Napa Valley

Lake Tahoe and Napa Valley

Leaving the coast we headed inland to Lake Tahoe, a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada, located along the border between California and Nevada – it was so big, it felt like you were at the seaside.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe – not our photo I am afraid!!

The lake is fed only by runoff from melting snow caps and rain water so it has this amazing cobalt blue colour and pure clarity. Whilst I soaked up the rays, Tom hired a mountai bike and ascended 3000ft to Star lake, which he was told is one of the most picturesque high Sierra lakes, and it didn’t disappoint.

Star Lake - the view at the top of Tom's bike ride
Star Lake – the view at the top of Tom’s bike ride – this is Tom’s photo!

After a few days of Sun and lake, we headed to Napa Valley – wine heaven!! Thanks to my dad’s immense wine knowledge and recommendation, we booked on a wine tour at Stags Leap Winery, who produce renowned Cabernet Sauvignn from its historic Stags Leap District.

Hiring some bikes, so we could have a few snifters, we cycled up the valley from Napa, taking in the vistas – it was simply stunning, and to me felt like I was in the South of France, not California.

Napa Valley
Napa Valley
Nappa - Tom on his bike!
Napa – Tom on his bike!

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Cycling up to Yountville, (which for those who don’t know is Thomas Keller land, the chef/founder of World renowned The French Laundry, who has varying spin offs and bakeries in the area). Here we stumbled upon a restaurant called R&D’s (we thought we best line the stomach before the tasting) – the food was amazing, we ordered the chicken burger, it is by far the best chicken burger we have ever had in our lives….

THE chicken burger
THE chicken burger

With our stomachs full we headed to stags leap, a truly hidden gem, and soaked up their beautiful grounds and historic estate – a nineteenth century stone winery and victorian-era house nestled against the Stags Leap Palisade off the Silverado Trail.

Drinking a crisp class of Viogner, overlooking the grounds of Stags Leap
Drinking a crisp class of Viognier, overlooking the grounds of Stags Leap
Tom enjoying his vino
Tom enjoying his vino
Stags Leap - the tasting room
Stags Leap – the tasting room
Some of the many delicious reds we tasted
Some of the many delicious reds we tasted

The tour was fantastic, really informative, talking through not only the wines but also the uses of the house over the years and how prohibition impacted this. Whilst sampling nine fantastic wines we toured the grounds, with its huge Magnolia trees, Palm trees and abundance of colours it was a sight to see…

Some of its many grounds
Some of Stags Leaps’ many grounds
Me overlooking the vineyards
Me overlooking the vineyards

The next day we headed back up to Yountville, firstly to get a quick picture outside world renowned Opus One and secondly to sample some of Thomas Kellers food, on the lower end of the scale – Tom had read online there was a place where he sold his famous fried chicken, using the same recipe Tom has tried at home a few times, so we headed there. Wow it was fantastic, easily the best fried chicken we’ve had.

Thomas Keller's fried chicken with corn bread
Thomas Keller’s fried chicken with corn bread

 

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