A few weekends ago, Mario and I, along with two of our best friends made our way up north to Napa, to partake in Calistoga’s Winter in the Wineries Passport Event. You can read more about the event here, but basically it’s a $50 passport that allows you to taste at wineries in and around Calistoga, and also offers discounts at hotels and restaurants.
This trip was really special for us as we don’t often get to travel a lot with our friends. Michelle and Brendan (or as I lovingly call them, Shell and B) have an adorable 18 month old, and of course we have Sadie. So that morning, our babies were dropped off at their respective grandparent’s houses, and needless to say we were all really excited to be free of parenting responsibilities and on an adventure together.
Here we are together at our first stop. Me, Mario, Michelle, and Brendan.
Our first stop is my favorite winery in Napa. It wasn’t included in the passport, but any wine tasting adventure that begins at 10 am should probably include bubbles. So it had to be Mumm.
Mumm gives you three small sparkling wine glasses, so you can taste and compare.
They were all delicious, and how pretty is the red one? It’s called Cuvee M Red, it’s rich and a tiny bit sweet. I love to serve it during the Holidays because of that amazing color.
After tasting Michelle took this incredible bubbly, tipsy, artsy photo and we were ready to head up to Calistoga! : )
As you can see from the sign, Calistoga really has a lot to offer visitors. We have been here quite a few times and every experience has been unique and there’s always something new to discover.
We made our way to our hotel to pick up our passports and our first official stop on the passport list was Madrigal Family Winery.
It was here we first discovered that we not only got to keep these actual “passports” but that they would in fact be “stamped” at each stop we made along the way.
Such a fun way to keep track of our trip and the wineries we visited.
Madrigal had a small tasting room, but it was cozy to taste while relaxing on the couch, enjoying the view through the open doors.
And of course, we also enjoyed the wine.
Although the vines are bare this time of year, you can see they are still so incredibly beautiful.
After leaving Madrigal we made our way just up the road to Castello di Amorosa.
They have birds of all sorts, goats, pigs, cats, even an emu.
Lucky for us, only a few weeks before our trip, Mario decided to join the Wine Club. We love the wine here, but we also love to taste in the Club Room.
It’s a giant room full of barrels, tables, and castle décor.
I should also mention that the “non-club” tasting room is just as spectacular as this one.
It’s in the castle’s cellar, and it has cross-vaulted stone ceilings and equally amazing castle décor and chandeliers.
As you can see from the amount of glasses we have on the table, they are very generous with their tastings.
They have a really big variety from Estate Cabernet, to Pinot Bianco, to a sweet and slightly sparkling red called La Fantasia and everything in between. There’s really something for everyone.
And at this point in the day, the breadsticks were calling our name.
And of course any Italian country side style wine tasting could not be complete with out this little gatto. By the way, her name is Lady Guinevere. She has a buddy called Sir Lancelot who we did not see on this trip, but who is equally adorable.
And finally the beautiful courtyard.
After to a very fun visit, we sadly said goodbye to the Castle and were on our way.
Our final wine tasting stop of day one was walking distance from our hotel…. T-Vine Cellars.
The tasting room was beautiful and the wine was delicious.
Mario perfected his wine swirl technique.
And we even got to enjoy our last taste in the rocking chairs on the patio.
All in all, day one was fabulous. Beautiful wineries and incredible California wine.
Stay tuned for Day Two.
Check out Day Two here.