When life’s stress gets to be a little too much a wine country escape is the perfect remedy. Napa Valley and specifically Calistoga is the perfect place to unwind offering exceptional wine, satisfying food, and mineral water hot springs. I never tire of driving through picturesque Napa Valley. This time of year is especially beautiful with a profusion of mustard blanketing the valley, like a carpet of sunshine.
With 50 wineries in Calistoga it is challenging to narrow it down to just a few each visit. This time I’ve decided to visit Envy Wines. As I drive up the long driveway I note the seemingly dormant vineyards dotted with mustard. Picnic tables and a cozy tasting room greet me as I enter. Their Sauvignon Blanc is crisp, with grassy and fruit notes, perfect as a warm-weather wine. I enjoyed the Bee Bees Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Merlot – a luscious and smooth wine with red fruit characteristics. The 2010 Petite Sirah is surprisingly smooth yet complex with bold fruit flavors. I couldn’t resist these two reds and take some home with me. This is an idyllic location for a picnic at the outdoor tables overlooking the vineyards, savoring their delicious wine while soaking up the sun’s rays.
I’ve heard about Lava Vine for some time, so decide to stop. They have rustic picnic tables full of wine lovers enjoying a bottle of wine, surrounded by olive trees. Inside, the tasting room overflows with enthusiastic guests. The staff is both entertaining and attentive trying to keep up with the stream of visitors. Much of their wine sells out, so each visit is an opportunity to taste something different. I enjoyed their Chenin Blanc, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon and their Reserve Cabernet.
Located nearby is B Cellars occupying beautiful grounds with outdoor tables overlooking a lagoon and a spacious indoor tasting room. Their tastings include a cheese and charcuterie pairing complementing their wine. They specialize in blends, hence the “B” in B Cellars. I start with the 2011 Blend 23, a Chadonnay/Voignier which is refreshing; next is 2009 Blend 24, a Cabernet and Sangiovese which is delicious especially paired with the salami; 2009 Blend 25 is a Cabernet/Syrah, rich and fruity paired with aged gouda cheese; and finally the 2010 Frediani Petite Sirah, a standout, complex yet smooth, lightly oaked, with blackberry flavors and hints of spice. The winery will be relocating to Oakville this summer where they will add wine caves.
After a day of wine tasting, I love nothing better than a soak in Calistoga’s famous mineral waters, reputed to have restorative properties. Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs has three distinct mineral pools all at different temperatures from which to choose. As I lie on my back and gaze up at the palm trees overhead, I am content and resolve to spend as much time as possible in the pool. The warm water soaks through my skin and fills me with tranquility. Luckily I have a two hour spa treatment, The Works during my stay to further my relaxation program.
Dining: Calistoga Roastery provides hearty breakfast and lunch fare, along with delicious coffee. Take a sandwich to-go to enjoy later for a picnic at one of the wineries. Boskos Trattoria has a selection of Italian cuisine in a comfortable environment. I love their pastas paired with a glass of wine, produced locally. Hydro Grill has a selection of beer on tap, and fresh satisfying food. They also have live music on weekend evenings.
Sleep & Spa: Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort pioneered the modern Mud Bath process, called “The Works” this five-step regimen includes a mud bath, mineral bath, steam room, blanket wrap and massage, leaving you feeling blissful. If you stay at the property you can enjoy their comfortable rooms and relaxing mineral pools. Park your car at the end of the day and walk to shopping, restaurants and more wine tasting in town.
Details: Calistoga is a two hour drive from San Francisco, located at the northern end of Napa Valley. For more information on restaurants, lodging and activities check the Calistoga Visitors website at http://calistogavisitors.com/calistoga-index.php.
Looking for a romantic travel destination? Get inspired from over 375 articles covering food, wine and memorable places.
Enjoy this article? Be the first to receive email alerts for new articles by this author by clicking Subscribe above. You will not be spammed and can unsubscribe at any time.