Last month I celebrated a milestone birthday. The highlight was traveling to Napa Valley, California for wine tasting! This was our second trip to the area over the last few years and even with the covid changes in place, the ambience, wine, food and scenery did not disappoint! While there, we revisited some favorite wineries and added new ones to the list, many of which were sparkling wine houses, since we were in celebration mode! This was a fitting way to bring in my fortieth year, with my best friend by my side!
Visiting Napa Valley, California
Highlights from a recent birthday trip to Napa Valley wine country, featuring some of our favorite wineries.
The last time we were in Napa it was over 100 degrees. Let’s just say, the weather wasn’t super ideal for wine tasting or being outdoors, but this time around was much different. Temps were in the upper 60s to low 70s and we even had a day of rain, that was much needed for the area. Day temps were perfect for tasting with comfortable seating outdoors, which was great considering covid protocols. With the protocols in place, most wine tastings were by appointment only, rather than just walk in, so we had to plan in advance. We did appreciate fewer crowds at the wineries and more privacy between tables, making for more of a personal experience. Masks were also required until seated at all wineries and restaurants.
Sparkling Wine Houses in Napa Valley
I was most excited to visit some of the popular sparkling wine houses in Napa Valley, starting first with Domaine Carneros.
Known for their stunning grounds and location, we couldn’t wait to visit the French style Chateau and kick off the festivities with a flight of sparkling. They also have wonderful red and white wine flights and combination flights with sparkling included.
Bites were also necessary! It’s not often that you find vegan cheese boards on a menu so I was pleasantly surprised by this alternative, which paired wonderfully with all four tastes of champagne.
I also fell in love with the grounds, including this fountain which reminded me so much of Paris.
Our favorite sparkling wine was the 2016 Ultra Brut. It’s a Dry sparkling wine, with notes of yuzu, vanilla bean and citrus and makes a great aperitif.
If you have plans to visit Domaine Carneros, I highly recommend booking in advance as reservations were limited.
Mumm Napa was a revisit from our original trip. They have a lovely seating area outdoors with private tables, umbrellas and views of the vineyards in the distance. The last time we were at Mumm we had our tasting indoors, due to the high temps, so this was a new experience for us. The outdoor space was peaceful and relaxing, with a light breeze and quiet music playing in the background.
We enjoyed most of the sparkling we tried at Mumm, specifically the DVX 2016 Rosé using méthode traditionnelle. The DVX rosé is made in honor of Mumm’s founder Guy Deveaux, blended with chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, to create the gorgeous sparkling rosé.
Last but not least on our Sparkling Tour was a trip to Domaine Chandon. From the grounds to the atmosphere, the outdoor space and the unqiue variety of sparkling wine, it is easily a favorite.
We arrived on a cloudy afternoon to the sound of live music playing the background.
The tasting room was casual yet classy, with friendly staff behind the bar. We were immediately intrigued by their seasonal Garden Spritz sparkling wine, infused with Earl Grey tea. This was a new tasting option and turned out to be our preferred sip of the afternoon, while listening to the live music. It was such a lovely vibe we stayed until close to closing.
While in Napa
While in Napa we explored much more than just the wine. They have a lovely public market called the Oxbow just a 10 minute walk from downtown hotels, with unique local shops and quick tasty bites too! C Casa Napa delicious tacos with vegan options, which we loved! We also checked out the grounds and gardens at the Culinary institute, enjoyed the local restaurants such as Carpe Diem and visited Yountville for food and dessert.
In Yountville we went to Bouchon Bakery to pick out a variety of French macarons for my birthday! The wait was long and the macarons were limited, but I’ll give them a solid 7 out of 10. The raspberry with the jammy center was our favorite.
These pretty pink birthday roses were from my hubby!
Along with my dream heels from Sophia Webster.
The Evangeline heel is from the iconic butterfly collection and pictures don’t do them justice! They’re also the most comfortable heel I’ve worn and are versatile for casual looks with jeans, or dressed up for an evening look, like my little black dress.
A few shots from our pre dinner birthday celebration at Brix. Masks required.
Followed by a toast on the rooftop at our hotel, the Archer.
We wrapped up our wine tasting trip with a visit to one of the most popular wineries in Napa.
Robert Mondavi Winery
This classic Napa Valley winery is known for its beautiful grounds, sculptures, fountain and Fumé Blanc among many other whites and reds. It is a must visit while in the area, for the location alone!
This was the last stop on our final day wine tasting. The rain had just stopped, so we took a walk to get a closer look at the vineyards. It was a wonderful way to finish out our trip!
Along with a flight of their whites and reds.
What are some of your favorite eats and wineries in Napa? If you’ve visited the area, I would love to know as I am sure we will be back again for another trip soon, although this time we are thinking about checking out Sonoma.
There’s much more on the way soon!
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