It’d been a year and a half since we’d taken a vacation. The kids were safely with their nonos. I wanted to go to Mexico. Chiapas and the Yucatan. But Mike wasn’t too excited about it, and I really didn’t want to spend the money, so we decided on a short trip to the wine country and Mendocino instead. Wine tasting and waves. We started last Sunday.
We left around 9:30 am and headed to Napa, intending, of course, to wine taste. I’m not a serious wine aficionado, I can’t tell the difference between grape and blackberry in a wine, but I love wine tasting, the whole experience of it. And Mike, who couldn’t taste much ’cause he was driving, humored me.
Our first stop was Domaine Carneros, we hadn’t been there before. It’s a beautiful winery, built to look like an old manor, with nice views of the valley below and the highway. We had a relaxing time tasting there.
We were starving by then – we hadn’t had breakfast and the trip to Napa isn’t that short now that we live in San Leandro (we used to live in Richmond) – so it was time to hunt for food. Or rather, go to Giugni’s, which has to be the best deli in the whole world. At least they make the best sandwiches, we’ve been tempted in the past to just go to Napa to have them. Yum, yum.
Then it was V. Sattui, what must be the most popular winery in Napa Valley. With its large tasting area, store and picnic grounds it’s a perfect place to stop for lunch. With the sandwich you just had bought, for example. But nooooo, you can’t bring your own food anymore (even if you buy their wine). It sucks. We hurried to eat our sandwiches in the car. They were yummy but the car was hot so we didn’t want to linger over the food.
We had a good tasting experience at V. Sattui too, and we ended up buying some Muscat. Mike loves Muscat, I like Muscat, the problem is what to do with a whole big bottle of Muscat. Nobody can drink much of it without going into diabetic coma. We are going to have to invite some of our friends for something and Muscat. What goes with Muscat, anyway?
After that we went to Milat and Flora Springs, two nearby tasting rooms which weren’t too exciting.
Even though it was still early, I was done wine tasting for the day. I’m not sure exactly why but we decided to head to the hotel, the Roman Spa. Don’t get any idea this was a fancy place, more like a 70’s motel with a couple of outdated pools (yeah, you thought pools couldn’t be outdated, but these ones really had a 70’s feel). Mike (and this, I’m sure, will surprise you) took a nap while I read a mystery I borrowed from the lobby. I finally convinced him to wake up and join me at the pools. They had three, each one at a different temperature, all hot. In a hot Napa afternoon, this was perhaps not the most refreshing idea. But it was nice and relaxing enough. Still, we couldn’t do it for long.
We returned to watch the end of Copa America, a soccer contest between South American teams. Argentina had such great hopes when it started, it had all of its best players playing and was sure to take the cup home. Brazil, whom they were playing, had sent their second-string team and had shamefully lost against Mexico in their first game in the tournament. It didn’t matter, Brazil massacred us. Argentina played terribly and deserved the three goals (against nothing) that Brazil scored. But what a shame, what a way to put a dumper on my vacation.
But soon it was time for our mud baths, and the whole experience (related in the linked article) made us relax and forget the game. Thanks generic-god-of-your-choice!
We were by then hungry again and kind of tired, and decided to go to dinner early. We’d made reservations at Solbar, the restaurant of a brand-new spa in Calistoga, for the simple reason that I wanted to review it before anyone did (yeah, yeah, yeah, you shouldn’t review a restaurant when it just opens, whatever). It was actually quite good and we had a very nice time.
Then we came back, had another swim in the pools, including the jacuzzi inside, and went to sleep. It was a very nice first day of vacation.

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