Valentine’s in Napa

Posted on 09. Feb, 2009 by in Lifestyle

by Wine Dog - Bob Ecker

Fortunately for West Coasters, this time of year is already proto-spring unlike many parts of the country. The birds, bees, and flowers all get active as nature – including us dogs and humans – get urges. Maybe it’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day comes about in the early spring, to stimulate our thoughts and bodies with the ones we love. (Or are hoping to love, if we’re lucky). Wineries, hotels, and food specials abound to entice us, delight us and get those sensual juices flowing.

Ah love, wine, art, and money. The preeminent Clos Pegase Winery in the northern portion of Napa Valley contains it all. Clos Pegase features absolutely stunning wines, gorgeous views, world class art, classical artifacts, and important architecture. Plus, in 1989 Jan Shrem did a very romantic thing – he gave his wife Mitsuko a lovely vineyard in the Carneros region. Known as Mitsuko’s Vineyard, the area is a tidy 365 acres, one acre from Jan for every day of the year that he loves her. It’s a wonderful story and the wonery produces some stirring wines; my favorites continue to be Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Merlot and Chardonnay. This year marks the 20th year of the winery and the 40th year of their marriage. How’s that for romantic?

Napa’s relatively new Round Pond Estate offers a few amazing gift packages. Their wines are truly exceptional and some of their great Valentine’s gifts include the fun Citrus Syrups and their rich and unctuous premium Olive Oils. Another smart V-Day gift is the exceptional Round Pond 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon. It comes in a gift box with a box of four Round Pond Truffles. Do visit if you’re up in Napa. 

Up in Calistoga, Bennett Lane Winery’s is also doing a Valentine’s Day special by pairing their 2005 Maximus “feasting wine”, along with a sample of their signature chocolate sauce - made partly with the Maximus wine. This sauce is perfect for ice cream and other sinful pursuits. The Maximus is a sure sock knocker - notes of tobacco and chocolate with elegant hints of stone fruits.

Another fine winery is Napa’s O’Brien Estate, and it always brings a smile to Valentine’s Day. They offer a sensual, Romantic Portfolio (a five bottle gift box of wine), with each wine representing a phase of a relationship. These include: Flirtation, Attraction, Romance of the Heart, Seduction, and Reflection. Beside the concept these are worthy wines.


The unique Charbay Winery & Distillery in St. Helena has just released a very interesting Pomegranate Dessert Wine. What makes Charbay stand out (awesome Blood Orange Vodka) is that they use real, local, fresh fruits in all their products. “The pomegranates we use for our vodka & aperitifs are so fresh that we brought in extra to make a port-like dessert wine,” says Marko Karakasevic, Charbay’s winemaker & distiller. “We distilled our own brandy to arrest the pomegranate fermentation.” This wine combines a balance of sweetness, acidity and a clean, light palate; it’s among the best California dessert wines to date.

Of course, hotels around Wine Country offer plenty of V-Day options including, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn which is featuring a delectable “Couples Wine and Roses” spa treatment. Couples get to splash around in an oh-so-special bath sprinkled with rose petals, while toasting each other with sparkling wine. After the bathing preliminaries are over, side-by-side rose and grape seed oil massages help restore the body, perhaps leading to greater romance. Staying in Sonoma itself is another fun part of the package.

Over in Healdsburg – the fabulous Dry Creek Kitchen will be offering an ‘Aphrodisiac-Inspired’ tasting menu. Throughout history, certain ingredients have been said to aid in the hormonal arts, such as oysters and pine nuts; each contain high levels of zinc, producing higher levels of testosterone. Saffron is purported to stimulate properties within the female erogenous zones. One dish on the tasting menu combines poached lobster tail and seared Wagyu beef with coriander butter and smoked potato puree. Besides sounding exceptionally delicious, the use of coriander is also considered a potent male stimulant. Dry Creek Kitchen is located in the swanky Hotel Healdsburg.

Get out - enjoy the burgeoning sun, each other, and share a glass or two with someone special. Remember, drink what you like and like what you drink. 

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