Whats Haute: Napa Valley – Newton Wine Tasting Bar, The Ranch on Soda Rock, Étoile

French Laundry


At The French Laundry, time moves slowly to nurture ripening romance. The path into the two-story stone house passes through a pastoral garden of country roses and seasonal herbs. Inside, the 15-table restaurant presents a divine dining experience, a three- to four-hour affair that that must be properly planned two months in advance-reservations are taken a minimum of eight weeks in anticipation. Jacketed diners are served the finest French dishes that chef/owner Thomas Keller has to offer. Each day he creates two new nine-course tasting menus where no ingredient appears twice. Every element of his restaurant sings with emotion, from the lovingly blended signature coffee to the passionately presented extra, extra virgin olive oil. Nothing at this restaurant is anything less than storybook.

6640 Washington St.
Hall St. Helena Winery


It’s not news that Hall St. Helena produces good wine. With more than a century of history in Napa Valley, the wine portfolio of the estate includes sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and a unique red blend. However, the latest venture for vineyard owners Craig and Kathryn Hall will be branching out from the grapevine and sowing some seeds in an architecture investment. And from the Hall’s perspective, if you are going to team up with someone on an architecture project, who better to do it with than the master, Frank Gehry? In a project slated for completion in 2011, the Halls, Gehry, and local architect Jon Lail are building a 10,000-square-foot winery composed of glass, stone, plaster and wood. The state-of-the-art facility will include an impressive visitors’ center that, in addition to serving as a celebration of fine wine, will also house the Hall’s extensive modern art collection. For those planning a trip to Napa before the grand opening, exclusive daily tours are available throughout the construction process, offering Frank Gehry fans a chance to witness his work in progress. Photographs, drawings and more than 30 design models will be on display as well as a tasting of current-release Hall wines.

401 St. Helena Highway S
St. Helena