Sunday, February 5, 2012

Michelle's Picks 2012: A WineTastic Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to roll out the romance to your significant other (or crush), and Napa is the place to be! I've listed some fun and romantic events/wineries to visit around the valley below to help you plan your special celebration.

  1. LOVE FEST at Merryvale, on February 11th will feature a 4 course tasting menu by Ken Frank's La Toque, which was awarded a michelin star. Each course will be paired with a delicious wine. I love going to events here, because the cask room is beautiful, intimate, and very romantic. At $150/person, this event is expensive, but it will definitely be a special experience. 
  2. Schramsberg Vineyards is probably one of my favorite romantic experiences in wine country. They are a premier sparking wine producer in California, and for Valentine's Day, how can you go wrong with candlelit hand carved caves and some bubbly? The tour and tasting lasts about an hour and you sample 4-5 different sparkling wines (usually in the cave), it concludes with heart shaped chocolates...this place was made for days like this! The tour and tasting is $45/person and it is by appointment only. I want to share one thing that I really wished I knew prior to going to my tour: if you join the wine club and sign up for a shipment prior to booking your appointment, your tasting fees are complimentary. If you decide to do this, it pays for itself practically immediately ($105/shipment for 2 bottles at a 25-35% discount vs. $90 in tasting fees and no wine). Note: This is a winery that will NOT refund your tour and tasting fee if you decide to join after your tour. It was a real bummer when we learned this during our first visit.
  3. O'Brien Estate Winery is a beautiful boutique vineyard that focuses their brand on "romantic wines". The tour and tasting is fun and can be very romantic. It is a beautiful property with some very delicious wines. My personal favorite wine is the Seduction, a tasty red blend. Their bottles have really cute poems on the back of each wine that express feelings during the different stages of love. This winery is appointment only and the tasting fee is $15/person, but will be waived with bottle purchases. 
    Can't make it to wine country, but want to have a bottle or two for a romantic date? These wines are my top romantic picks to celebrate your love:
    • Schramsberg Brut Rose ($41), is a delicious pink bubbly option that both of you will enjoy. It's wonderful by itself, with a fish dish, or even with some chocolate covered strawberries.
    • Etude Heirloom Pinot Noir ($90), this is a beautiful pinot noir that is worth the hefty price tag. This is my "go-to" for something special. This is a great pick for pairing with truffled macaroni and cheese, filet mignon, or any of your rich and savory dishes. This is a wine that you will be talking about long after it is gone.
    • Stags' Leap Petite Sirah ($38), is an intense red that is perfect with cheese and a romantic movie. This wine is complex and interesting with hints of berries and pepper, it knocks your socks off.

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