Sometimes you just need a quick getaway to cure the doldrums of the winter months. And that is what we just did with a one-night getaway to Yountville in the Napa Valley. We booked a room at the Napa Valley Lodge for $149 at their special winter rate. The Lodge is very comfortable and within walking distance of the restaurants, tasting rooms, and lots of boutique shops. Although on this day it was grey and damp, it was a delight to drive along the Napa Valley floor and take in the beautiful scenery of the mountains and vineyards.
We arrived just in time for our 12:30 lunch restaurant at Redd Wood, the newest restaurant in town, owned by Richard Reddington of Redd Michelin fame in Yountville. The restaurant is located in the North Block Hotel, formerly the Hotel Piero. Redd Wood is a pizzeria with causal dining in a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. The specialties, of course, are pizzas but there are many other menu items. There were four of us for lunch. Two shared a pizza and a salad and thought they were both just okay, nothing spectacular. Janelle and I shared a pear and wintergreens salad and a sandwich with rosemary foccacia, prosciutto cotto, and crucolo cheese. They were both excellent. The Sommelier was very cool, answering my questions about a few wine choices on his wine list, and recommended a Docellto/Barbera from Piedmonte in Italy that was very tasty, medium bodied, and perfect with our meals. The Wine list is good with a wine selection at $38 and above.
You can just hang out in Yountville and go wine tasting at as many as 12 tasting rooms. We received three complimentary tasting coupons from the Napa Valley Lodge for Yountville tasting rooms, but decided to take a ride north to visit Ballantine Vineyards, a sleepy winery just across the road from St. Clements Winery. There will be more about Ballantine in my next blog post. The winery deserves a full article, because it is very different compared to most Napa Valley wineries.
Later in the afternoon we returned to Yountville and strolled along downtown streets. With a free tasting, how could we pass up Cornerstone Cellars? It is a quaint and beautiful tasting room with comfortable sitting at the bar, on couches, or at tables. They have two flights of tastings, and with four of us we did a combination of both. All the wines were delicious but the three Cornerstone Cabernets with magnificent. We ended up with a big splurge purchase of a $70 Howell Mountain 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon to be enjoyed later that evening with dinner at the Bottega Restaurant.
Dinner at Bottega was outstanding. The food, the service, and atmosphere were just perfect. We had a lovely and leisurely dinner over the course of three hours. My wood-grilled, grass-fed lamb was amazing, and after sharing a few bites all agreed. Bottega is in the V Marketplace and owned by chef Michael Chiarello.
The morning brought us a new day of clear air and wonderful sunshine. What a time for a walk or a jog along Yount Mill Road. On the way back I took a walk down Washington Street, and lo-and-behold the was a camera crew taking shots of the French Laundry restaurant and world-famous chef Thomas Keller. I got a couple of great shots myself.
Following our buffet breakfast we checked out and visited shops in Yountville and Napa. We left the Napa Valley and headed back home refreshed and rejuvenated. At this time of the year, the Napa Valley is very quiet and serene. There are few crowds and everything seems to be moving at a very relaxed pace.