The light changes, becoming shorter and more golden by the day. The grape harvest is over in Wine Country and there’s a whiff in the air (yes, even in California) so my thoughts turn to the holidays and, of course, champagne. When it comes to sparkling wine, let’s face it, nobody does it better than France. And if you live in the Bay Area or happen to be visiting this week, Napa’s own little slice of French country hospitality is hosting a champagne extravaganza. The Auberge du Soleil is hosting its third annual Champagne Week through October 30th.
The property will offer daily champagne tastings from premier and grand cru houses, along with a perfect champagne-paired dining experience at the on-site Michelin-starred restaurant, one of Napa’s premier restaurants, acclaimed by longtime and well-loved Guests are led by head chef Robert Curry. Champagne houses featured include Krug, Dom Perignon, Laurent-Perrier, Duval-Leroy, Vilmart & Cie and Legras & Haas.
Packages include a three-night stay in a Deluxe Valley View Suite, private winery tours and tastings accompanied by Wine Director Kris Margerum, the Chef’s special tasting menu for two with matching wines, daily breakfast and lunch, and airport transfers.
You can also just make a dinner reservation and pop in from town for the evening. This special pairing dinner is a marvel of decadence and restraint. I was able to preview Chef Curry’s menu for Champagne Week, modified for me as a pescetarian, and not only was each course compelling as a dish in its own right, the champagne pairings were increasingly thoughtful and just right. As one waiter pointed out, nothing is sacrificed in an all-seafood menu paired with world-class champagne. Other courses included a sautéed scuba scallop with Jerusalem artichoke, hazelnuts and Buerre Noisette, paired beautifully with the Laurent-Perrier “La Cuvée” Brut.
I also took a look at the regular menu, which includes meat dishes like Wolf Farm quail and bacon-wrapped veal loin.
Lunch is a three-course meal with champagne pairings, and the more casual bar area offers a decidedly chic flight of champagne and caviar with three 1-ounce cans, each paired with a glass of champagne, as follows:
- White Sturgeon Caviar + Laurent-Perrier “La Cuvée” Brut
- Kaluga caviar + Billecart salmon brut rosé
- Osetra caviar + Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame” Brut
If you can stay overnight or, better yet, for the entire three-night package, you’ll be well catered for in one of the property’s sprawling suites with Napa Valley views, large terraces, and free minibar items — stocked daily , exclusive spa products in the bathrooms and of course fluffy bed linen.
The spa is available to all overnight guests of the hotel and you can use the three pools with different temperatures even without a treatment appointment. There is also a self-guided art tour that allows you to experience Parc du Soleil, the current collection of sculptures curated by Aerena Gallery. All pieces in the collection are for sale.
See Auberge du Soleil for more information.