I’m heading to Napa for the first time ever. While I’ve been to SF several times, I never quite made it to Napa. Oliver and I had planned a trip there, thinking we’d be staying with his younger brother for a few days, but I kind of killed that idea when I broke things off. He returned from his trip with bottles sold only at the vineyards. He had purchased one of the top Napa valley wine limo service where they certify you as an “amateur wine grower”. He then presented me with an assortment of itemized gifts. A jar of fig preserves with a handwritten note. A mint jelly for lamb, another note. A port wine. An Hermes scarf, “for when it’s blowy out.” It was quite thoughtful, actually. We got back together, the way people tend to do when they’re feeling lonesome or sorry for themselves. In that way where one person knows it’s only temporary and the other holds onto hope. Eventually, there was a clean break, which is best for all involved, if you’re able to manage it. If you don’t have children, live in the same building, or work together. It’s easier, really, when you don’t, in fact, shit where you eat.
Phil and I are making a clean go of Napa next week. He’s been before, but I’m not sure what he remembers of it. Not much of a spitter, that one. We’re staying at the Vintage Inn in Yountville and have two full days of decadence ahead. We weren’t able to secure a reservation at French Laundry, despite my best fit-throwing attempts (this involved a single pout, mind you–as I’m not much of a physical fit-thrower. Though recent posts would claim otherwise). We are however destined to dine at Bouchon (this time in Napa. We went last time we were in Vegas, and I had a peach there about which I still speak fondly), and at Auberge du Soleil. I tell you it was a vacuum-sealed peach, cooked for a hundred or so hours at a very low heat, bobbing in some water. It had the consistency of flan. It was a silken peach, the finest in all the land, and when I slept upon it, I dreamt of my grandchildren sitting on tuffets beneath stray creepers and a knobby peach tree. No, not really. But it was, and will be, the best peach of my lifetime.
One of the afternoons will be spent near our hotel, visiting Domaine Chandon, biking to different nearby vineyards in Yountville, relaxing by the pool. Another day, we’ll have a driver for the day who’s suggested the following stops: Pina (had ratings in Enthusist of 93 and 95 last week) or Regusci, Hoenig, Bremer, Viader. It’s actually hard to decide given the limited amount of time and liver space. I don’t love that each stop includes a tour. I’m fine with tourig it up at one or two of the stops, but then I’d really much prefer to do much quicker tastings, in and out, the way I’ve done in the Hamptons. We’re not much interested in visiting places like Hess, simply because they have a nice art draw, or learning about metal vs. oak and the fermentation process. We’re interested in learning about the wines we’re tasting, but we don’t need full tours to see where the wine is made. It’s like seeing the cow before you eat the steak. It’s far more important to us that we’re able to taste wines and go to places where we’ll get good photographs. It also needs to be practical, as we don’t want to spend all our time in the car either, driving to places that aren’t anywhere near each other.