Friday, July 22, 2011

Under the Napa Sun

Who could ever forget that classic Sex and the City moment between Carrie and Big: surrounded by boxes in his apartment, they've ordered a pizza and he's about to serenade her with "Moonriver," when we tells her that he's moving to Napa because he's tired of New York. She exclaims: "If you're tired you take a Napa, you don't move to Napa!" On my trip to wine country last weekend, I couldn't get that line out of my head.

Although I had trouble leaving my post by the hotel pool, it didn't make much sense to visit Napa without at least one or two wine tastings. For our one day-adventure, we went to Castello di Amorosa, a 13th century castle-turned-winery, complete with a drawbridge, caves and a torture chamber! It looked like something out of Tuscany:

When I wasn't quoting Sex and the City in my head, I was humming the melody to "Sheep May Safely Graze." Clearly, the wine at the Castello has special powers - to move one back and forth between an 18th century cantata composed by Bach to a hit HBO series centered on the lives of four women in New York. Who knew?

We strolled the grounds, peaking our heads around eerie corners and into rooms with names like "The Great Hall." Finally, we made our way down to the cellar for some tasting. We skipped the torture chamber.

We tasted some reds. My personal favorite was the Sangiovese, whose aromas evoke dried flowers, red plum, sweet exotic spices and wild berry flavors. I picked all of that up on my first taste ;) Just kidding, I know NOTHING about wine, besides that I like to drink it.

Here's something I do know: I love rosé! A chilled glass of rosé can really add that special spark to a summer day. This particular rosé was called Gioia. Oh, Joy!

This little opening/window fascinated me. Does anyone know what it's called? I'm curious. Anyway, peering through it reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time: Under the Tuscan Sun. Diane Lane buys a villa in Tuscany. The concept just never gets old for me.

It's sort of lovely that just one hour north of San Francisco is a little taste of Tuscany (I should start taking better advantage of its closeness - aside from wine, I hear there are lots of good hiking spots up there). Are there any nearby, easy-to-get-to getaways that remind you of a faraway place??

Would love to know. In the meantime, I hope your weekend is filled with Gioia!


  1. Ah a good Rose (not a French keyboard, so no accent marks) Nothing says summer for me quite like that wine. Took some and a beautiful lobster salad to the Hollywood Bowl this week. Was stuck in traffic for 2 1/2 hours though - so when I sat down, felt definitely like I was somewhere far away - like the Twilight Zone, does that count?

  2. long time reader, first comment. Hello!

    When I lived in San Francisco, Calistoga was my getaway place. It reminded me of my self apart from work and stress, not only was it relaxing and beautiful, obvs, with flowing wine and cheese and mineral pools and bike rides along the vines, but I would instantly feel alive again ( which living in SF and working at a nonprofit, this is enough, hah!)


  3. Ooo, I wish I was there now! Embarrassing question, but didn't a date on The Bachelor take place there?

    Beautiful shots!

  4. i love that sex and the city episode! so good.

    your napa adventure looks dreamy. perhaps on my next trip to sf?!

    xo joanna

  5. I love Napa and it does take you to another place, Tuscany or Provence. How lucky we are to live in California and be able to get there fairly easily and enjoy all that beauty.