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Sunday 27 Oct 2013
Napa, USA

Heading for wine country...

Leaving Livermore for the last time, we bid a fond farewell to Bill and Donna and headed back towards the bay.  We crossed the Benicia-Martinez Bridge (that ticks off my fifth of the seven bay bridges) and continued North to Wine Country.  We eventually found our hotel in Napa after a few u-turns, not helped by the fact that our sat-nav thought the hotel was on the opposite side of a very busy intersection.  We booked ourselves onto the same wine tour as Claire and Anthony, the honeymooning couple I met in Yosemite a few days ago, then drove up to Yountville for lunch.  Except, we somehow drove straight past Yountville and ended up in the picturesque St Helena instead.  The single carriageway road meanders past vineyard after vineyard as it follows the Napa Valley up to Calistoga.  Every spare inch of ground is covered in vines, looking glorious in the bright afternoon sunshine.  In peak season, this road is packed with wine tours and wine tourists here to taste the offerings of more than 450 wineries in the 25-mile-long valley.

In St Helena, we found an excellent pub bistro called the Goose and Gander, which served delicious grilled scallops and goose fat chips.  After a wander around the town, we made our way back to the hotel for a free tasting provided by the Andretti winery.  The wine was nice, but the girl serving showed no interest in telling us anything about it. 

We met up with Claire and Anthony again in the evening.  Ailsa was still suffering from jetlag so stayed in for an early night while the three of us went to a wine bar in Napa.  The Carpe Diem bar served a mixture of tapas-style plates or main meals, along with recommended wines for each dish.  I started with a ‘Flight of Tiny Bubbles’ – three 1/3-size glasses of sparkling wines including a local Chandon offering, a rose and a Champagne from France.  Yummy.  We shared the cheese and charcuterie platter, artistically served on a huge wooden slab.  I followed it with an ostrich burger, which has to be the best burger I have had since visiting Fergberger in Queenstown.  It’s a shame Ailsa missed out because the food was simply delicious.


Mileage: 1890

Running total: 4,507

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