Over to Napa……..

Even in the rain its hard to have a bad day tasting wines!  We headed to Napa to lunch with friends at Brasswood.  Leaving early gave us the chance to add some tastings to the visit.

Just a rec…….If you are driving from Santa Rosa over the mountains to Napa there are a number of routes.  Our GPS rerouted us off our planned Calistoga Road route onto Spring Mountain.  If you like narrow, twisting roads then you’ll enjoy this route.  It drops you right into downtown St. Helena but, if you prefer a more modern, less windy road, stay on Callistoga and enjoy the drive south into the valley from the town of Callistoga.

Our first stop was at Clif Family Winery in St. Helena.  They just reopened their tasting room after an extensive remodel.  The space feels fresh and cozy. They’ve created a terrific balance of wine tasting bar, coffee /espresso, lunch, artisan foods and of course, Clif Bars.  And, their Bruschetteria Food Truck is parked right outside!

We chose to share the Jersey tasting and the Mountain tasting along with trying their most popular wine, the Rosé of Grenache. Tom Inners engaged us in great conversation over the wines while pouring.


Along with the wine nuts, cheese and relish were served made by the Clif Family (not the cheese). The almonds with smoked pimento and the relish with the cheese were my favorites.

We left with an armful of their wines and a pledge to each other to return.  The 2017 Rosé, the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2014 Kit’s Killer Howell Mountain Cab came homecwith us.  Oh yeah, and bags of their toasted almonds.  I’m definitely going back for the relish and to try their lunch fare.



Lunching at Brasswood Bar and Kitchen is exceptional! Everything our party ordered was outstanding.  Not to be missed as an appetizer is their mozzarella……..


We followed our relaxing midday break with a visit to Frog’s Leap.  Frog’s Leap is one of the very first wineries we visited in the early 80’s.  It’s not a surprise that it is no longer the small place off Highway 128 in St. Helena with wood benches to sit and taste alongside the vines.

It’s been off Conn Creek Road for quite awhile but it’s owned and loved by the same laid- back guy we remember who started Frog’s Leap with Larry Turley and poured for us 30 + years ago – John Williams.

John was kind enough to join us and reminisce.  He’s built a special place with respect to the environment and sustainability in Rutherford.


Our host, Laura surprised us with glasses of an amazing library wine, the 2004 Merlot to  try alongside the 2015 making the tasting extra nice. And yes, on the way out we found ourselves stocking up on the 2015 Rutherford Merlot and the 2015 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

The winery has an excellent website.  The very best page is a totally good read – The Story of Frog’s Leap.

Great days have to end but we’re planning another! Salud!