After waking up Saturday morning in Phoenix due to our unscheduled stopover last night due to flight/weather issues in Orlando, we had a nice breakfast buffet at the Hilton Phoenix Airport, where we stayed overnight.
After breakfast we took the shuttle to the airport and continued our journey to Sacramento, via USAirways at 9:40am. We were in First Class, but our seats weren’t together, but a man offered to switch seats which was nice of him. The flight to Sacramento went quickly, and we arrived by 11:30am or so, then taking the shuttle to pick up our rental car from National Car Rental.
We picked up an SUV and were on our way to Napa, stopping at In-and-Out Burger along the way – a favorite fast-food place of ours when we’re in California. The food is prepared fresh, the staff friendly and it’s always busy due to how good it is! We ate up and proceeded onto Napa Valley, arriving to our hotel, the Andaz Napa around 2:15pm.
Fortunately our room was ready, and we got a fantastic ‘Loft’ accommodation which is California wine-themed modern, but also casually luxurious. We had a separate bedroom with a HUGE stand-alone tub next to the bed, trendy bathroom with a ‘rain-shower’ shower, separate living room with mounted flat-panel TV (as in the bedroom) mini-bar with complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. This was our first time staying at an Andaz property, and we were very impressed the minute we walked in the door. The staff are wonderful, and the upscale property has a California county-club casual feel to it without being pretentious. We are staying here two nights, but have a busy schedule so unfortunately won’t get to enjoy the hotel very much. The Andaz is right downtown Napa, and is walking distance to many restaurants, tasting rooms, shops, and attractions.
After checking in and unpacking, we went to a tasting room called Vintner’s Collective. Dos had researched this before we came, and it truly lived up to the hype we had read about. Although from the exterior it looked a bit ‘banged up’, this was due to the recent earthquake damage that racked Napa Valley, but the inside appeared unscathed. We had a “Connoisseur Scout” tasting for $30 which featured a flight of six high quality wines. Vinter’s Collective is unique in that it represents some 15 boutique family wineries and with wines that you won’t find in your neighborhood grocery or wine store. We ended up buying several bottles of different wineries and vintages, but one of our favorites was a wonderful Cabernet from Roy Estates. We bought a couple bottles of Roy, and enjoyed one the following evening with our dinner at Cole’s Chop House. We had such a good time tasting, I feel bad we didn’t take any photos except this bad photo of the side facade. TIP: Don’t judge a building by it’s exterior – true gems may await inside!
Next stop and post – The Napa Wine Train!