A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to travel to San Francisco and Napa Valley with my parents and one of my brothers. We flew into San Jose, then drove to Napa for several nights where we were able to visit some of the local wineries. We spent one afternoon “tasting” the wine and “sampling” the chocolate. It was actually rather lovely — especially when you consider we’d left behind Midwestern temperatures in the triple digits.
In an effort to relive the vacation, I thought I would share some of what I experienced here with all of you.
First, let me say — if you’re considering a trip to Napa, be sure to book your winery tours in advance. Not all of the wineries are open for touring all of the time, and space can fill up quickly. That said, if you’re unable to commit to a tour in advance, you can still walk into a good deal of the wineries for tastings. We were told that most of the wineries opened at 10 a.m. and closed between 5 and 8 p.m., so do call ahead if you’re looking to drive over in the late afternoon or early evening.
One winery I would highly recommend is the Signorello Estate Winery. While we hadn’t booked a tour, the folks at Signorello Estate were very accommodating, and set us up on their beautiful patio — complete with an infinity pool overlooking the valley — for our tasting.
Only one of my brothers was able to make the trip, but alas he’s just one year shy of the legal age, so my parents and I were the only three “tasting” the wine. During the tasting, we tried the Signorello Napa Valley Padrone, Hope’s Cuvée Chardonnay, the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay, and the Seta. I have to say, normally I exclusively favor red wine over white — white often leaves me with a slight headache after one glass — but my favorite wine of the tasting was Hope’s Cuvee, which was created in honor of the owner’s wife.
In addition to the magnificent view and extraordinary wine, the tasting also includes in-house chocolates. My favorite by far included Mexican spices that paired nicely with their red wines.
If you’re interested in learning more about chocolate and wine pairings, I’ve gathered the following resources and recipes: