Monday, January 24, 2011

Hilltop Winery with a View

I've been taking guests to Plumpjack Winery in Oakville for as long as Blue Heron has been open.  A couple of years ago wines from Plumpjack's sister winery, Cade, started showing up in the Plumpjack tasting room. The Plumpjack staff kept telling me that I had to see Cade.  A couple of weeks ago, I made the journey.

Cade Winery is located high up on Howell Mountain, one of the premier Cabernet regions in Napa.  The winery is Gold LEED Certified for its environmental efforts and the vineyards are organically farmed.  The Plumpjack staff were right, the view is spectacular.  

Cade takes full advantage of its location, producing three Cabernet Sauvignons and one Sauvignon Blanc.  One of the Cabs is from the estate and another is made from grapes sourced from other Howell Mountain growers.  The third Cab, as well as the Sauvignon Blanc, carry the Napa Valley designation.

Tastings are by appointment and cost $20/person.  The experience is very personal.  One of Cade's staff walks you through the currently available wines while you sit in the parlor or on the terrace, from which the above photo was taken.  If you like Cabernet and want to have a leisurely tasting experience, then journey up Howell Mountain to Cade.  If you'd like to take a private tour of the Napa Valley that includes a visit to Cade, please contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or

Monday, January 17, 2011

All-in-One in St. Helena

Want to taste wine?  How about some olive oil?  Paired with cheese?  Maybe a little grass-fed beef?  Then Long Meadow Ranch's tasting room in St. Helena is for you.  The Ranch is located in the Mayacamas Mountains and produces wine, olive oil, grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables.  You can arrange a tour of the ranch but, if you just want to taste the ranch's food, visit Long Meadow's  tasting room in the historic Logan-Ives House, just south of the center of St. Helena

If you want more of Long Meadow Ranch's and other tasty food, visit Farmstead Restaurant - right next door.  The southern influenced cuisine is delicious.  On a recent visit, I enjoyed a tasty Rancho Ribellita soup full of kale, beans, other good veggies, and beef in a tomato stock.  I love dumplings and was not disappointed with Farmstead's buttermilk dumplings with chickens.  One friend had wood roasted winter squash as an appetizer and "brick cooked" chicken for her main course. She said both were yummy.  My other friend had the soup and potato gnocchi with grass-fed beef.  The serving was so big, he took much of it home for dinner.  The deserts looked terrific but we were all too stuffed.  I'll definitely be including Farmstead among my Napa Valley restaurant recommendations.

If you would like to take a private Napa Valley tour that includes a stop at Long Meadow Ranch and Farmstead Restaurant, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or