Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What is Meditrina Concierge?

    I have been getting a lot of questions about how Meditrina Concierge* works. (*See where our name comes from at the end of the blog.)  I don't want this update to come across as an advertisement, although it will, I just want to offer the details on the services I provide.

What is Meditrina Concierge?

    We are personalized concierge service in the heart of Napa Valley. We work with our clients on an individual basis to create customized itineraries and unforgettable memories. Our clientele ranges from first time visitors, to veterans who make the annual harvest pilgrimage. We aim to create ideal vacations by assisting with as little or as much of the planning as you like, accommodations, reservations, winery access and transportation are just a few of the details we take care of.

Why should I use a concierge service to plan my vacation?

     Working with a concierge isn’t for everyone. If you’re someone who enjoys arranging every detail and spending hours online, this service may not be for you. Or if you have a list of favorite places and you stick to the script every time, this probably isn't your cup of tea. I am here to make your life easy so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the wine. Whether you want to have every detail of your holiday planned, or your just looking to have a few loose ends tied up, I am here to help you!

     No one is coming to Napa Valley to have a bad time, I am just here to help you have a better time.

Is Meditrina Concierge for me?

     If you’re unsure about using a concierge to arrange your vacation, all you have to do is call: 707-968-7113. My name is Lisa and I am happy to chat about your upcoming trip, answer any questions and talk about what services I provide. There is no fee for calling, and we offer complementary consultations.

How does the service work?

   Once you have made the decision to work with me you can relax knowing no detail will be overlooked. Meditrina Concierge charges $75 per hour of planning service- a weekend trip can take from 1-3 hours of planning. Your itinerary begins taking shape once you have answered a few questions, and we have a foundation to work from. Again, consultations are always complementary, but we do require a deposit equal to 50% of the projected planning time prior to the reservations being made. The remaining fee is due once the final itinerary has been set.

    You’re coming to wine country to have a great time, and I know that! So, regardless of working with Meditrina, I want you to have the best experience possible in this beautiful place I now call home. 

*Fact of the day:
Where does the name Meditrina come from?
Pronounced: Med-a-ter-ina

     Meditrina is the Roman goddess of wine and  Daughter of Apollo. She was the deity in charge of wine, longevity and health. Every Oct. 11 in honor of the new vintage, a festival called Meditrinalia was celebrated. When the season's harvest was in and its first wines made, revelers would mix new wine with old, drink a copious amounts and pour a little onto the earth for the gods and goddesses.

Contact us to book your next wine country itinerary: meditrinaconcierge.com

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Napa Valley 2011

    Coming to Napa Valley for Thanksgiving? Wondering where to go and what to do? Wonder no more! There are many restaurants, shops and wineries open on Thanksgiving Day. Don't fret...your wine and foodie needs will be well met if you're adventuring to Napa Valley for the Thanksgiving Holiday!

     Please be sure to call in advance for reservations and hours of operation. And as always, if you would like help planning the details of your next trip to wine country give me a call anytime 707.968.7173.
Napa Valley Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving Day:

All Seasons Bistro: 942-9111

Alexis Baking Company: 258-1827

Auberge du Soleil: 963-1211

Avia Kitchen: 224-3900

Bardessono: 204-6000

Bistro Jeanty: 944-0103

Boon Fly Café: 299-4870

Brannan’s Grill: 942-2233

Brix Restaurant: 944-2749

Calistoga Inn:  942-4101

Celadon: 254-9690

Cuvee: 224-2330

Downtown Joe’s: 258-2337

Etoile Restaurant: 944-2892

Farm Restaurant: 299-4880

Fish Story: 251-5651

Great American Grill: 252-0444

Grille 29: 253-9540

Hurley’s Restaurant: 944-2345

Hydro Grill: 942-9777

La Toque: 257-5157

The Grill & Restaurant: 963-3646

Ristorante Allegria: 254-8006

The Grill/Royal Oak: 257-0200

Siena Restaurant: 251-1900

Silverado Brewing Company: 967-9876

Solbar at Solage:  226-0850

Sweetie Pies:  257-7280

Taste of the Himalayas:  255-4310

Uva Trattoria: 255-6646

Vin Eleven: 253-8600

Napa Valley Wine Train: 253-2111

Napa Wineries Open on Thanksgiving Day:

Castello di Amorosa: 967-6272

Ceja Vineyards: 255-3954

Cosentino: 921-2896

Elizabeth Spencer: 963-6067

Del Dotto: 963-2134

Girard Winery: 968-9297

Hagafen Cellars: 252-0781

Van der Heyden Vineyards: 257-0130

V. Sattui Winery: 963-7774

V Wine Cellars: 531-7053

Napa Valley Grocery Stores Open Thanksgiving Day:

Cal Mart Groceries/Deli: 942-6271

Dean & DeLuca: 967-9980

J.V Wine & Spirits: 253-2624

Lucky’s (Trancas): 255-7767

Nob Hill Foods: 224-8583

Raley’s: 224-7897

Safeway (Clay St.): 252-4122

Safeway (St. Helena): 968-3620

Vallerga’s Grocery: 253-8780

View our website for contact information & details: meditrinaconcierge.com

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Napa With Kids!

            Are you a parent who thinks bringing children to wine country is a recipe for disaster? Do you have visions of hauling an unhappy child from tasting room to tasting room, broken glasses and interrupted conversations? Do you dream of relaxing in wine country knowing your children are having a good time and being well taken care of?

           Imagine receiving a massage, sampling great wines or having a romantic dinner and being able to relax. Do you think coming to Napa is just for adults? Well it’s not! While you enjoy your time in wine country your children can too!

            Meditrina Concierge works with the top child care providers in Napa Valley. We arrange day and evening, partial or around the clock care, it’s all up to you. And with a background in early childhood education I understand the importance of safety, education and fun. So rest easy knowing the kids are safe and having as much fun as you are!

            Below I have created a sample itinerary (keep in mind there are many more activities available). Each itinerary is created uniquely for you. We work with you every step of the way to ensure your child has the best experience possible.

Please review the sample itinerary below:

9:00am: The day starts with your children being picked up by their care provider after breakfast at your hotel, vacation home or resort. They are in for a day filled with fun and adventure.

10:00am: After a short ride into the hills of the Mayacamas Mountains they stumble upon Safari West! A tour guide takes them, and their care provider, on an educational two tour throughout the property. They can have lunch at Safari West or…

1:00pm: They drive back to the valley floor where they enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the local parks, followed by a little playtime. 

2:30pm: A trip to “Old Faithful Geyser”-Calistga, where they get to see one of nature’s mysterious attractions.

3:30pm: An adventure to the top of Napa Valley on the Sterling Winery Tram followed by a walking tour and a light snack before heading back down.

5:00pm: The care provider can either spend the rest of the evening with the children, take them to dinner and get them settled for the evening, or bring them back anytime you like. 

        Depending on your needs Meditrina Concierge can arrange: daylong group field-trips with multiple care providers, private experiences with a single care provider, in home care and evening and event care. (Two or more care providers are required for groups of four or larger.)

           Now it’s time for you to you to sit back, relax and let the stress melt away knowing your children are receiving the the best care possible.

            To contact Meditrina Concierge about booking your itinerary call 707.968.7173.

Contact us to book your next wine country itinerary: meditrinaconcierge.com

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Calistoga Wine Tasting: Venge Vineyards

      Adding to the mélange of rich history in the region, Venge Vineyards continues hold the bar high. Hidden in plain view, they offer a relaxing experience while showcasing sexy wines! Nestled into a picturesque nook off of the Silverado Trail*, this piece of Napa Valley heaven is home to Venge Vineyards.

View from the Veranda

            The day of our tasting we were scheduled with Matt, the tasting room manager, he was very knowledgeable and facilitating. We knew where the winery was so we didn’t need directions, but if you don’t know you'll want to check a map before hand. The winery and farm house are visible just over the vines, set about ¾ mile off the trail, but you wouldn’t know it unless you knew to look.

Venge Vineyard- Winery and Farm House

            Once on the property we headed past the winery and up to the Farm House. Which is just that, a house! It has a full kitchen, living room, large dining area and a beautiful veranda. The weather was still warm so we opted to sit outdoors, and the view was stunning! The property is west facing and backs up to the Palisade Mountains; there are scenic views across the valley floor to the Mayacamas and up to the vineyards on Spring Mountain.

The Veranda at Venge Vineyard

 Tasting Overview:

The Standouts-

2010 Spettro Proprietary White: $26 a bottle-This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc. On the nose, I found pink grapefuit and honedew melon blending with aromas of white peach and allspice. The palate holds a rich texture accompanied by notes of pippin apple, key lime, cooked plantain and summer breeze (wait is summer breeze a flavor?)  No, but you get the picture, this is a great front porch sipping wine. 

2009 Muhlner Steps Vineyard Syrah: $45 a bottle- The nose took me back to memories of my mom roasting coffee beans. A rich espresso was followed by compact boysenberry and a hint of toasted caramel. On the palate I found great earthy qualities that paired nicely with black cherry, baking coco and fig. A long finish, young tannin and good acidity say this wine will be drinking well for years. I look forward to opening this bottle with a fennel encrusted pork loin and seeing how it has developed over time.

2009 Scout's Honor Proprietary Red: $38 a bottle-A unique blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Charbono and Syrah intersect to create a diverse and concentrated wine. On the nose raspberry and herbaceous scents fuse with anise and damp earth. The Zinfandel makes itself known on the palate, showing off it’s salacious side early; cherry bubble gum (ya, I know just go with it…it’s my palate not yours!) and ripe red berries give way to currant, a hint of coconut and woody flavors (yes woody as in what it would taste like if you chewed on a stick, this is not a bad thing). The balance between the bold and the beautiful isn’t quite there yet, but if you can get your paws on this you shouldn't think twice

2009 Bone Ash Cabernet Sauvignon: $76 a bottle-This was the show stopper! The nose opens with ripe fig, plum and crushed clove with a hint of licorice. On the palate lots of dark fruit is followed by burnt marshmallow, dried tobacco and a hint of truffle. The complex and persistent flavors intertwine with youthful yet firm tannins, letting you know it will be drinking well for many years to come.  

   With our last glass of wine in hand Matt took us on a tour of the winery, it was the beginning of harvest and the smells and sounds were crush as usual. After a quick tour, and running into Kirk who was burning the late afternoon harvest oil, we headed back to the farm house.

    Venge Vineyards is available by appointment only, and if you can get one do it!  The experience is welcoming and relaxing, and the wines are unparalleled! The style by which Kirk makes his wines is one-of-a-kind.

Venge Vineyards
4708 Silverado Trl
Calistoga, CA 94515-9796
(707) 942-9100

Lisa's fun fact of the day :)
*The Silverado Trail got it's name for being the main route wagons traveled carrying silver from the mine town of Silverado. Although the town and success of the mine were short lived, the name stuck when Oat Hill Mine in Calistoga began mining quicksilver (also known as mercury or cinnabar). Quicksilver was used in the gold mines of California to separate the gold from the sand or ore in which it was found.

Contact us to book your next wine country itinerary: meditrinaconcierge.com

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Calistoga Wine Tasting: Jericho Canyon Vineyards

          Although off the beaten path, Jericho Canyon is no “diamond in the rough”, this place is stunning! If you're looking for a winery with a storied past, wonderful service, views to die for and outstanding Cabs; then you need make an appointment to visit Phil at Jericho Canyon. 

          As you turn off of Highway 29 onto the Old Toll Road you are welcomed by picturesque views of the sheer cliff faces of the Palisade Mountains. It is about a mile back on a straight, but narrow road. You know you've gone too far if you hit the "Hair Pin Turn", as our host advised us beforehand.

         Phil, the resident host at Jericho Canyon, greeted us at the copper bar with glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. We tasted the 2009 at $28 a bottle, and were much impressed by the tropical flavors and good balance it offered, perfect for the weather that day! After the greeting we went on a tour of the vineyard, which was a steep incline, but the views were worth it. We were literally at the base of Mount Saint Helena with breathtaking views of the property and surrounding valley floor vineyards.

        Once we got settled into our glasses of Sauvignon Blanc atop the hill, we were given a wonderful history of the property. With stories of prohibition vineyards, cattle ranches and celebrities who have lived on the property; the historical vibe was confirmed. After a few photos we headed down the hill.

        Once in the winery we were lead through the immaculate caves to a beautifully set oak table where the tasting was held.

Tasting Overview:

2006 Jericho Canyon Creek: $45 a bottle-Visions of Christmas morning flooded my head, figs, brown sugar, spice, oak and great tannins! (I guess tannins are not part of Christmas morning but that's okay.)

2007 Jericho Canyon Creek Cabernet: $45 a bottle- Although very similar in flavor and structure the 2007 showed it's true colors. It was a fun experience to try both vintages side by side. I can't wait to open a bottle of the 2007 in a year from now.

2006 Jericho Canyon Estate Cabernet: $80 a bottle-The wine comes from grapes further up the terraced hillside and offers a rich velvety tannic structure- boysenberry, back cherry, currants and a hint of minerality intersect with a good balance of alcohol and acidity. One thing the Estate Cabernet showed is that Jericho Canyon wines are age worthy.

        This was one of the best tasting experiences I have had in a long time. I highly recommend visiting Jericho Canyon, if you can get an appointment.

Jericho Canyon Vineyard
3322 Old Lawly Toll Road
Calistoga, CA 94515

FUN (but useless) FACT OF THE DAY:
Mount Saint Helena was originally named Mount Mayacamas, but the name was changed after a Russian survey party ascended the peak in 1841 and left a copper plate on the summit inscribed with the date of their visit. Mount Saint Helena is composed of uplifted 2.4-million-year-old volcanic rocks from the Clear Lake volcanic field. This volcanic activity is the source of the Old Faithful Geyser and surrounding hot springs.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Calistoga Wine Tasting: Breakfast at Café Sarafornia

     Day two of our "Calistoga Wine Tasting Adventure" started off at the local breakfast joint, Café Sarafornia. If you spend more than a few days up-valley you're likely to swing by this classic café to fuel up before a day of tasting. Located on the main street in Calistoga*, you rarely wait more than 15 minutes for a table, even with a line out the door.

     Eclectic décor graces the walls of this classic diner, small tables and a few booths cover nearly every inch of the floor space. If you’re fearful of small spaces or in the mood for a romantic brunch you’re at the wrong place. Offering the American artery clogging staples, as well as a few specialty items, this is a great spot if you’re looking for a quick bite.

    They have many options, but a few of our favorites are the huevos rancheros, Brannan benedict and Mexican omelet. They also have the best freshly squeezed orange juice ever, which is great in their mimosas. This is my favorite place if I'm in a rush, you don't have to wait for an hour or more. However, if you need to be coddled or expect quality service you may have to look elsewhere.

   After breakfast we started our day of tasting! Check out our next update to see where we headed.

*One of California history's greatest characters gave Calistoga its name, or so the story goes. Sam Brannan, who once owned most of the town, was asked what he planned to do with his northern Napa property. He intended to make it the Saratoga Springs of California, but with his diction slurred by alcohol Brannan replied, "I'm going to make it the Calistoga of Sarafornia!"

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