As you may have gathered, I live in San Francisco. Every now and then I question whether staying here is worth it given the high taxes, high rents, and general expensiveness of this city. And then I take a day trip somewhere and decide to stick around a bit longer.
This past Saturday, the hubs and I took a day trip to Napa via Sonoma. Driving north thru the Robin Williams Tunnel I watched in the rearview as the Golden Gate Bridge shrank away. Half an hour later we were in Sonoma at The Fremont Diner, our first of four stops.
1. The Fremont Diner. 2660 Fremont Dr., Sonoma, CA 95476
Cheddar jalapeno cornbread, biscuits and gravy, deviled eggs, need I go on? The Fremont Diner is what I’d call an upscale roadside diner. The staff is always super friendly, the coffee is good, mimosas even better, and the food more than hits the spot. Most of our visits we’ve been seated on the patio, but this time we were seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen so I got a great look at most of the menu and it all looked amazing…
Must try: deviled eggs.
2. Domaine Carneros. 1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA
Just 4 miles up Fremont Drive aka Highway 12 from The Fremont Diner is Domaine Carneros, a champagne house related to Champagne Taittinger. Tastings are by appointment, but walk-ins are accommodated if there’s room (that’s how we got in). The Domaine Carneros chateau is BEAUTIFUL, and the perfect setting to sip some bubbly. I personally found the wines in the Sparkling Sampler to be good – but nothing special really. Then I had a taste of the Le Reve and it was nothing short of dreamy! In fact, I liked it so much I joined the wine club on the spot.
Must try: Le Reve.
3. Rutherford Ranch. 1680 Silverado Trail S, St. Helena, CA 94574
We joined the Rutherford Ranch winery a few years back, and because it’s relatively far away we’ve considered quitting several times… but we just can’t. The wine is good, but it is the people that work here that make it so unbelievably great. The property is beautiful with a tree-lined patio and olive grove. And be sure to check out the cork tree while you’re there! I think it’s cool.
Must try: Scott Family Chardonnay, Rutherford Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
4. Mumm Napa. 8445 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558
Mumm is basically across the street from Rutherford Ranch. We joined Mumm shortly after our first failed attempt to quit Rutherford. I adore Mumm. The wines, the view, the little palette cleansing water crackers – all of it! Actually, there is one thing I dislike and that is the “2 flute max” policy that they have. The max helps move people through this popular spot, so I get it. Just know that you’re not going to be able to order bottle service here. Pop in and have a great tasting with a gorgeous view and then move on.
Must try: Santana Supernatural Brut, Brut Reserve Rose, Sparkling Pinot Noir
Happy sipping and day tripping!