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SF/Napa trip - would love opinions on my restaurant/vineyard choices

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In mid-November I'm going to San Francisco for six nights (three for business) and Napa for two nights. My boyfriend is coming with me. We want the three non-business nights in San Francisco to be romantic and same for Napa. I want ridiculously delicious but not ridiculously expensive.

We get in on a Saturday at 2 p.m. We'll be on east coast time, so already getting close-ish to dinner time in our minds. Of course we'll push it to about 6 p.m. west coast time, but no later than that. I have been to San Francisco about 15 times, but not since 2001. He's only been once, and that was for business, he only did a couple of touristy things. So I want him to be impressed.

What would be the best restaurant to go to give him a feel of San Francisco, and a view of something spectacular, on our first evening for that early dinner? I was thinking Greens. We're not vegetarians, but a local friend recommended it and the menu and location sound outstanding.

The other restaurants I'm considering are Frances, Nopalito, Flour + Water, Foreign Cinema, Local Mission Eatery and Millenium.

really love the idea of Foreign Cinema. Sounds so charming.

I'd also like to visit Chinatown at lunchtime, just for the fun/funky vibe since we live in a non-urban area of the country. Are there any restaurants in Chinatown that you can recommend? I saw a couple mentioned but it's impossible to tell online if they're really any good. I saw Utopia Cafe and Ton Kiang and wondered about them.

We are driving down the coast one day, to the Monterey area. Probably no farther south than Carmel, at the most. Any particular restaurants for lunch and dinner that are recommended?

And then, in Napa, I'm trying not to spend a fortune. We're staying in downtown Napa. I'm looking at Bistro Don Giovanni and Celadon for our two dinners. Haven't picked lunch spots. Want to kind of play that by ear.

As for wineries, considering Darioush, Bremer Family Winery. V. Sattui for a picnic maybe and Duckhorn. Not sure where else to go...

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  1. Wow, board search is seriously broken again. Many of these have been discussed in the last week or two but they're not showing up at all. .

    Romantic with a view: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/868862

    1. Not familiar with Bremer. Darioush, V Sattui, and Duckhorn are the more touristy wineries of Napa Valley. Darioush and Duckhorn back it up with having good wine, but V. Sattui is kind of a mess with lots of buses pulling in and out (though in November it will be less so).

      I would advise picking a different winery than V. Sattui. Also, be prepared that it may be raining when you go.

      Are there types of wine you like? Or a type of experience you want to have? That can help us come up with recommendations for a replacement.

      1. was in SF/Napa a couple weeks ago, food was decent, nothing blew me away sadly, with the exception of Goose & Gander. That was fantastic, don't miss that. The cocktails are some of the best I've had, get the one with the beet pickled cucumbers and such in it. Also the burger with bone marrow is really something.

        Ad Hoc was really good too, Bouchon was good but stuffy, and Bouchon Bakery was great for breakfast.

        Stop every chance you get at a taqueria and get some awesome authentic tacos.

        Oh and don't drive after drinking, the cops are a bunch of douchebags.

        1. We're coming into town the week before you, woot! Re Chinatown options, we went to Utopia on our first couple of trips for their "snacks" menu and really enjoyed it but it is not at all romantic if that matters (really just a small cafe), and they don't do classic Canto dim sum service AFAIK.

          Ton Kiang has the distinction of serving me the best and the most expensive dim sum I have ever had. It is, however, nowhere near Chinatown but rather far out on Geary.

          Never been to Greens but have read a number of downhill reports here recently which you might want to peruse if the search function behaves itself.

          On our last visit, we went to Local Mission Eatery for our date-night dinner and it was lovely, quite SF-ey I thought, though no view (apart from the lightning storm that we got to witness through the picture window). The seating/layout at Frances seemed awkward to me when we were there, and my main was a dud so would not be rushing back. Also not romantic, and neither is Nopalito. Romantic, good food and view together is a tall order -- best of luck and have a great trip!

          1. Greens is VERY old and is not living up the hype it developed a decade ago - while the view is spectacular, the food is far from memorable. Ton Kiang's specialty is Dim Sum which is not served after 2:00 - can't say I've ever eaten dinner there...

            Unfortunately, the better meals don't necessarily come with better views. I'd go for a cocktail at the Cliff House and then head to better restaurant for dinner, heartily suggesting Aziza to wow the BF and while their cocktails will knock Cliff House's out of the water, it is not far from that originating location.

            In Napa, I would suggest avoid Celadon at all costs. They got caught up in the Asian-fusion concept several years ago and never quite got right. There are so many better options here in the valley including Angele (next to Celadon and a GREAT view of the river), Zuzu (upstairs has a view and lovely tapas), or Morimoto (pretty pricey, also has a view if you sit outside, and very memorable).

            For lunch, definitely hit Oxbow Market - you can decide from there if you want Peruvian, Hog Island, wood-fired Pizza, or something like Duck Tacos.

            2 Replies
            1. re: CarrieWas218

              While I'm not recommending it, Ton Kiang is known for serving dim sum all day, until 10pm.
              http://www.tonkiang.net/Dim%20Sum.html

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Greens got its reputation in the late 70s and early 80s, when Deborah Madison was chef.

              2. Just completed a Napa trip with similar goals to yours. For lunch in Napa, we had a great meal at Morimoto. Their "lunch sets" are a great deal, w/ tempura, soup/salad, sushi and entree for under $30pp. The black cod was especially tasty. If you'e going to head north to St. Helena, Gotts is a great place to grab a really good burger and shake. If you like an authentic, cheap burrito on the go, La Luna Market and Taqueria in Rutherford is great. We had informative, laid back tastings at Trefethen (very close to Downtown Napa), Frog's Leap and Robert Sinskey (little snacks with the tasting are a nice touch).

                1. Thanks so much for all the advice. It's much appreciated. You've given me plenty to think about.

                  I only want a romantic view restaurant with good food the first night. The other nights in San Francisco, good food is the key. I would like romantic in Napa, but that seems to be par for the course at many places. Heck, we'll be in Napa, drinking wine, enjoying ourselves immensely...what's not to love???

                  I have been to the Chart House for drinks before, with dinner elsewhere. I'd totally forgotten about that, since it was way back in 1995. Fantastic idea. Love it. Thank you! We won't have a car, tho. What is the best public transportation to get me to the Chart House? Cab or trolley or other?

                  I've been to V. Sattui, but it was at the end of a long day and, admittedly, it wouldn't have taken much to make me happy back then because I was giddy and happy regardless of the locale. I am trying to figure out a good afternoon on Friday, with which vineyards to visit in a reasonable time, and several to visit on Saturday. My flight leaves out of S.F. at 2 p.m. Sunday, so somewhere for a nice Sunday brunch would be great, too.

                  What I'm looking for in a winery is a variety. I'd like to see a big winery in business. I remember doing a tour at Woodbridge and enjoying that a long time ago. But would like to go somewhere else this time. And then a few comfortable, low-key casual spots, too. And somewhere perhaps for a picnic lunch with my sweetheart. or dining outside. We will be coming from a colder climate, so Napa in November won't be too chilly to us to be outside, if it's at least 60 degrees and sunny. Rain, of course, or temps in the 50's or below, will put us indoors. We're not crazy!

                  So where else would you guys suggest? Darioush was suggested because it's international with cool things to buy. Bremer because it's low key. And Duckhorn for one of their whites (will have to review my notes to remember which one.) But I'm totally open for suggestions.

                  How many wineries is it possible to visit in a day without feeling rushed?

                  Sitting outdoors at night, near a fireplace or heater, would be perfect even on a chilly evening. That's why I wanted to find somewhere romantic with a firepit or fireplace. I used to live in Los Angeles and Phoenix and always loved the chill evening air when there was a nearby fire to warm me.

                  And I've been reviewing old posts on this board, so I appreciate you guys tolerating a newbie asking questions.

                  Has anyone been to the Bubble Room? A friend suggested it in S.F. Said it's a champagne flight bar and fun.

                  30 Replies
                  1. re: taz99

                    Darioush is a cool building (Persian marble) but the wines are REALLY hot and alcoholic. Hard to recommend a winery where its best attributes are the architecture and gift shop.

                    Same goes for V. Sattui = TOURIST TRAP with lots and lots of mediocre wines and a huge gift shop.

                    Duckhorn and its sister winery, Paraduxx, are outstanding and I love Robert Sinskey. What Duckhorn does best is reds, though - not whites. Your best bet is to pace yourself with four wineries a day, tops. Three might be a better suggestion, depending on how aggressive you want to get.

                    If you have a 2:00 flight on a Sunday, you might be hard-pressed to get a good brunch unless you are getting seated and eating promptly at 9:00/9:30 a.m. in San Francisco. In that regard, I would recommend Foreign Cinema because it puts you in the south side of the city and an easier route to the airport (versus places like Dottie's True Blue or Brenda's). Forget about brunch in Napa on that day.

                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                      okay, thanks, carrie. Good thought on the sunday brunch timing. I think I'd rather sleep in after a late night in napa on saturday evening.

                      interesting about duckhorn's reds. I prefer reds. my friend had recommended the sauvignon blanc at duckhorn. now I'll just have to drink that AND the reds. the things I do for my friends. :)

                      I will look into Paraduxx as well.

                      I once did a dinner for business - a big seated affair - at the BV vineyard. It was a lovely setting. Does anyone recommend that for a tour/tasting of a bigger vineyard? I also had friends who loved the Sterling vineyard. I've never been there. Thoughts on it?

                      Also, I noticed many vineyards do a tour/tasting or tasting option. Is the tour worth it? It takes such a chunk of time.

                      1. re: taz99

                        Just wanted to throw in, that if I am in the mood for a very fruit-forward wine, I actually do like Darioush's wines though they are very pricey.

                        I like wineries that are by appointment - and you may want to do one by appointment. I'm just not a fan of distracted service at a tasting counter (though in November you will have less of this problem). I like the one on one, or very small group and one interaction with the staff.

                        Is a full tour at one of the big public wineries worth it? Depends. If you've never been on a tour, it's fun to go on a tour to hear about the wine making process, the history etc., if you go wine tasting regularly, most tours at public wineries aren't really worth it IMHO. The information is basic, so it's all very similar.

                        All the wineries suggested (except Paraduxx) have grounds you can wander in. This post by Maria Lorraine wineries that have great architecture etc.:
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8504...

                        1. re: taz99

                          Taz, you'll be coming in the middle of harvest and a lot of wineries that might normally offer tours are unable to do that because of the production going on. You might have to call around...

                          Some like to showcase the wine-making and others want tourists out of the way so they can get their work done; it is a total crap shoot on that regard.

                          Sterling is a big production winery and a lot of tourists like it because you have to take a tram to get there. Tours are fun if you want to see the background stuff at wineries. If you want to just taste, than tours can be a waste of time.

                          When I was writing about wine and visited Argentina, every winery wanted me to see their production/bottling line - the last thing I wanted or needed to see. I just wanted to taste and buy.

                        2. re: CarrieWas218

                          Carrie is right about Darioush and Sattui -- the wines are not well made at either place. Darioush's wines are over-ripe and over-extracted; they lack finesse and polish.

                          Sattui is a tourist trap. Avoid at all costs.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            *shrug*. Not well made how? As in Parker style heavy-fruit wines? They are certainly that. Overpriced? Probably - but so are many of the wineries on the floor.

                            Or that they are plonk? Darioush is well regarded from people who like the style. There's certainly no uniform/objective consensus I'm aware of that the wines are poorly made. Many critics like them and so do many consumers.

                            The tasting experience isn't the best (just a counter and it can get super busy). The building is cool.

                            1. re: goldangl95

                              As Carrie said, they're hot, alcoholic, over-ripe, overly extracted and lacking acidity. Sometimes stewed or cooked fruit. No, not well made, certainly not well made compared to all the well made wine to be had in Napa Valley. Sorry.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                Ok. I just want the OP to know that this isn't a uniform opinion, that wine spectator, wine enthusiast, hundreds of cellartracker users, people on wine beserker and the cellartracker forums etc. all very much appreciate and enjoy Darioush's wine.

                                Now I'm not saying that that means one has to like their wines (on the contrary I often disagree with all these sources myself). Actually, I don't even like Darioush super much. I just don't feel comfortable leaving readers of this forum with the impression that there is only one view on Darioush.

                                1. re: goldangl95

                                  I don't agree that is evaluated highly by critics or wine reviewers. Technically, the wines are not well made. I stand by my evaluation, and I am echoing CarrieWas218's opinion of the wine as well. We are both in the food and wine industry, have great palates and know our stuff. We both have been doing this a long time.

                                  You are entitled to a different opinion.

                                  My point is this: Since there are other wines, readily available, that are made well,
                                  go to those wineries. Don't even spend debating whether or not
                                  to visit a marginal winery like Darioush when there is such excellence within easy grasp. Really.

                                  1. re: goldangl95

                                    In the FWIW mode, I must say that I concur with Maria Lorain and CarrieWas218.

                                    Darioush makes wines which are technically not well-made, and sometimes flawed. That is, they are out-of-balance (i.e.: low in acidity), hot, and alcoholic -- these are all examples of being technically poorly made wines. I've also had several wines from Darioush which were technically flawed, which is something else again.

                                    You can say that it isn't a uniform opinion, and I have no doubt that's true. There are also people who love V. Sattui, but few people whose palates I respect . . .

                          2. re: taz99

                            I said chart house. I meant cliff house. duh.

                            1. re: taz99

                              The 38 Geary bus, which you can catch near Union Square, will get you with in a couple of blocks of the Cliff House, it's a long ride from downtown.

                              I think you were also asking about the Bubble Lounge. Looks like they might be a good place for happy hour, otherwise it's a bit pricey. It's located in between the Financial District and North Beach, so if you are in that area, could be a nice stop.

                              http://www.bubblelounge.com/san-franc...

                              1. re: pamf

                                thanks, pam. I am staying near mason/market st. so within walking distance of union square.

                                and thanks, carrie. I appreciate all the winery advice. so harvest will still be going on in mid-november? I was recently in orlando and met a gentleman from Napa and he said I'd be missing harvest by coming then.

                                1. re: taz99

                                  Taz, we had a very, very mild summer - same as last year - and, last year, we were still picking grapes over Thanksgiving.

                                  It won't be as crazy as October but it could still be going on, yes.

                                  The valley will be gorgeous. Before I moved here, Thanksgiving was my favorite time of year to visit because the vines are all on fire with orange, purple, and red leaves. You should be able to get in some good tours that will involve crush and maceration - the aroma is amazing so, yes, you should look for a tour that will involve this.

                                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                                    awesome, thanks for sharing, carrie. that's good to know. I love the look in autumn.

                                    if you had to pick one tour at one winery to show the process, etc, and that would still be harvesting the varietals available in mid-november (weekend of Nov. 16-18), where would you go?

                                    looking more at San Francisco restaurants. AQ is within walking distance of my hotel. Seems like a wonderful restaurant and maybe the best place after a long day of cross-country travel, saving Sunday evening for something farther away with a view. about to search for more AQ reviews.

                                    1. re: taz99

                                      Taz, look for the mountain wineries. (I can't name specifics because I used to work there and those posts get deleted), but Howell Mountain and Spring Mountain are high enough in elevation that their boutique wineries will undoubtedly still be picking AND doing full crush.

                                      I adore mountain juice; it is soft and velvety. You will also get a better one-on-one experience at the smaller, boutique wineries on the mountains, versus the valley floor. I'm sure others will chime in with specific recommendations, but I have given you a good lead to start investigation....
                                      :-)

                                      1. re: CarrieWas218

                                        why, thank you, again! you are very helpful!

                                        1. re: taz99

                                          Like Carrie, I have a taste for mountain / hillside wines, although I think Lewelling is the best bang for the buck cab sav in Napa, and they are on the floor. (wait list is about four years now, I think)

                                          I only go to the drive by wineries as fill in between the ones where I have appointments at. Some are OK, some not...I don't like feeling rushed or part of the heard. The first couple of trips to Napa, we felt like we were on a mission; taste as many wines as possible. I outgrew that and now much prefer the laid back, more personal visits where you can kick back, BS a bit with the winemaker or owner and enjoy time getting to know them. Two, maybe three visits of this sort per day is it.

                                          A couple places (appt only) that were memorable to me that I'd recommend to anyone: Flora Springs (the winery, not that hideous tasting room). At the winery, you will get to taste most of their wines, which are all quite good. You take a walk through their production, the caves, and even get to do some barrel tasting in different stages and different oak barrels. Very fun and educational. They finish the tour off on their patio (if the weather permits). The second was at Erna Schein on top of Spring Mountain. The tasting room when I went last was inside a VW buss. Very fun, informal, and they now have an outdoor pizza oven. They have very creative wines. Another on Spring Mountain I like to visit is Barnett. They probably have the best view of any winery in the valley. They make some really good juice too (I rather like their Pinot and Chards). This is a great place to take a lunch and eat at their upper patio overlooking the valley. Pride is OK, but a bit larger than I prefer. You don't get that one-on-one you do at the smaller places.

                                          If you get to the other side of the valley, Howell mountain area, Outpost is a must visit. Great juice, great view, nice people. Lamborn is another, but they only have a couple wines and their production is off sight. O'Shaughnessy is another favorite of mine (love their cabs). Jeriko Canyon is a small place, hillside wines and they are super nice people. The tour is personal, with the owners - usually. Not many wines though.

                                          If you want to see a super cool, state of the art winery, get a tour at Vineyard 29. Their wines are stupid expensive anymore, and I don't buy them anymore because of that, but if there was one winery to visit to be totally awe struck by, this one has to be it.

                                          So many choices, so little time...

                                          For lunch in the Napa area, I HAVE to go to the Rutherford Grill one day each time I'm there. They make a corn bread that I have aquired a strange dependency of..... Even if I just grab a box to go, I absolutely have to get some of that damn cornbread..... (They make other things too, I think)

                                          1. re: akmike

                                            Lots of good recs here.

                                            Re: Vineyard 29: "if there was one winery to visit to be totally awe struck by"

                                            A good rec, but there are at least a dozen that strike more awe.
                                            They'll be here waiting for you on your next visit.

                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                              I was referring to the tech in that winery more than anything else....(I have a background in the nuke industry)

                                              I'll be there this Nov, I'd love to hear your suggestions. Isn't there one that is built into a mountain somewhere?? That would be cool....

                                              1. re: akmike

                                                goldang has linked to a list of mine above.

                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                  I read your post in that thread... In regards to the winery in the mountain, Palmaz, what do you think about their wines? Based on some of your comments, I think we might have simular pallets. At $60 per person tastings, even though I'm totally interested in seeing the winery and the engineering that went into it, that's still pretty steap. I have not had them before, or even heard of them actually.

                                        2. re: CarrieWas218

                                          I agree that the mountain wineries (Spring Mountain, especially) offer wines with beautiful, clear, focused fruit and refreshing acidity. There are many posts on the Spring Mountain district wineries -- do a search for those (Google will be better than Chowhound's search function for this).

                                          1. re: CarrieWas218

                                            I talked to Smith-Madrone on Spring Mtn. and they said that they're about done with harvest now, that it was a month early this year. They said they don't think anyone else will be doing harvest, but possibly Prager Port Works will have a few late-harvest grapes still hanging.

                                            I'm disappointed to miss all of harvest, but it can't be helped.

                                            1. re: taz99

                                              We went to Prager 4 years ago and loved it.

                                              1. re: taz99

                                                Taz, you might want to call those on Diamond Mountain or Howell Mountain. Smith-Madrone specializes in white wines which would be picked early. Reds might still be on the vines for a few weeks at higher elevation wineries.

                                                1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                  Carrie's suggestion will be your best bet when you're here. But mid-November is very late to expect to catch any part of harvest. There might be some Petit Verdot (the last grape to ripen) or some botrytised grapes but that's it and even those are a long shot. Mid-November is the beginning of the rainy season so I doubt they'll be anything still hanging.

                                                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                    Just a minor quibble. Smith Madrone actually makes slightly more of their cab than they do of their riesling + chardonnay. There has been a lot of cult appreciation for their riesling, but I don't know if specializing in white wines is an apt description.

                                                    1. re: goldangl95

                                                      Good point, Goldangl -- I just think of their Riesling more than their cab...

                                                      1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                        It's one of the few wineries in California -- especially in Napa -- where I think first of Riesling, second of Cabernet . . .

                                  2. all of this info is so incredibly helpful. I'm now searching out mountain wineries. great idea for being able to do a tour and view the harvest production.

                                    I'll be coming in from San Francisco on Friday morning in November, so it makes perfect sense to stop in the mountain winery area first.

                                    Thinking about lunch somewhere wonderful in the St. Helena area. Any thoughts? I love the taco truck idea. I sooo miss that from my years of living in Los Angeles.

                                    A friend suggested the following to me, if anyone has opinions on these locations:

                                    Go to Boon Fly Cafe in Napa for breakfast/brunch.

                                    Go to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The house red is very good. The winery itself is pretty theatrical.

                                    Go to the Clos Pegase Winery. Designed by renown post-Modern architect (and designer of Target stuff) Michael Graves, it features an outstanding collection of art and sculpture. The winery's whites are very good.

                                    Go to Opus One Winery, buy a glass of their signature red, take it to the roof-top garden and enjoy the view.

                                    Have dinner at Auberge du Soleil. Make sure you save room for the dessert sampler tray.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: taz99

                                      Boonfly is fine for brunch, but it's a small place and there's a wait.
                                      Francis Ford Coppola moved his winery and movie memorabilia to Geyserville. The Rutherford winery was where Coppola was is now called Inglenook, the original name of the property, and is still owned by Coppola.
                                      Clos Pegase is a beautiful Michael Graves building but the wines are so-so.
                                      Opus One is expensive for what you get (one glass, one taste) but you may enjoy it.
                                      Dinner at Auberge du Soleil is vastly overpriced for what you get; the better bet is to have a cocktail or light lunch on the terrace overlooking the valley. You can get a similar view by visiting Rutherford Hill Winery next door and walking out towards the olive trees to the valley overlook.

                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                        thanks, maria. I googled each of his suggestions and I thought boonfly looked nice, but I wondered about the wait factor. i don't want to spend an eternity waiting for breakfast on saturday morning when there are wineries to visit! picking up a bit of pastry somewhere, and awesome coffee, is more in line with what I want that morning.

                                        interesting about the coppola winery. yes, sounds like my friend's info is definitely old. he's usually in the know about such things, but he does live in los angeles, so obviously it's been a few years since he visited those locales.

                                        I am interested in the clos pegase building. perhaps worth a quick stop.

                                        I reviewed opus one online and thought it sounded stuffy and not worth the bother.

                                        and auberge du soleil is out for me as a dinner option. didn't realize it was in sonoma. I want to stick to dinner restaurants in an easy cab's drive from our napa hotel (staying at the marriott. got cheap room on priceline.) so that we can make it back without a drunk driving arrest.

                                        that said, I have made dinner reservations at Ad Hoc for Friday night and Bistro Don Giovanni for Saturday night, but I'm flexible and willing to change both/either.

                                        I'm stil researching mountain wineries. what about Pride, Smith Madone or Sherwin? I'm thinking I will visit two mountain wineries on Friday and then something in the valley on our drive to our napa hotel (coming in from san francisco, from the north side). Not sure where to pick in the valley. so many options.

                                        then we will stay in the general napa to st. helena non-mountain area for wineries on saturday, our only full day in Napa.

                                        what about the tour at Hendry? Sounds very informative, but not sure I want to "waste" three hours on a tour. And then Truchard has great reviews on Yelp, for their tour but again...not sure. Jessup Cellars has a good Yelp review but the website made the place seem busy and not quite right. But a nice non-winery stop if we want another tasting of wine once we're back in Napa proper. I liked that they apply your tasting fee of $28 to the purchase of a bottle.

                                        1. re: taz99

                                          The mountain wineries are great. Either on Howell Mountain as someone mentioned above or Spring Mountain. They're all appointment only so plan ahead.

                                          Pride has beautiful manicured grounds and picnic areas. Their wines are super big - lots of fruit but also lots of tannins and oak that take a couple years (or more) to resolve. A previous poster the board referred up there bought a wine and immediately opened it for a picnic and didn't like it at all. If you do want to drink 'em right away, ask if they have a decanter/aerator lying around you can borrow or pour one glass out and then shake the bottle.

                                          Smith Madrone and Robert Keenan are more restrained in style (Smith Madrone is particularly restrained). Very earthy/a bit under-ripe for me. Not really my palate EXCEPT Smith Madrone makes an excellent riesling. It's also great to talk with the brothers and hang out for awhile and the views they have are lovely.

                                          Keenan's property is nestled into the hillside so no view - they are very friendly and the wines are well made.

                                          Barnett, Paloma, Spring Mountain and Terra Valentine are other wineries to look into on Spring Mountain.

                                          At the base of Spring Mountain is Trespass. Makes some nice wines, has picnic tables and a bocce ball court. You need to make an appointment. They are a small operation and I don't recall seeing a bathroom on site.

                                          1. re: taz99

                                            Pride, Sherwin, Jessup and Hendry are all great. Hendry is a gentleman and genius in at least a couple of ways (particle/theoretical physics and wine) so his tour might be especially interesting. I haven't encountered the tannins goldang speaks of at Pride. Love the Cab Franc particularly. Great swill across the board up high there on the mountain. Schramsberg is lovely all around -- beautiful, interesting, a world apart and wonderful, wonderful sparkling wine.

                                            BDG and Ad Hoc are very good choices. You might check out Redd, French Blue, La Luna market for lunch burritos, and the taco trucks. Sunshine Market and Dean & DeLuca upvalley for picnic food to have at a winery; Fatted Calf/Model Bakery downvalley. Goose & Gander for cocktails, or Auberge for the view for cocktails. Press for a great burger (sit at the bar) and so on.

                                            A little more reading will unearth more options, but you've got a good list going. Google is better for searching Chowhound than the Chowhound search function.

                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                Maria - I have not been to Hendry's. I have had his block 8 several times and enjoyed it quite a bit. I just did a search and see that he makes several wines. How are the others?? I might just try and squeeze in a tasting there.

                                                1. re: akmike

                                                  I tasted a couple of his cabs a few months ago and thought they were beautiful.

                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                    Thank you Maria. I will give them a call and see what they may have available when we are there.....

                                        2. You might like Grace's Table in downtown Napa . . . not too pricey and very good food and service. Lots of locals go there for a nice upscale meal without breaking the bank.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: vday

                                            thanks, vday. sounds like perhaps a good breakfast spot, too.

                                            I made reservations to do the tour at Hendry's. sounds perfect.