Oct
06

Travel Diaries | Napa Valley

It only took about a day for Napa Valley to steal my heart. As you’d probably imagine, it was a weekend of red wine, white wine, rose, champagne, cheese, cured meats, and if you know me, you know this is my own personal type of Heaven.

Let’s start with Day 1: The Castle

Who doesn’t love a castle? I found Castillo de Amorosa long before we got to Napa and I knew we had to go. The experience started as we began pulling up the long, winding drive way. With trees lining either side of the drive, it immediately felt like we were entering a fairy tale and foreshadowed what we would find inside.

We started our time here by exploring every corner of the building. Everywhere we turned was something beautiful – be it a room, a view, or a painting. The dark, ominous hallways opened up into a beautiful sun-filled courtyard where visitors can climb up to the castle’s towers and take in the mountainous views of Napa Valley.

This lead us to the tasting room where we tried several wines paired perfectly with an assortment of cheeses – my favorite being a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon called IL Barone. The room itself was stunning. With wine casks lining the walls, detailed stone tables, leather chairs, and wood ceilings, I knew our first stop was going to be my favorite. It felt as though a castle should – dark, mysterious, regal. Our sommelier was extremely knowledgeable about all Castillo de Amorosa wines and made the experience one I’ll never forget.

This lead us to the tasting room where we tried several wines paired perfectly with an assortment of cheeses – my favorite being a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon called IL Barone. The room itself was stunning. With wine casks lining the walls, detailed stone tables, leather chairs, and wood ceilings, I knew our first stop was going to be my favorite. It felt as though a castle should – dark, mysterious, regal. Our sommelier was extremely knowledgeable about all Castillo de Amorosa wines and made the experience one I’ll never forget.

I’ve been researching wine clubs in hopes of finding one worth while and I think Castillo de Amorosa may be the winner. Their club gets you free entry into the castle as well as a discount for your guests, discounts on wine (important), and what I’m most excited about – invitations to special events including a very elegant New Years Eve Casino Royal party and a Valentine’s day Royal Hearts Gala. Disclaimer: this is not an advertisement for them, I simply loved this place so much that I think everyone should go and experience the castle.

Day Two: All Aboard the Wine Express

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The infamous Wine Train is what brought us to Napa in the first place. Austin loves trains and I love wine, so I can’t really think of a better adventure for us. We chose the Legacy Tour which was scheduled to take us to Robert Mondovi Winery, Charles Krug Winergy, and ended at V. Sattui Winery. Unfortunately on our trip, the weather wouldn’t allow us to visit Charles Krug Winery, but we got to see Beringer instead.

All three of these wineries took my breath away. There’s something fantasy-like about drinking wine while taking in the view of vineyards atop Napa Valley’s rolling hills while surrounded by the fog coming off the mountains on either side. It’s this feeling that made me promise myself I’d go back as often as I can, and it’s this feeling that made me buy way too many bottles of wine to take home.

Day 3: Domaine Carneros

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We weren’t quite worn out enough to justify skipping a winery on our third day in Napa. I knew I wanted to switch things up a bit, so our final day was all about the champagne and sparkling wine. The immediately-noticeable, vast stair case of Domaine Carneros was not only an excuse to stop and take in the beauty of the building and vineyard, but added an elegant charm that really set me in the mood for champagne.

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Austin and I each had a flight of various refreshing beverages, both old and new. What I love almost as much as the wine and champagne itself is the food pairings we get in addition. Here, we settled on the cheese plate and caviar (my first time trying caviar – I thought a place like this was quite fitting).

I mentioned the possibility of joining Castillo de Amorosa’s wine club earlier, and I am contemplating joining Domaine Carnero’s as well. Each place has such different, but delicious types of wine that it’s completely justifiable. Do you agree? If so, do me a favor and help me try to convince Austin!

Now, I know you might be thinking this is quite the extravagant and expensive mini-vacation, and you’re not wrong. However, our secret is that our flights and hotel were completely free. That’s right – free! We took advantage of sign-on bonuses and credit card points to get us to Napa and help us stay a few days. That way, we were able to spend the money that we would have on those things to see (and taste) all Napa had to offer. Are you guys interested in credit cards and how you can utilize them like this? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do a post or two about how we’re able to make this happen. For now, we leave Napa and head to San Francisco!

Cheers, Sarah

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