The minute I realized I forgot my biking pants at home, I knew I was in trouble. But Puneet had found a wonderful bike company in Yountville, an upscale town near Napa and I did not have the heart to disappoint him.
It actually turned out to be an awesome day. We drove about 60 minutes to Yountville. The route was so scenic - we passed vineyard after vineyard through several towns - Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford, Zinfandel and Oakville before we reached Yountville. We saw several wineries that were seemingly familiar.
Once we got to Yountville, we parked at the Napa Valley Bike Tours shop. Face masks were required, all the bikes were sanitized. Comforting, during this pandemic.
We got helmets and locks, and the bikes were pretty high quality. Even my biker-hubby would agree.
What was amazing about today was that the city had a no-car bike path which felt so safe! The plan was to embark on the Vine Trail, and although it was pretty long (went all the way to Napa), we managed to complete 8 miles to Oak Knoll Ave and back to the shop, a total of 16 miles.
The path was pretty flat. We could see mountains on the left, and vineyards on our distant right. There were several wineries on the path. Most did not allow children and all of them were appointment-only. I had heard about the Laird Family Estate and they were willing to accommodate us, which was exciting.
Laird was the highlight of our day. We indulged in a 5-wine tasting session + 1 tasting on the house. Their tasting menu is below.
Our flights were all red wines, and pretty much all of them were premium bottles, ranging from $48 - $90 each. We ordered a cheese plate to accompany the generous tasting pours. In general, this place had an amazing ambiance.
The seating was spread out, the servers were knowledgeable and COVID-conscious and even though the grounds seemed industrial, the actual tasting rooms were beautifully decorated and made us feel like we were in a 5-star resort. This was the first winery of our stay and it set a high bar.
Laird is known for growing grapes (for over 50 years), not so much for making wine, although they have tried to change that in the last 5 years. They grow grapes for other premium winemakers (like Mondavi) on 2000 acres of Napa and Carneros land. 97% of what they grow, they sell. Only 3 % of their grapes are for their very own consumption. In 2014, they hired winemaker Brian Mox, and since then, their wines have started to charm people.
One could categorize their wines as bio-dynamic. There are some sulphites in their wine but I was told that that quantity is limited. Most of their wine-making is traditional.
After our bike ride, we drove around Yountville. We saw the fancy French Laundry. Puneet was so tempted to stop there for a drink but it didn't open until 5. We thought we would stop at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery but it closed at 2 PM. We wanted to grab an English muffin at The Model (Oprah loves their stuff, I had heard!) but it was closed too. Oh well, we tried .