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As if a rainy day in Napa Valley isn’t romantic enough, a rainy day in Napa Valley: cheers!
Henry David Thoreau said ” a single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener.” The rain may cause cloudy skies but, it sure does clear out the usually busy, chaotic tasting rooms of wine country.
After a drive down highway 29, I walked through the cold wet rain up to the doors of Vine Cliff Winery. A swanky dressed gent with beautiful hands held open large glass doors. As I passed through I emerged into a cozy cocoon of warmth, complete with a roaring fireplace, food, and wine! It was a concoction of perfection. The staff welcomed my husband and I. We ordered a bottle of 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon which was a fabulous accompaniment to the offerings of chef Tom Stafford. Mushroom, French brie, garlic, creme fraiche, truffle pizza was hand crafted and fired in a wood burning oven. The pizza was sublime. It was luscious and velvety with an airy crunch, and a creamy garlic finish. While sipping incredible cabernet, the friendliest woman came along. She entertained me with witty conversation full of her amazing experiences.
She was none other than Misses Nell Sweeney, the owner! It was it was a luxuriously rare treat to experience Napa that way. I wanted to stay longer but it’s Napa Valley. There are always reservations to keep!
Cocktails next! Yes! Cocktails in wine country. Domaine Chandon offers a cocktail mixing class featuring their house bubbles. A large gorgeous table is set for many people with ingredients and recipe cards. A guide gives instruction and helps keep pace, which is much-needed, because it is hard not to make friends while mixing and consuming three cocktails in one hour after drinking wine all afternoon.
After copious amounts of bubble consumption there is only one reasonable thing to do. Eat macaroons! When it comes to macaroon time in the Napa Valley, there is only one place to go: Bouchon bakery! Order one in every color! Not because they are beautiful but because they are delicious! Savor every moment. Feel the skin of the delicate shell. Lightly grip it between your fingertips. Inhale the soft scent. Put it in your mouth. Then bite down, and go to heaven! I promise you won’t feel guilty about it in the morning.
Located along the river in downtown Napa is Oxbow market. It could possibly be heaven. It has been described as a culinary paradise. All under one roof Oxbow houses a dizzying array of amazing restaurants, shops and bakeries. The temptations of The Cookhouse restaurant seduced me into dining on the five dot ranch burger with local greens, caramelized onions, tomato bacon jam and cheddar cheese. The big juicy red wine I washed it down with was a match made in heaven: even though it was still raining outside!