I never tire of this blissful resort terraced into a hillside overlooking the Rutherford vineyards. The 55 villa-style lodgings feature terra-cotta floors, fireplaces, oversize baths and picturesque verandas. And the superb Restaurant, under the supervision of Executive Chef Robert Curry, offers a menu of wine country cuisine, essentially a combination of California ingredients and Mediterranean techniques and flavors. Few things in life are more pleasant than lunch on its sunny terrace. Wine Director Kris Margerum has compiled a predictably encyclopedic wine list.
180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford. Tel. (707) 963-1211.
This slightly larger yet nonetheless distinctive resort is set on a 250-acre wooded estate. Clusters of dormered cottages contain 85 guest quarters; for maximum spaciousness and privacy, request a Treeline Cottage, Woodland Room, Fairway Treeline Room or a Hillside Terrace Room. For a gastronomic treat, I invariably head straight to The Restaurant at Meadowood, where chef Christopher Kostow has deservedly garnered three Michelin stars for his superlative Modern American cuisine.
900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena. Tel. (707) 531-4788.
This dramatic sanctuary in the Stags leap District enjoys a glorious location on a hilltop that affords unforgettable views of the valley below. Relaxing beside the swimming pool, I have seen hot air balloons drift past at eye level! Five sumptuous suites feature king beds, woodburning fireplaces, private balconies and magnificent baths with indoor/outdoor showers and heated floors. Common areas include a scenic terrace for lavish breakfasts; other meals can be enjoyed at the many nearby restaurants. The wine cellar is remarkable.
6380 Silverado Trail, Napa. Tel. (707) 944-0646.