February has arrived, and the frenzy of yet another holiday is kicking in. If wine and chocolate have anything to do with your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day, set your sights on a sweet trip to Wine Country.
Trinitas Tasting Room
If you’re looking for a unique setting to sip, Trinitas Tasting Room is a necessary stop in Napa Valley. Located 40 feet underground in The Meritage Resort and Spa's Estate Cave, it took 18 months to make this cozy tasting room a reality.
Four Trinitas Red Wines are paired with artisanal chocolate truffles from Napa based Anette’s Chocolates (“Chocolate brings out the best in everyone,” says tasting room manager Lamar Engel). If you’re looking to mix it up a bit, maybe break up the red with a splash of white. The chocolate gets switched up every other month, so repeat customers can look forward to new, sweet tastes. A note for parents: They can also do Vignette Wine Country Soda tastings for younger palates that may be tagging along. Offered daily, year round. No reservation needed. 707-251-3012 $25 per person.
Fritz Underground Winery
Sonoma County’s Fritz Underground Winery pairs handmade artisan chocolate truffles from Berkeley-based Salt Side Down Chocolates with their Reserve Red Wines. Offered year round by appointment. Reserve online or by phone, 707-894-3389. $35 per person.
Castello di Amorosa
How about tasting in a Tuscan Castle without leaving Napa County? Castello di Amorosa pairs two handmade Belgian chocolate truffles and dark chocolate with sea salt from Napa’s Le Belge Chocolatier with five of their premium wines. One taste, and you’ll be happy to know the dark chocolate with sea salt is also available for purchase at the winery. Offered daily, year round. No reservation needed. 707-967-6272 $22 per person.
Grgich Hills Estate
There are two options for your sweet tooth at Napa County’s Grgich Hills Estate. The Unforgettable Tour & Tasting starts in the vineyard and ends tasting Special Selection wines paired with chocolates from Sacramento’s 3D Candies. The candy maker worked with Grgich Hills to develop sweets specifically to be paired with their wines. The tour lasts about 90 minutes. Offered year round, reservation required. Reserve by phone 800-532-3057. $50. You can also opt for a 90-minute private tour and tasting with chocolate for $75.
Chocolate offerings at Paraiso Vineyards
The Smith family has grown grapes off River Road in Monterey County for 40 years. Check out the family picture on their website and hanging proudly in the tasting room–it’s pretty obvious they like what they do. Chocolate and wine is a daily thing in their bright tasting room and boutique. Seemingly endless samples of Marich Premium Chocolates from Hollister are beautifully arranged on the tasting room bar. When you taste, you’re encouraged to sip with a chocolate sea salt caramel or maybe a chocolate-covered blueberry. If Emily’s pouring the day you visit she’ll happily suggest pairings, but also encourage you to try your own thing. Offered daily, year round. No reservation needed. 831-678-0300. Drum roll please...for $5 per person you get to taste all seven wines and enjoy chocolate bliss.
Paraiso has three winery dogs (Irie actually has a wine named after him) and your dogs are welcome to come and play.
Dana can be found on Twitter @drebmann