Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Red Birdhouse Caught My Eye

My post is late. Late. Late. I had every intention of using Jamie's computer and publishing Sunday afternoon. The Napa sun intruded. The day was glorious. The sun was brightly shining and the afternoon temperature was pleasantly NOT hot. It wasn't cold, either - it was , well it was perfect.

We flew to Napa, California on Saturday morning. Our plan was to leisurely visit wineries, eat yummy food, and just relax. We succeeded swimmingly. I did have a small hope of checking email and keeping Cafe Nay Nay updated. In the end, those hopes were not realized. So, here I am to tell you about a wonderful weekend getaway.

I am biased. I won't even apologize. Wine country is one of my favorite places on earth. When retirement age hits, this is where I want to be. I can't stop dreaming of the fresh produce, access to the most wonderful dairy products, the very best restaurants, and the wonderful, wonderful wines...sigh.

So instead of focusing on a particular meal, a favorite wine, I thought I would bring you vignettes from our trip. I don't have a specific recipe to share today, but hopefully you will enjoy the photos and stories.

Let's begin by talking about a red birdhouse.

The red birdhouse above caught my eye. The bright red color amidst the green foliage really stood out. This photo was taken at Elyse Winery. We had never visited this small family winery before, so we weren't sure what to expect. In a word, it was very inviting. Ray and Nancy Coursen were at the winery that day and were very welcoming. It always adds some magic to the wines when we get to see the heart behind the wines. Elyse Winery produces many different varietals. If I had to pick a favorite (which is hard), it would be the 2006 Elyse Korte Ranch Zinfandel. It was delicious!

Another stop on our trip was to Robert Sinskey Vineyards. We are fortunate to be members of their wine club, so we always make time for a stop when we are there. To add to the magic of the sunny day, we enjoyed our wine tasting with a food pairing sitting outside. It's hard not to have a relaxing day as you are sipping wonderful wines that are perfectly paired with scrumptious bites. Below you will see a Potato & Sweet Onion Tortilla, Gougeres (savory cheese puffs), St. George Cheese with Fig & Quince Jam, Charcuterie, Olives, and Almonds.

If you want a friendly experience, with great wines, great food pairings, and a relaxing setting - Robert Sinskey is for you. Everyone that you meet at the winery will make you feel special. If you visit, you will always return. I promise.

Another highlight of our trip was a visit to Round Pond. They are not new to Napa, but have only recently opened their doors to the public. Not only do they make wonderful wines, but they also produce gourmet olive oils. If asked to describe the tasting room, in a word it is breathtaking. There wasn't an attention to detail missed. As wine consumers, we are so lucky to be able to walk through their doors, experience unique wines, and have access to their decadent olive oils. Meyer lemons...blood oranges...these are terms used to describe the olive oils. The wines are wonderful. If you love cabernet sauvingnon, these wines are definitely worth the tickle on your taste buds. They are big and bold.

And finally, I have to give a shout out to Ad Hoc. If you're familiar with Thomas Keller of the famed French Laundry, you will love Ad Hoc. This is another of his brilliant creations. There is only one menu a day which consists of four courses. I have a picture of the mixed green salad with poached shrimp. I couldn't get enough of this salad. It was so fresh. Thomas Keller grows all of his own greens, so odds are, they were picked only a few hours before it was tossed. The balance of the dressing was perfect. I wish you could taste it.

I've only given you a small window into our getaway - a small sampling of our trip. It was divine. It was special. It was relaxing and a true gastronomic experience. It was even more special to share it with my hubby, Jamie.

Honey, here is to 12 happy years of wedded bliss! Kiss...Kiss!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Renee,

My name is Shannon and I'm the editorial assistant at Following up on a recent email invitation to be a part of our newly launched Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I just want to reiterate that the Foodbuzz team loves reading your posts and would be very excited to have you become a part of our blogging community. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at

Looks like it was an amazing day in Napa.


Shannon Eliot
Editorial Assistant,