Friday, September 10, 2010

Post 7: Artesa Winery at Napa Valley --> Boon Fly Cafe for Lunch

The next day morning, we left San Francisco and headed towards Napa Valley Wine Country. I don't know too much about wine, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it! I've been to a few wine tours at Niagara and was extremely looking forward to going on a wine tour at Napa Valley (haven't been to one outside Niagara). 

When I say I don't know too much about wine, I really don't; my limited knowledge consists of knowing what I like, and what I don't like.

Red Wine
Like - Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
Dislike - Merlot

Like - Pinot Grigio, Riesling
Dislike - Chardonnay

Knowing what I like and dislike is usually sufficient since I'm not trying to be a wine connoisseur or anything =D

We headed to Artesa Winery after checking into our hotel. Artesa was a winery highly recommended by the concierge at our hotel. 

The architecture of the winery was incredibly stunning and beautiful. In order to not ruin the pictures with my at most "average" vocab, I'm going to take the words from Artesa's website where they described their Winery:

"Artesa Winery is a study in the harmony of natural and manmade spaces. Designed by renowned Barcelona architect Domingo Triay and built in the early 1990's, the avant-garde structure was conceived to blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.

The naturally insulated winery is set into the highest hill of its 350-acre estate, with a protective covering of reserved earth and native grasses. A sweeping staircase set between twin cascades of water and fountains leads to the winery entrance..."

"...An expansive terrace offers 360 degree vistas of the surrounding countryside, and on clear days, a view of the San Francisco skyline..."

"...With architecture that captures a series of Mediterranean themes, including water flowing along narrow channels, audible and silent fountains and the interplay of light and shade, Artesa is a reflection of the proud Spanish heritage upon which it was founded."

For me, it was truly breathtaking being up there. You think these pictures are beautiful? Well, it's not even close to how it was like being up there. You really had to be physically there to experience it. The fresh air, the incredible view, the water, the artistry, the grandeur of the whole place is just too much to describe in words!

After taking a gazillion pictures, we finally went into the visitor centre. The next wine tour does not start until an hour and a half later, so we went to a nearby cafe for lunch called Boon Fly Café, located at The Carneros Inn.

Boon Fly Café looked like renovated farmhouse from the outside. Inside, it also had an extremely high ceiling like a farmhouse with a very air-y ambiance. 

Open kitchen!

All the tables were full.  We couldn't risk missing the wine tour so we got everything to-go and ate outside the restaurant, on the swings =)

We all weren't too hungry so we just ordered something small and quick.

Beer battered sweet onion rings with spicy ketchup - Really good. Actual thick pieces of onion with thin batter and the spicy ketchup was a treat.

Caesar salad with roasted red onions, shaved parmesan and croutons - This salad was a bit hard to eat since all the ingredients weren't cut to an edible size. I liked how the red onions were roasted though (compared to just raw).

Arugula salad with goat cheese - Salad would've been good if it came with another dressing. Forgot what this dressing was but it had wayyy too much oil!

After lunch, we headed back to Artesa and did their wine tour. It was about half an hour and we got to taste a lot of wines afterwards. The tour was overall pretty good, but I was disappointed at how we didn't get to out to the vineyard. 

Here are some pictures from the tour:

Artesa was known before as Codorníu Napa. The Codorníu family began making wine as early as 1551 in Spain. They specialized in sparkling wine.

In 1991, after 2 years and $30 million, Codorníu Napa opens. In 1997, Codorníu Napa began a $10 million conversion, crushes first still wines that carried the Artesa label. They didn't produce any sparkling wines here because they noticed that still wines were a lot more popular than bubblies in North America.

In 1999, Codorníu Napa becomes Artesa Winery, which releases its first still wines: two Chardonnays, three Pinot Noirs, and a Sauvignon Blanc.

Some ancient looking wine bottling / opening devices (?) 

For the wine tasting session at the end, we got to taste 5 of their limited reserve wines (listed on the right side of that folder).

My favorite one is the Estate Reserve Pinot Noir Carneros 2007. 

Even though I don't know too much about wines, I enjoyed the tour tremendously. Artesa is just visually so stunning that even if you don't drink or like wine, you should still go visit and walk around if you happen to be in Napa Valley. It's totally worth it.

4048 Sonoma Highway
Napa, CA 94559

1345 Henry Road
Napa, CA 94559

My Virgin America Trip to Los Angeles, Caifornia