Thursday, March 20, 2014

Napa 2014- The Tasting Part

After the marathon portion of the trip was over, it was time to get serious. No less than three hours after the guys had finished running, they were showered, dressed, and ready to start drinking. We headed to the Napa Marriott to catch the party bus reserved for a total of 50 Gazelles. Needless to say, the remainder of the afternoon was a blast!

The Holland House: Napa Party Bus
Party Bus!!

Rather than bore you with a play by play of the remaining two days of our trip, I'm going to highlight our favorite eats and drinks instead. Below are the places that we consider to be "must dos" should you be planning a trip to Napa.

The Holland House: Wine Tasting in Napa

Round Pond

One of the girls in our group is family friends with the owners of Round Pond Estate, and she scheduled a really special wine/food pairing for us late Sunday afternoon. This beautiful property is off the beaten path in the Rutherford region of Napa. It sits smack dab in the middle of the valley, and has the prettiest views from their second floor terrace. Their standout wines include an easy to drink Sauvignon Blanc (hello hot Texas summer), and several delicious cabs. We shipped home several bottles, along with some of their own infused olive oils that we had a chance to sample at our tasting. We did not get a chance to tour their gardens and orchards, which is all the more reason to go back. If you do anything in Napa, it should include a tasting on their terrace in the late afternoon. It was heaven.

The Holland House: Round Pond
Looking out the front window at Round Pond.

The Holland House: Round Pond
View from the Round Pond terrace.


My mom helped arrange a tasting at this small vineyard. One of our goals for the trip was to visit places where we couldn't necessarily be able to find the wine back home- and this fit perfectly. The Biale Family has been growing Zinfandel on their small property since 1937, and they do red wine really well. Our tasting was so casual, and led by a knowledgeable (and very pretty) Marie who filled us in on all kinds of interesting "behind the scenes" information. We sat on their back porch for about 2 hours, looking out at their vines and mustard, tasting wine and chatting with friends. Perfect way to start a Monday, in my opinion. We also shared a few good laughs over how one of our friends misread the below sign. You'll have to check out their site for the story of the Black Chicken.

The Holland House: Biale Vineyards

The Holland House: Biale Vineyards

The Holland House: Mustard

Gott's Roadside

So much wine must be tempered with food, and a burger and fries from Gott's Roadside was the perfect "in-between tastings" meal. There are two locations, but the one we went to sat right on  the highway in St. Helena. You order at the counter and eat outside, so weather can definitely play a factor. They use quality ingredients and source locally when possible, and the fries are out of this world! I was stuffed after my meal, but am kicking myself for not trying one of their shakes. This place is an absolute must!

The Holland House: Gott's Roadside Burger
Wisconsin Sourdough Burger (hold the mushrooms)


Our last tasting of the day was at Turnbull, at the recommendation of Marie earlier that day. Since it was a Monday, we were able to get a tasting scheduled in their private room. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Marvin the wine dog, and I knew we were going to have fun. The property was really pretty, and the private room was comfortable and intimate. And Tyler, our wine guy, was adorable. We made our way through the reserve flight, and loved everything that we tasted. It was such a fun experience! At the end, we made our way inside the main building, and the guys pulled out yet another wine for us to taste, a Cab Franc, and at that point Hank and I joined our first wine club. We hardly ever splurge on big things, so we were really excited about it and are looking forward to receiving all of our wine this year.

The Holland House: Turnbull Cellars

The Holland House: Turnbull Tasting
We all had purple teeth after drinking so much 
Azzurro Pizzeria

Our neighbors recommended Azzurro, and lucky for us it was right around the corner from the house we were renting. It definitely has a neighborhood feel to it, and I highly suggest reservations as it's a smaller restaurant. The second you walk in, you smell pizza dough and garlic, and it is awesome! We shared pizza, salads, and wine from a place I wish we had had the chance to visit- Elyse Winery. Great food, and nice ambiance after a long day of tasting.

Overall it was truly an amazing trip. We had such a great time with our friends, and it was perfect timing for us to get away from the house for a bit. It's always nice to come home, but I'm glad we've glad plenty of bottles to help remind us of our trip to Napa.


  1. I love Gott's! Their burgers are truly delicious. You've made me homesick for California with these recaps! Thank goodness I'll be back for a week next month.

    1. What part of CA are you from? I don't know how you could ever leave....we loved it so much! Hope you enjoy your trip back.

  2. You two are just the cutest together - beautiful couple. What champs for being able to function after their marathon - I was pretty useless after my half!!

    1. I'm the same way Jess- I don't know how they did it. At the end of the day, two of the runners (men) were taking swings around the poles on the bus, and one did the worm! Maybe it was the amount of wine we consumed that eased their tired and sore muscles? :)


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