Finding Romance in Napa and Sonoma
Everyone knows that wine is truly an aphrodisiac. So, it would follow that spending a vacation deep in vineyards would be the penultimate in true romance. Here’s my rundown on 10 places to find romance in CA wine country (Napa and Sonoma Valleys):
1. Wine and lunch pairing at Lynmar Estate. If you can only do one wine and food pairing while in CA wine country, this is certainly the one to choose. The setting is gorgeous, the food delectable and the wine pairings are perfect. Ask if they will take you on a “mule” ride around the vineyard (it’s not alive, it’s an ATV!). And make sure to meet the owners; they are lovely and have a lot of great stories to share. At lunch, don’t miss their Roasted garden baby beet salad with Bellwether Farm fromage blanc which they pair with their 2012 Quail Hill Vineyard Chardonnay. Perfect!
2. Hotel Les Mars. Most people choose to stay in Napa when they are in CA wine country given all the 4 and 5 star hotels there. We opted for Sonoma this time around, so we could stay at this lovely and romantic Relais and Chateaux hotel. From the moment you walk into the lobby, you feel like you are in a french chateaux which seems regal and homey at the same time. The rooms are lavish with canopy beds, plush bedding, fresh flowers and an aristocratic bathroom. Don’t miss their Aromatherapy romantic bath menu!
3. Bowling at midnight with a glass of wine at the Meritage hotel. Something that I didn’t expect to find in Napa was a modern bowling alley right in the swanky Meritage Hotel and Spa. We ordered a bottle of wine from their extensive wine cellar (definitely worth checking out) and got romantic with a little friendly bowling wager. And then we sat on a lounger at their pool and looked at the stars. We even ran into Gordon Ramsey there.
4. Dinner at the Michelin-star Farmhouse Inn. There are quite a few Michelin star restaurants in the Napa/Sonoma area. My personal favorite is The Farmhouse Inn. It is quaint and romantic with unique and delectable fare. If you can, make sure to splurge for the 4 course wine and food pairing. They will send the sommelier over to you table to get a sense of what types of wines you enjoy and then my suggestion is you just let them choose your food and wine pairings. Two of our favorite dishes were the the Seared Atlantic sea scallop with the corn and chanterelles and the Snake River Farms beef with the potato-spinach pie and corn pudding.
5. Private tasting and tour at Chappellet. Chappellet is known as one of the best wines in Napa situated on Pritchard Hill. It has been a family-run establishment since it’s inception and you feel the closeness and love at all corners. The property is beautiful and the wines are exquisite. Don’t miss the the 2006 Chapallet Cabernet Sauvignon. Tres romantique.
6. Dinner at Lucy at Bardesonno hotel. Lucy sits proudly on the site of the modern Bardessono hotel. We opted to sit outside so we could dine under the stars. The food is a mix of innovative healthy fare with a mix of whimsical. Definitely try the Ahi Tuna or the Miso Cod. And don’t miss the Lucy Garden Basil and Mascarpone Cheesecake for dessert.
7. Amuse Bouche end of the day at Round Pond Vineyard. When you get to the end of a long drinking day, a welcome respite is going for the Estate tasting on the deck looking out onto Round Pond Estate vineyard. They have comfy couches and a great breeze and delectable little tastes that pair perfectly with their wines. Love their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and their olive oils.
8. Lunch on the veranda at Auberge du Soleil. If you have the room for it, amidst your tastings, try to have lunch on the veranda at this famed hotel. The setting is lovely and tranquil, the food is delectable and romance is in the air. Don’t miss their prix lunch, a real bargain at a Michelin star restaurant. I loved the Lobster salad and the Kurobuta Pork Chop.
9. A tasting at Spottswoode vineyard- walk around the property and have a personalized tasting. Spottswoode is a beautiful setting for trying some of their top wines. The wines and the gardens have been farmed organically for 30 years. Make sure to have them take you on a luxuriant walk through the property while you try several of their award winning wines. Don’t miss the 2014 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc.
10. Art tour at Hall vineyard. Each vineyard in CA wine country is known for certain things. Hall is not only known for it’s wine (the Hall Eighteen Seventy-Three Cabernet Sauvignon is delich) but also for it’s fabulous and unique art collection all over the property. Make sure to save time to take a stroll with your sweetheart through the vineyards and through the Hall building itself.
Samantha Daniels is a well-known Professional Matchmaker and Dating Expert as well as the founder of The Dating Lounge, the exclusive invitation-only iPhone dating app for upscale people looking for real relationships. You can follow her on Twitter @Matchmakersd. For more information, go to www.SamanthaDaniels.info or www.thedatinglounge.net