Tag Archives: Frog’s Leap

Thursday in Napa

After our tasting at Pride Mountain Vineyards, we drove back into downtown Napa to check in at our hotel. We originally hoped to find a place through airbnb or VRBO, but we couldn’t find anything in our price range. If you’re traveling to Napa with a larger group, I highly recommend a rental home. We went that route last year with my family, and had a great time having a home to spend time in. Since we couldn’t find any for this trip that worked for us, we considered our hotel options. There aren’t many chain anythings in Napa, save for a Starbucks and Panera Bread, so it felt slightly out of place to consider staying at a Best Western or other chain hotel. Napa also has a few really nice four to five star hotels, but these were definitely out of our price range. Reading through reviews on TripAdvisor took us to RiverPointe Napa Valley and we couldn’t have been happier with it. It was the perfect middle ground between a hotel and a rental home. We loved how close it was to downtown Napa, giving us the option to walk to Oxbow Public Market in the mornings for breakfast and quick access to some great restaurants for dinner. These mini condos/mobile homes gave us our own space, complete with a kitchen and living room, but still offered some of the amenities of a hotel, like a wine tasting our first afternoon in Napa. We weren’t expecting this tasting, so we were pleasantly surprised when we checked in just before the event started. And yes, we were by far the youngest couple in the room but we had such a great time getting to meet some of the other people staying at RiverPointe. Everyone becomes a friend when you’re having a glass of wine, right?

After our tasting, we drove to dinner at Bistro Don Giovanni. We had visited Don Giovanni for lunch during our first trip to Napa a few years ago and really enjoyed it. When we told friends we were going back to Napa for this trip, we heard more than a few recommendations to go to Don Giovanni for dinner. One look at the menu solidified our decision. It was crowded there, so be sure to make reservations if you want to make Don Giovanni part of your Napa experience. Everything on the menu looks great, you really can’t go wrong there. We also had a super sweet waiter from Croatia. He loved hearing that we spent a day in Dubrovnik during our honeymoon, and then showed us pictures of his family while we ate.

Thursday morning started off with breakfast at Oxbow. Seriously, we love this place. We considered a few options for breakfast, but in the end went with C Casa. You can’t beat their breakfast tacos.

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C Casa – please send us tacos

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Pumpkin latte to get the morning started

After breakfast, we grabbed a few snacks there at Oxbow before driving to our first stop for the day: Chandon. Over the last year or so, I’ve really started enjoyed sparkling wine. We went to Mumm during our last trip and thought it would be fun to check out another place that specialized in sparkling wine. It didn’t take much research to find Chandon. Y’all. This place was amazing! We may or may not have joined their wine club… any friends want to join us for some sparkling wine?

 

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Ready for our tasting

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The tour at Chandon

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The flight at Chandon

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Fun fact: Chandon also makes still wine

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Set up for the tasting

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Starting our tasting…

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Bring on the bubbles

Our tour at Chandon was one of our favorites of this trip. We were a small group of just four people, so we got to spend a lot of time with our super sweet tour guide, who was great at answering all of our (mainly Chip’s) questions. The grounds were incredibly beautiful and we had a great view of the lawn as we had our final tasting. Our tour ran a little longer than we had planned, so we had to rush out to our next tour after signing up for the Chandon wine club. Don’t worry, we stopped by the next morning for some pictures!

After Chandon, we had our tour at Frog’s Leap. This was our third time at this winery. We had done their garden tasting during our first trip, and the tour during our second. For this third trip, we decided to do the signature seating tasting. I’ve said it before, but what we love about Frog’s Leap is how casual the environment and how beautiful the grounds are. It’s a unique combination to enjoy some really great wine while also feeling really comfortable in the laid back setting.

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I really love the Frog’s Leap logo

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Signature Seating Tasting at Frog’s Leap

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The lawn at Frog’s Leap

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Tomatoes everywhere

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Love the Frog’s Leap chickens

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In front of our favorite wall at Frog’s Leap

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One of my favorite places with my favorite guy

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Little more fall colors compared to last year

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Frog’s Leap

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House goals

On our way out of Frog’s Leap, we decided to make a quick pit-stop for some food at Gott’s Roadside. Let me tell you, nothing goes better with wine than a good hotdog and chocolate milkshake.

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Gott’s Roadside

For our last winery, we went to Sterling Vineyards. We had someone recommend Sterling to us, and after reading about the winery, we decided to check it out. A highlight to Sterling is their gondola with views of the wine country. We were excited for these views, but we were worried it was a tourist attraction and that the tour wouldn’t be that great. Maybe it’s because we did the self-guided tour, but we were underwhelmed with our time at Sterling. We enjoyed the gondola and took tons of pictures from up in the air, but the tour itself was made of videos at the different “stops, ” so there wasn’t much room to learn more or interact and ask questions. I’m glad this was the last tour of our trip so it wasn’t the first time we were learning about the wine making process.

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The view at Sterling Vineyards

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During our tour at Sterling Vineyards

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In the gondola at Sterling Vineyards

We drove back into downtown Napa after our tasting at Sterling for dinner at Torc. It was easy to see why this restaurant has such great TripAdvisor reviews. The ambiance was festive, without being too loud, and the food was delicious. I would definitely go there again if we ever had the chance. More to come on our last morning in Napa and our weekend in San Francisco! I promise I’ll try to get those posts done sometime in the next month…

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Ready for dinner at Torc

 

Wednesday in Napa: Frog’s Leap and Mumm

When my mom and I started planning this year’s family vacation to Napa, she asked if there was any winery Chip and I had visited during our anniversary trip last year that we would want to go back to. It was an easy answer for us: Frog’s Leap. We really enjoyed our time at this winery last October and appreciated how relaxing it was, how beautiful their grounds are, and how great their wine was (and more affordable than other wineries!).

Frog’s Leap was booked on Monday and Tuesday, so we made reservations for our tasting tour on Wednesday morning. We started the day off with breakfast at Oxbow again before we made the drive out to Frog’s Leap in Rutherford (where wines are known to be “dirtier”). We got there a little before our 10:00 tour started, so that gave us time to walk around the grounds, which seemed to have more flowers and garden space since our visit last year.

There was another family in our tour group and we had a great time touring the grounds and seeing their wine barrel room with them. With this being our third winery of the trip, it was really interesting to see how each of them differ in their wine making process, from whether or not they irrigate their vines (most don’t, when the vines have to “work” to get to water, you typically yield more quality vs quantity grapes), to how many times a single barrel is used to age wine.

No other vineyard compares to the beautiful grounds at Frog's Leap

No other vineyard compares to the beautiful grounds at Frog’s Leap

Our tour guide encouraged us to try a couple of grapes from the vines while we were out on the property (not that we needed any encouragement). We were there a few days before the harvest started, so we were lucky the grapes were still out on the vines for us to see (and taste!).

Slightly overexposed, but I love the colorful wildflowers at Frog's Leap

Slightly overexposed, but I love the colorful wildflowers at Frog’s Leap

They have an amazing garden at Frog's Leap, here's the garlic they had recently harvested.

They have an amazing garden at Frog’s Leap, here’s the garlic they had recently harvested.

Testing out my lighting with my very willing subject

Testing out my lighting with my very willing subject

My dad could totally live on a vineyard

My dad could totally live on a vineyard

At the end of the winery tour

At the end of the winery tour

At Frog's Leap last year...

At Frog’s Leap last year…

And now this year!

And now this year!

Checking out the different fruit trees... can our garden look like this, please?

Checking out the different fruit trees… can our garden look like this, please?

Our chicken friends

Our chicken friends

We didn't want to leave Frog's Leap

We didn’t want to leave Frog’s Leap

I also didn't want the wine samples to end...

I also didn’t want the wine samples to end…

Refill, please?

Refill, please?

Love this guy

Love this guy

My new friend, Abbie

My new friend, Abbie

I let her check out my new Frog's Leap hat. She approved.

I let her check out my new Frog’s Leap hat. She approved.

Oh, Abbie. Someday I will have a dog with a scruffy face like yours (don't tell Wrigley).

Oh, Abbie. Someday I will have a dog with a scruffy face like yours (don’t tell Wrigley).

Abbie liked my dad, too

Abbie liked my dad, too

Frog's Leap

Frog’s Leap

Loving my new Frog's Leap hat.

Loving my new Frog’s Leap hat.

Leaving this place was not an easy task

Leaving this place was not an easy task

Frog’s Leap is a great casual, friendly winery. Each of the wineries we went to were all unique and different, and we loved how accessible Frog’s Leap is in how laid back the tours are as well as in price. They even sell a few bottles at HEB every now and then; Chip and I like keeping our eye out for them so we can have some Frog’s Leap Cabernet on date nights at home.

After our tour at Frog’s Leap, we drove down the road to Mumm Napa, a sparkling wine winery. After enjoying the four vineyards of this trip, it was a lot of fun to end the trip on a little bit of bubbly. Our tour guide there was a lot of fun and walked us through all of the differences between the regular wine and sparkling wine making process.

The view from Mumm

The view from Mumm

Looking at the different grapes at Mumm

Looking at the different grapes at Mumm

The beginning of the harvest at Mumm - grapes are picked earlier for sparkling wine

The beginning of the harvest at Mumm – grapes are picked earlier for sparkling wine

After our tour at Mumm, we drove to Sonoma for lunch at The Girl and The Fig. We were pretty hungry by this point and the food did not disappoint. It was pretty easy to see why so many wine country blogs mention this restaurant. After our late lunch, we walked around downtown Sonoma for a little bit before driving back to our rental home in Napa.

The view on the drive from Sonoma to Napa

The view on the drive from Sonoma to Napa

 

 

Napa and Sonoma: Part Two

Sunday was the last day of our belated two-year anniversary vacation in San Francisco (you can read about the rest of our trip here, here, here, and here). Originally, we had planned on Sunday being our laid back day to explore whatever we wanted to spend some more time on or just hadn’t gotten to yet, like Golden Gate Park and other parts of the city. However, while having dinner Friday night, we decided to use Sunday as a day to go out to Napa and Sonoma one more time. Like I said before, we had a great time out there on Friday with our tour, but were left wanting more and also a little bummed that we hadn’t been able to go to some of the wineries we had read about online and had requested during our tour reservation process.

You’d think it be an easy decision to go out to the wine country again, but we actually did do a bit of back and forth on this decision over dinner Friday and even again part of Saturday morning. Would we be upset we weren’t able to see other parts of the city? Would the day cost too much? In the end we realized: 1. We didn’t want to leave this vacation wishing we had done something different or spent more time somewhere and we already felt that way about Napa and Sonoma, 2. We had been paying for this trip with our travel budget and would be able to cover the costs of a 24-hour small car rental (last summer, we decided to set aside a little bit each paycheck into our travel budget; it’s been such a great decision, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to take this trip otherwise), 3. We would need to take a cab anyways to the airport on Monday so riding out on Sunday to get the rental car would be a sunk cost (and then we would be able to drive ourselves to the airport instead). So with all of this under consideration, we decided to go ahead and plan on spending Sunday in the wine country.

Saturday afternoon then turned into a planning session; we quickly reserved a car online through Enterprise and then looked up different wineries that we had originally wanted to go to and tried to make tasting reservations wherever we could. It took a bit of juggling between different websites to see who would be open for us at this short of notice, but thankfully a lot of the wineries are pretty casual and will take walk-ins for tastings (at least the ones within our budget do this).

We took a cab out to the airport around 8:30 Sunday morning and picked up our rental without a problem (they even gave us a free upgrade since we were one of the first customers of the day). With that, we got on the road! It was fun driving around the city together and making our way towards the Golden Gate Bridge, which we had a much better view of compared to the foggy drive on Friday morning.  Once we got into Sausalito, we stopped at a Starbucks to get some breakfast before getting into Napa. I have to say that the drive through the wine country has some of the most scenic views you can get on the road.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Driving into Napa

Driving into Napa

Vineyards on all sides

Vineyards on all sides

Our first stop of the day was Frog’s Leap, which was the one winery we had really wanted to go to during this trip. It definitely did not disappoint. We split their garden tasting since their other tours were already booked. This turned out to be the best thing for us. While it is nice to have someone walk you through the different wines you’re trying and the vineyard’s wine making process, we just really enjoyed getting to walk around their grounds and take our time. Their property was so calm and adorable that we could have stayed there all day.

We pulled over to take some pictures before getting to Frog's Leap. Not sure what vineyard these grapes are from!

We pulled over to take some pictures before getting to Frog’s Leap. Not sure what vineyard these grapes are from!

Hooray for grapes

Hooray for grapes

I could totally live on a vineyard

I could totally live on a vineyard

Exploring Napa with Chip

Exploring Napa with Chip

The view from Frog's Leap

The view from Frog’s Leap

Ribbit

Ribbit

Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day

Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day

Frog's Leap

Frog’s Leap

Walking around Frog's Leap

Walking around Frog’s Leap

Visiting some chickens on the Frog's Leap property

Visiting some chickens on the Frog’s Leap property

That's one angry eye

That’s one angry eye

Beautiful fall colors

Beautiful fall colors

I love fall and wine

I love fall and wine

We loved the backdrop of the different colored leaves, but no one was around to take our picture. Soooo we strapped my camera to a tree branch and used the timer to take a picture. I'm so bummed this one came out blurry, I think it would have been great!

We loved the backdrop of the different colored leaves, but no one was around to take our picture. Soooo we strapped my camera to a tree branch and used the timer to take a picture. I’m so bummed this one came out blurry, I think it would have been great!

At least this one worked!

At least this one worked!

Frog's Leap

Frog’s Leap

Frog's Leap

Frog’s Leap

Frog's Leap

Frog’s Leap

Frog's Leap

Frog’s Leap

Can I live here?

Can I live here?

A great tasting at Frog's Leap

A great tasting at Frog’s Leap

After Frog’s Leap, we went down the road to Caymus Vineyards. We weren’t too impressed with the staff (they were a little cold when we asked about their tasting options), so while they were talking to a big group that was also in the room, we slipped out and decided to move on.

While at Frog’s Leap, one of the staff had recommended Miner Family Winery, so we went there next since it was also pretty close to where we were. This was another nice, casual tasting which allowed us to sit out on their patio and take in the view of the wine country. There was also a family there with a couple of dogs, so we got to pet them while enjoying our wine and talking about how much Wrigley would have loved Napa. That’s right, we’re those dog people.

The view from Miner Family Winery

The view from Miner Family Winery

Miner Family Winery

Miner Family Winery

After Miner, we went to Gundlach Bundschu out in Sonoma. We had made reservations online for their tasting tour at 2:00 and got there with a few minutes to walk around and take a few pictures out on their property. This was our only tour of the whole trip and we’re really glad we were able to do it, especially at this vineyard. They’re they oldest family-owned winery in California and they had plenty of history to share, like how they illegally brought in Tempranillo grapes back in the day (that was a fun story to hear!).

Gundlach Bundschu

Gundlach Bundschu

Gundlach Bundschu

Gundlach Bundschu

One last picture in front of the Gundlach Bundschu vineyard

One last picture in front of the Gundlach Bundschu vineyard

They have quite the name

They have quite the name

On our tour

On our tour

Gundlach Bundschu

Gundlach Bundschu

We were hoping to go to one more winery after Miner, but by this point in the day most of them were closing. So instead we grabbed a very late lunch before driving back into San Francisco. We then spent the evening having dinner at Coqueta on Fisherman’s Wharf. The tapas were delicious and we enjoyed sharing their seafood paella. Probably my favorite part of our time at Coqueta? Being just tables away from Carlos Santana. That’s right. He was totes at the same restaurant! And yes, I shamefully stared at him occasionally.

Driving back into San Francisco

Driving back into San Francisco

One last view of the Golden Gate Bridge

One last view of the Golden Gate Bridge

Coqueta

Coqueta

Seafood paella

Seafood paella

My wonderful husband and Carlos Santana just behind him

My wonderful husband and Carlos Santana just behind him

Cheers!

Cheers!

We are so thankful for the trip we were able to take to San Francisco!