big thanks to our friends for a wonderful weekend!
Recent Napa photos here