After wrapping the fourth season of Goodtaste, I went on a celebratory trip to one of my favorite places: Napa, California. Our three-night stay felt way too short, but I guess it’s always better to leave wanting more! Since this is a place that I visit frequently, I’m often asked where I like to go. The massive wine region is filled with incredible restaurants, hotels and charming boutiques and there is certainly no shortage of amazing vineyards. Well, your request has been granted! For all of my fellow traveling oenophiles, here is the Goodtaste guide to Napa.
For special occasions, I like to stay at the Auberge du Soleil on the Silverado Trail in Rutherford. Many of their lavish rooms are outfitted with a giant private bathtub on the patio! It’s the most idyllic place to relax and take in the sunrise or sunset. Also, do not miss the breakfast here. They make a buttery pecan coffee cake that has the most delicate crumb and crisp streusel topping. Don’t worry: I brought the recipe back for you!
Quintessa is a chic, modern vineyard on acres of rolling hillside that makes velvety smooth reds. Be sure to ask about the hilltop tasting. The views are breathtaking and it’s a nice change from a tasting room experience. (Tanji’s pro tip: ask for Desiré as your tour guide. She was incredibly accommodating and very down to earth.)
Barnett Vineyards – This tasting reminds me of how tastings in Napa used to be some years back. The tasting room is in a beautiful home near St. Helena. Hospitality is warm and friendly here, and yes, the wines are delicious. Bordeaux in style, worthy of aging and savoring.
Reverie II Winery – This relatively new, small producer is worthy of your time. The tastings here are also in a home and include an adventurous jeep ride to the hill top where you’ll taste even more wine. This winery primarily bottles varietals—Barbera, Tempranillo, Cab Franc and Cabernet. They also do a delightful Roussanne/Marsanne blend – a white that carries a nice balance of body and acidity.
Anomaly Vineyards – This is a small winery in St. Helena. The tiny producer features Cabernet only. We’ve enjoyed their wine for a long time and it’s always fun to return for another visit.
Hall Wines – Get ready for a fantastic tasting, in a fun party atmosphere, in a beautiful tasting room. The space is contemporary, lively and very hospitable. Wonderful wines, too. Seek out their Cabernets.
Goose and Gander in St. Helena – St. Helena – This is a favorite among many of the locals, and we love it, too. The Napa bungalow setting is cozy, warm and inviting. The space itself dates back to 1923! We nabbed the recipe for one of the most delicious mushroom soups I’ve ever tasted, perfect for any winter night. (Tanji’s pro tip: don’t miss the popular speakeasy in the basement, too!)
Hog Island Oysters – This place is an absolute favorite of mine – and any in-the-know oyster lover. Whether you visit them in Napa, at their farm in Marshal or in San Francisco, the oysters are always fresh and the BEST. The Kumamotos are a particular favorite.
Bouchon, Yountville – On every Napa trip we like to treat ourselves to a lavish dinner at this Thomas Keller bistro. The food, wine list and ambience are all exquisite and unbeatable. Be sure to book this reservation far in advance.