A Quick Trip to Napa: celebrating a MASTER SOMMELIER!

One of the best things about living in San Francisco is the close proximity to wine country. In fact, when I moved here five years ago {this past weekend was my 5 year anniversary of moving!! CRAZY & this year was actually a little more nostalgic for me}, I was living in Healdsburg and was pleasantly surprised by how close it was to the city.

I am much more of a city person so I found myself in San Francisco full time in 2014 but I head back to wine country quite often. It’s always a good time, an excuse to visit a new winery, & slightly nostalgic!

This time of year is THE BEST to go to wine country. Seriously! The weather is perfect {& the lighting is amazing for instagram – ha}, the air is crisp, the leaves are changing… but the coolest part? It’s right on the heels of harvest. You’ll definitely be seeing some grapes.

End of September & all of October is my absolute favourite time of the year to head north.

On Sunday, we had a really fun party to attend in St. Helena. Long story short, I used to be in the wine industry when I lived in Texas. There, I met my friend & mentor. He took me under his wing and there is no way I would of passed my Level II Sommelier certification without him. I have since left the industry but I do stay involved & keep up with the times. WELL- over the past month, he achieved MASTER. To say I am proud of him is an understatement but a celebration had to have been had so that we did.

The party started around 6 so Erik & I left the city around 2:00p and decided to catch an afternoon tasting before we hit the party.

{ Honig Wines entrance! }

We stopped by Honig in St. Helena which we LOVED. If you love Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s the place for you!

This one has been on my list for quite awhile. What stood out to me was all the outdoor seating & I’ve been having a huge Sauvignon Blanc moment.

As soon as we arrived, I knew we made the right choice. It just felt like Fall! The winery was decorated with pumpkins, brown leaves scattered the floors, & our tasting table was surrounded by the vineyards. I also love how they customize the chalkboards with your name giving it that “VIP” feel. After the tasting, you can walk around the vineyards and really take it all in. We loved it!

I tasted through the Reserve Tasting which included 2 Sauv Blancs & 2 Cabernet Sauvignons {Erik was driving so I was the one tasting}.

The Honig line up:

2016 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford: very pleasant with notes of lemon grass, lemon verbena, & key lime notes.

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley:  this was a $50 cab that tasted like a $100 one! notes of cranberry, leather, & black tea finished with toasted oak.

2015 Cabenret Sauvignon Appelation Series: I loved this one! super complex with dark fruits & a dry, milk chocolate finish. It’s a blend of three Napa Valley vineyards from St. Helena, Rutherford, & Oak Knoll district. 100% Cabernet really showcasing Napa!

2016 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc: This was SO GOOD! I personally love ending a meal with a dessert wine vs an actual dessert. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes are left on the vines until November. By then, they are basically raisins when pressed. This was sweet, lower in alcohol {11%}, & a perfect pairing with blue or goat cheese.

We left around 4:30p & had some time to kill so we headed to downtown St. Helena & got some fries at Cook Tavern since I was starving.

ONE THING to note about wine country is that the restaurants are amazing. Seriously, they blow SF out of the water {not sorry}, & it’s one thing I miss a lot about living there.

Everything is so fresh, seasonal, & local.

You really can’t go wrong, promise.

It was finally almost 6:00p so we headed over to the party!

Basically, studying for the test is no joke. It is a HUGE committment. To put it very, extremely simply, you have to be able to know exactly what wine it is from sight / smell / taste. Really, the best way to do it is to taste, taste, & constantly taste.

He had hundreds of different wines in unmarked, little, airtight bottles. Sooo what better way to celebrate than breaking into them all with friends? In fact, it was Erik’s first time to try a few of them, like some of the Italian & French varietals {don’t worry he spit}.

Since I left the industry in 2013, it was my first time to really taste in 5 years & I sure am rusty with it! It was so fun to hear all the others room breeze through what they are tasting… I did get three right so there’s but I got a lot MASSIVELY wrong lol. Still fun though & it was Erik’s first time to really hear how somms taste.

We had a fun champagne toast, ate some AMAZING FOOD that it is now my mission to recreate at home. Think bbq’ed tritip, the BEST DAMN COCONUT SHRIMP {which I’m working on recreating for the blog it was SO GOOD & healthy}, a fresh tomato salad, and more.

{ a glimpse into studying for Master Sommelier }

I’m already itching to get back to Napa. It’s a must this time of the year, trust me. We get to Sonoma quite often but not enough Napa.

Any reccs for next time I’m in Napa? Others on my list were Seavey Vineyards & HALL.

I’m going to be incorporating a LOT more wine country here since it’s a pretty big part of my life & something I do often! If there’s ever anything you want to know, just let me know 🙂 also, hope you’re liking some of these more candid day to day posts – fun to share the day to day, right?

See you tomorrow for a FUN post!!!! If you like pumpkin like me, you will love 😉

xSLS

 ++ outfit details here
++ purse here

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