Yountville is a small town located in Napa Valley, California’s Wine Country. First grew to fame when celebrity chef Thomas Keller took over The French Laundry (now a three Michelin star restaurant) in 1994. Since then it has become home to an abundance of renowned wineries and 3 Michelin starred restaurants. If you are looking to wine and dine, Yountville is the perfect lifestyle destination.
I was only in Yountville for a day, but have accumulated recommendations from my friends who live in the Bay Area and from the kind staff at Priest Ranch.
Where to dine:
The French Laundry *** – Named ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ in 2003-2004. With focus on ingredients and execution, there are only 2 tasting menus offered daily.
Bouchon Bistro * – Found by Thomas Keller, a French bistro similar to the likes of Europe.
Auberge du Soleil * – A culinary destination from Mediterranean inspired cuisine joint with vista terrace views.
Ad Hoc – A comfortable spot to enjoy a family-style meal. Famously known for their buttermilk fried chicken.
Bottega – Where Italy meets Napa Valley, traditional Italian cuisine with a Californian twist.
Redd Wood – Stylish and casual osteria that serves wood fired pizzas and handmade pasta.
With a craving for pasta and my usual (somewhat) cost conscious attitude, I chose Bottega and had their modern take on carbonara. The pasta’s black colour is not due to squid ink as you would guess, but from the use of activated charcoal. So on trend!
For your sweet tooth:
Bouchon Bakery – In a classic French boulangerie style, the bakery features a selection of artisanal breads, pastries and desserts. Expect a line, but it is well worth it.
Recommendations by my friend are croissants, scones and cheesecake. I tried the bread pudding and loved it! Very soft and sweet.
Where to wine:
JCB Tasting Salon – A luxurious lounge which has been depicted as a cross between “Fifth Avenue and Champs-Elysees”. Perfect if you enjoy a glamorous setting and have a preference for white wine.
Domaine Chandon – A stunning winery where you can choose to have your tasting at inside or outside in their beautiful terrace or lawn. A must visit if you are a fan of champagne or sparkling wine.
Hestan Vineyards – A favourite of my friends who have a preference for red wine. The owner of this winery is also the CEO of a popular cookware brand, quality kitchenware is also available for purchase at the tasting room.
Priest Ranch – If you are looking for something different, this is it. Other than the usual cheese and wine pairings, a unique bacon and wine pairing is offered.
A visit to Yountville would not be complete without a wine tasting. There are many to choose from within walking distance along the main strip of Yountville. We intended to visit Domain Chandon, but along the way got intrigued by Priest Ranch’s beautiful rustic exterior instead. The 3 of us shared their most simple flight ($25 USD), but the portions were plentiful. We were treated to 2 glasses of sparkling wine on the house too. Each of us found a different wine that we preferred from the mix – mine was Grenache Blanc. I highly recommend Priest Ranch. Delightful tasting experience as the staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable; the intimate chalet style interior is also a plus.
I had a lovely time in Yountville for my first ever visit to Napa Valley. The skies were blue, the weather was warm, I had delicious food and drinks in my belly – nothing more to ask for! A great day trip idea while visiting the Bay Area.
Thank you Beatrice and Leander for being my personal tour guide 🙂