Chateau Montelena's entrance
Well, our torrid pace of biking, wining and dining continued throughout the weekend! Friday was Ron's birthday, which we celebrated with a gorgeous bicycle ride south on the Silverado Trail, followed by a semi-private library wine tasting at Chateau Montelena up in Calistoga. (In case you haven't seen it, Chateau Montelena is featured in the movie "Bottle Shock", and several scenes of the movie were indeed filmed there. It's the story of the early days of California wine-making, featuring the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976) We had a great time, seeing the grounds and learning more about the winery's history, as well as learning interesting facts about the movie and its filming. The Chateau and the surrounding grounds are gorgeous -- we enjoyed our tour there immensely. And yes, we acquired yet another case of wine for the boat!
|Gorgeous fountain and landscaping by the side entrance|
|Outside the front entrance|
|The private room where we had our library tasting|
After our informative and fun visit at Chateau Montelena, we returned to the Harvest Inn for a bit of pampering. We indulged in massages in their redwood grove next to the vineyards; after all our bicycling, they were most appreciated and felt fabulous! Dinner was at Press, in St. Helena, where we enjoyed a bottle of Cakebread's Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon with some of the most delicious steaks we've ever had!! The outdoor patio with its fireplace and view of the vineyards and mountains was stunning at sunset, and the perfect complement to a great day!!
|Post-dinner, enjoying a bite of dessert|
Saturday and Sunday offered up more beautiful weather, and again, more bicycling, doing rides of 38 and 18 miles, respectively. After lunch, as we didn't have any other reservations for tastings lined up, we simply winged it, and stopped in at Duckhorn for a taste of their wines on Saturday afternoon, and concluded our time in the valley with a stop at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars on Sunday. The highlight of Saturday however, was our dinner at The Martini House in St. Helena. As we walked in and headed downstairs to their warm and welcoming bar/lounge area to await our table, we passed a small party of four near the stairs. Ron recognized that one of the diners was none other than...Carlos Santana! (I double-checked it myself with a second look and indeed, the hostess confirmed it as well later as we were seated ourselves.) We saw him again as he and his friends walked out, looking relaxed and happy, without fanfare or interruption. It was pretty cool, and a nice touch to wrap up our week here! All in all, we had a glorious time as this was a vacation truly enjoyed!