Historic Winery and Tasting Room
1055 Atlas Peak Road
Napa, CA 94558
Yelp is my best friend whenever I travel. I’ve found so many cool and unique places through Yelp. So before my recent trip to Napa, I yelped a few wineries. This one had really good reviews and it looked like a different kind of wine tour, so I was sold! It’s $50 for the winetasting tour (led by candlelight) and reservations are required. Check the Del Dotto website for the tour times. Each tour is limited to 12 people.
The winery is a small one — they only produce 14K cases a year. Since the winery is small, wines can only be purchased either at the winery or online. According to our guide, the wines sell out every year. The winetasting is an interesting one, since they let you taste the wine straight from the barrel. They also explain how different barrels/woods affect the taste of the wine. If you like the wine that you tasted, you can order it. Once the wine is ready to be bottled, the winery will then ship the wine to you. Really cool experience, not to mention really great wine — would definitely recommend it if you’re ever in Napa.
The historic winery/cave
Brief history on the caves
Glass in hand – ready for the winetasting!
Barrel demo – French Oak
The caves – which is more like underground tunnels. All lit by candles.
120 Highland Dr
Inside Highlands Inn
Carmel, CA 93923
One of my coworkers had recommended this place since I wanted to celebrate the end of my exams. It’s perfect for special occasions. The restaurant lives up to its name — it’s perched on top of a mountain in Carmel and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. On clear days, I hear the sunset is awesome. 🙂
The restaurant is labeled as a French restaurant but it’s more of a fusion restaurant. Go with whatever the waiter recommends. The sommelier (I know huh, very fancy!) will check up on you periodically to make sure you’re enjoying the wine. The restaurant features mostly wines from Sonoma and Napa. Get there a little earlier than your reservation time so that you can get a table with a better view. The only down side to the restaurant being so close to the ocean: they place the tables close to each other, so it can get quite loud in the restaurant and you can clearly hear the conversation of the next tables.
The restaurant tries to provide a personal touch, so not only does the sommelier check up on you, the manager also greets the tables. The manager actually thought I was Korean. Haha… Overall, service is pretty good — attentive, but not overly so.
Appetizer: Hamachi with japanese cucumber, watermelon radish, lotus root chip, california select caviar. I hardly saw any hamachi though! Should’ve gone for the Pacific Northwestern oysters on the shell that the waiter recommended!
Day’s special: Monkfish wrapped in proscuitto, with grilled porcini mushrooms, asparagus and parmasan gnocchi. The fish was a brilliant idea! Crispy on the outside and juicy/tender on the inside…mmmm…
Dessert: Warm Valrhona chocolate tart with raspberry Coulis, chocolate fuillatine, lemon verbena ice cream. This was also recommended by the waiter. The chocolate tart was rich but not too sweet. Yum!