Napa - Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain
I have a Thurs to Sunday trip planned in two weeks. I have been to Napa several times, but my boyfriend has not.
We are staying at Meadowood and don't really want to spend too much time driving up and down the Valley. As of now, we have a driver for two days. My plan was to avoid the Valley floor and do Cade, Viader and Ladera on Howell and on the next day do Pride and perhaps Cain on Spring Mountain. I've made dinner reservations at Solbar in Calistoga and at Press in St. Helena. The other two nights I think we'll wing it at the more casual Bistro outside at Auberge and the Grill at Meadowood. We also really just would like to spend a day relaxing and enjoying the Meadowood pool and property.
My question is: am I or we really missing something by skipping the Valley floor? I'm not into the crowded roads, but I'm afraid my boyfriend will miss the Napa experience if we just do Spring and Howell Moutains. We also just intend to picnic both of those days at Viader and at Pride.
I've been too many times to be objective about what a "newbie" might enjoy and if the itinerary will maximize the trip.
I am all about the mountain wineries and think you have a great itinerary planned; you will find the wines to be softer and more velvety than the valley floor offerings and you will get more personalized one-on-one attention (and possibly barrel samples!).
Other Howell Mountain wineries to consider while up there is Outpost (stunning Rhone varietals), O'Shaughnessy, and Lamborn (best Zin in Napa!).
I think it all depends on the person. For some, going to wineries they recognize or they can tell other people about is part of it e.g. (opus one, mondavi, quintessa etc.). Additionally, if the boyfriend isn't into wine, visiting wineries with car collections and art collections may be of some interest.
If that's not the case for the boyfriend, I say skip the valley floor.