Carneros Inn or Solage??
My boyfreind and I are planning a 3 night trip to Napa Valley for the second week of September. I am a new red wine drinker and tend to stick with Pinot Niors while my boyfriend enjoys sparkling wine. We would love to stay at either the Carneros Inn or Solage but cant figure out what location would be the most convenient for exploring those types of wine-we are also open to tasting and trying new things. I've done a lot of research but it is our first trip to wine country from New York and would really like it to be amazing! Help please ;) Feel free to reccomend "must see" vinyards and favorite restaurants...Thanks!
Carneros Inn would be the better choice between the two. You're right in the middle of the Carneros Appellation wher you'll be within a few minutes drive from countless Pinot Noir producers as well as a couple solid sparkling wine houses (Domaine Carneros and Gloria Ferrer). Pinot producers would be Acacia, Bouchaine, Etude, Mahoney (there's also a tasting room near the Oxbow), and countless others.
In terms of dining you're also a lot closer to downtown Napa, where a lot of new restaurants have been opening up in the last few years. The Carneros Inn also has 2 dining establishments (1 is open B-L-D and the other just L-D), they're a bit pricey, but it's what you would expect from a resort.
Another benefit to Carneros Inn is being about 10 minutes to Sonoma, where there's also quite a few establishments to hang out at (Hopmonk Tavern for when you're done drinking wine and need some incredible beers). Top restaurants in Sonoma include Harvest Moon Cafe, the aforementioned Hopmonk Tavern (though more of a hangout), the girl and the fig, and LoKal (an eastern european soulfood / beergarden type spot that does some grubbin food).
On the flip side - the Solage is up in Calistoga, which is very much Cab country. However, you're only a 20-30 minute drive over the hill to Santa Rosa and the Russian River Valley. The RRV is home to some of the best Pinot you'll find in California, as well as a solid sparkling wine producer in Iron Horse in between Graton and Forestville. You're on a bit of an island in Calistoga, so expect a lot of driving to get anywhere, but it's far more scenic than hanging out in Carneros for most of the day. You could easily spend a day upvalley in Calistoga area to get your fill in, but there really isn't much to do at night up there. The SolBar restaurant at the Solage is pretty outstanding, however.
Harvest Moon Cafe
487 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476
230 Petaluma Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472
My husband and I are also from the East Coast and visit Napa often. We love Solage so I would definitely recommend them. Each guest cottage comes with two cruiser bikes so you can ride into town and do shopping or even better to the wineries. If you need to drive somewhere they have 3 brand new Mercedes that you can take for FREE to either valley. They have one of the best spas in the valley I would make sure get the mudslide and request the couples room. Solbar is so amazing. We eat at least 3 meals there (1 breakfast and 2 dinners) every time we go. Big Big fan of Solage. Can't recommend it enough.
Ditto on the recs for the Carneros Inn, Fremont Diner and di Rosa. I'm devoted to all 3 spots. At the Inn, the spa is a must. Hilltop pool has a beautiful view and poolside food and drink. The second pool is for lap swimmers like my wife and is adjacent to the excellent fitness center. It is one of the best workout spots in Napa Valley.
HDV is a small premium winery with Carneros vines and top Cardonnay, Syrah and Merlot blend. Their intimate tasting in the boutique winery on Trancas St in Napa is an unknown treat. Our guests from out of town consistently give it the highest rating.
Lastly, weekend brunches at Solbar at Solage are wonderful. If your trip takes you up valley to Schramsberg (best sparkling wine tour and tasting), have lunch at Solbar. Food is inventive and top notch in a modern friendly style. Michelin 1 star.
Have a great time.
2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA
i'm glad to see you're picking between two amazing places carneros and solage. since it'll be your first time to napa, it's almost guaranteed to be a great experience. i personally liked biking around calistoga. but have done the driving to various places from carneros.
some places i've liked relative to the price...
lunch (or brunch): solbar, ad hoc, redd, bouchon bakery snacks
dinner: morimoto, bottega
Solage! The restaurant is great there, too. I know the wineries up there are more oriented to big reds. However, the concierge there was very helpful telling us about off the map wineries just when I thought I'd been everywhere. I suggest you call him and get a list, maybe even have them make appointments at places without tasting rooms, tell him what you're looking for. I think you'll have a better weekend there. I've been in the Bay Area for almost 20 yrs and I was tired of Napa until I went to Solage.