If you’re lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, then you know that you’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from Napa Valley Wine Country. Or should I say “shake, rattle and roll” after the 6.0 earthquake at 3:20am on August 24, 2014. One of our favorite getaways is the quaint town of Yountville. We decided to drive up for the day to celebrate a special anniversary. Yountville is a great walking town – park your car and spend the day hanging out and exploring the area. A popular foodie and wine destination, Yountville is known for its eclectic gourmet restaurants (including the world-famous French Laundry), fun bars, luxurious spas, boutique wineries and tasting rooms, upscale art galleries and trendy shopping.
We arrived in Yountville mid-morning and headed over to Bouchon Bakery for coffee and pastries – they have a nice little outside patio area where you can relax and people-watch. After our hit of caffeine, we made our way over to the historic V Marketplace 1870, a charming brick complex of speciality shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and a wine-tasting cellar.
For lunch, we went casual at the Pacific Blues Cafe, sitting outside on their partially-shaded patio. Arrive early for an outside table because it gets very crowded, especially during peak tourist (harvest) season. Not wanting to spoil our appetites for dinner, we opted for two salads (Spicy Asian and Baby Spinach), both killer! Menu also includes burgers, sandwiches and chef specials.
Time for wine-tasting 🙂 Be selective, as tastings can add up considerably. Be sure to check prices before you sample any wines so there won’t be any surprises.
Having made many trips to Napa Valley over the years, we wanted to try a tasting room and a winery that we hadn’t visited before. Our first stop was hope & grace, a local tasting room on Washington Street in downtown Yountville. Verdict: Great wine, friendly, knowledgeable staff and unique artwork. Tastings are daily; private tastings by appointment.
Next stop was Cliff Lede Vineyards in the Stags Leap District, located at the Yountville Cross Road, a short drive from the center of town. The winery is known for their premium Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Verdict: Excellent Cabernet, entertaining staff, oldies music and lovely grounds. Tastings are daily and no appointments are necessary. We really enjoyed this winery and met some interesting people who were visiting from out of state.
Now for the highlight of our visit. One of the most romantic restaurants in Yountville is Bistro Jeanty, a charming little French Bistro nestled in the heart of downtown – look for the red and white striped awning. Noting that we were celebrating a special anniversary, we were seated in the back room near the fireplace – very romantic. There’s also outdoor patio seating if you prefer dining al fresco. For starters, we indulged in their specialty – the Creme de Tomate en Croute (Tomato Soup in Puff Pastry). It’s like opening a gift. First you pierce the pastry with your spoon, then discover the creamy tomato soup beneath. This dish alone is worth a trip to Bistro Jeanty! For our entrees, we both feasted on Jeanty’s classic Steak Frittes (Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Fries and Bernaise Sauce) and a side of their incredible Macaroni & Cheese. Dining here made us feel like we had been transported back to a bistro in Paris.
All in all a memorable day in Yountville – and a great way to celebrate a special occasion.
If you want to visit Napa Valley or Sonoma Wine Country and leave the driving to someone else, consider booking a fun Guided Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour.