A LUXURIOUS TASTING EXPERIENCE AT LOUIS M. MARTINI WINERY IN NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

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Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver

Last week, I was invited to visit the newly renovated Louis M. Martini winery in Napa Valley & was completely blown away!

For those who may not know, I am a Certified Sommelier! I started my Sommelier studies back in 2007 and to this day, wine is a very integral part of my life.

One of the best parts about living in California, especially Northern California, is being so accessible to wine country. Erik & I go quite a few times a month as a fun escape to the city.

Shannon Silver wears vintage Ralph Lauren, Everlane, & Brook's Brothers at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver

We go to Healdsburg often and so we’ve been making a conscious effort to explore more Napa wineries & get more acclimated with them!

One part that’s especially fun about galavanting off to Napa is the temperature change! San Francisco is about 20 degrees colder than Napa on the reg, so sometimes by just crossing over the golden gate, it can feel like an instant vacation to summer… which is also fun to dress the part. {though I should note, Napa does get chilly at night so bring a layer!}

As you drive to Louis M. Martini from San Francisco on Highway 29, you will pass the iconic Napa Valley sign! It’s between Larkmead Lane and Maple Lane (closer to Maple Lane). FYI for a fun photo opp!!

The famous Napa Valley sign on the way to Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Cabernet Sauvignon line up at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver

Real quick, let’s talk Louis M. Martini – they are a pretty well known Napa winery. In 1933, they were one of the first wineries to open after Prohibition & played a major role in making Napa Valley one of the most iconic wine growing regions in both the US & the world. For the most part, they are predominantly reds but they recently released a {divine} Sauvignon Blanc!

As soon as I walked up to the winery, I knew it was special. It truly felt like I was walking in to a resort. In fact, I got some Restoration Hardware vibes from the decor. As soon as you walk in, you know it’s going to be special. They greeted us with Cabernet, grilled bread brushed with olive oil, & an insane salami made with the same Cabernet they were serving!

Cabernet Sauvignon & house made sausage at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Wine Glasses at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver

We did a walking tour of the entire place, from room to room, to the cellar, to the kitchen, including a special tasting in a private “Founders Room” that overlooked the barrels.

Their Executive Chef, Jeffery Russell, is extremely talented & created some of the most wonderful pairings: one that really stuck out to me was a pink peppercorn panna cotta, with a Luxardo cherry, & brown butter crumble. It was paired with a Gnarly Vine Zinfandel and that pairing absolutely blew me away.

It played with all of your senses and each bite & sip made you want more, more, MORE!

In fact, that’s how I personally assess a damn good pairing between food and wine: the food makes the wine taste better & the wine makes the food taste better. It’s an addicting feeling!

Pink peppercorn panna cotta at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
molecular gastronomy at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver

After our tastebuds worlds were completely rocked, they took us downstairs into the cellar, where we were treated to the 2015 Lot no.1 Cabernet with a fun take on the olive.

Using molecular gastronomy, Chef Jeffery created his own liquid olive! Paired with their cabernet, again, a play on senses, including the feel of it in your mouth. INSANE.

Next, and this was my favourite part, they took us to MARTINI PARK.

Martini Park Cabana experience at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Martini Park at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Martini PArk at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver

They have their own park on premise, where they are hosting a luxurious cabana experience.

For the next hour or so, I felt like I was on legit vacation. The weather was perfect & they served amazing food {pizzas & porkbelly!} & tasted through their wines under the California sunshine.

Martini Park & the Cabana experience was by far my favourite part. It’s very much lazy luxury & just fun to hang out in a Cabana, enjoy the outdoors & wine and dine al fresco.

Sauvignon Blanc at the Cabana experience  at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Pizza in the Cabana experience  at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Sauvignon Blanc in the Cabana experience at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver

Not to mention, by the end of our experience, the sun was starting to set & there is something so special about the Napa sunsets. Finishing the wine and seeing Martini Park light up at sunset was magical & I can’t imagine how fun their events are!

Another thing to mention is they have a ton of lemon & olive trees on site! Not only are they so gorgeous, but their olive oil is PHENOMENAL. I went home with two bottles of it and I can’t get enough.

Pizza at  the Cabana Experience Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
& some highlights on some special wines we tasted:

2016 Monterosso Cabernet Franc: 100% Cabernet Franc & very food friendly. Notes of red berries, rose florals, & baking spices with a peppery finish! { buy here }

2015 Lot No.1 Cabernet Sauvignon: an iconic 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine. 20 months in 97% new oak and aged for an additional 12 months in the bottle. Complex & addictive with intense, concentrated fruits & aromatics, and a velvet mouthfeel. Ripe plum & berry reduction notes woven with vanilla & tobacco { buy here }

2016 Gnarly Vine Zinfandel: 100% Zinfandel aged in oak barrels for 15 months {48% new French oak & 19% American Oak}. Another amazingly food friendly wine with juicy cherry notes & a spicy finish with a luscious, satiny mouthfeel. { buy here }

2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: this is one of their signature Cabernets that really shows what they are about! With about 21 months in French & Oak barrels, this is a quintessential Napa Cabernet. Full-bodied with notes of black cherry, blackberries, violet, & cedar. { buy here }

inside the cabana experience at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Shannon Silver Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver
Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon at Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley by Gallo Wines • essellesse, a San Francisco lifestyle blog ran by Certified Sommelier, Shannon Silver

You can check out all the tasting experiences here, but this is a must check out if you are in Napa! It’s a major learning experience on the wines & area as a whole, with some pretty epic food & wine pairings!

In fact, the Cabanas open up right on my birthday weekend so we are hoping to reserve one to kick off my birthday celebration since Erik had major #FOMO on missing this event!

A huge thank you to the extremely accommodating staff at Louis M. Martini & thank you so much for hosting me. I look forward to being back!

Happy Wine Wednesday! Any wineries in Napa you are loving?

xx SLS

+++ here are my favourite Healdsburg wineries

+++ for more Napa, check out this post!

+++ want more somms? check out this interview with sommelier Cristie Norman {her new wine course is amazing btw}!

+++ for a fun playlist for the drive up, this one is very Napa vibeyyyy!

+++ enjoyed this post? follow essellesse on bloglovin & instagram!

~* edited with the “A Very Fine Chardonnay” preset – coming soon! get on the list here *~

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