Meritage Resort and Spa is great starting point for exploring Napa Valley 4 min read


As an avid wine traveler, I spend my fair share of nights in hotel rooms, some purely oriented towards business traveler, some quite opulent. There is one special place, though that I love to revisit: The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa Valley.


Meritage’s unique location, at the foot of Napa Valley, with the picturesque back drop of a hillside vineyard and the famous Grape Crusher statue affords the visitors a great starting point from which to explore the wonders of the valley.


The resort features Tuscan-theme luxury suites, Trinitas Wine Cellars‘ tasting room with an estate cave, and several eateries, including Siena restaurant. It also boasts a spa where you can take in a massage or relax in the soaking pool after a long day of wine tasting.


The rooms are very contemporary and designed with ultimate comfort in mind.


Between expansive event spaces, caves, the Trinitas tasting room, surrounding vineyards, restaurants, special library wine pairings with Kollar chocolate, bars, indoor and outdoor pools, spa and a bowling alley, you may never want to leave! The most unique feature of Meritage, however, is its lovely, intimate Chapel, complete with an ordained in-house priest. Should you choose to get married there, you have all your needs taken care of—wedding ceremony, reception, guest rooms, and Trinitas wine, all in a gorgeous setting.


Ultimately, a hotel, however wonderful and well located, is just a hotel. It is the people who run it that make it special. From the moment you walk through the door, you take in every moment of the experience and it’s those seemingly insignificant details, such as a warm or upbeat, positive attitude of the staff that make the most difference in the guest experience. I was greeted by every single staff member who passed me by. The employees at the Meritage is incredibly well-trained and take gracious hospitality to a new level.


Meritage Resort and Spa | PHOTO CREDIT: Ilona Thompson


Meritage is home to Trinitas Cellars, which opened its doors in 2002, a realization of a lifelong dream of the Busch family. Trinitas embraces the synergy of sun, soil and humanity as their motto. A core belief of Trinitas’ proprietors is the importance of supporting their community. They live their personal and business lives in a dignified, honorable way, and in service of God. The Trinitas Philanthropy Association and Charity Program is responsible for supporting a number of worthy causes.


Their wine offerings cover a broad range of the varietal spectrum. They source fruit from a number of local vineyards and produce a wide variety of wonderful wines, all of which are worth sampling. I’d like to highlight just a few that stood out during my visit:


2012 Psalms Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc is a blend sourced from grapes grown in Yountville and Pope Valley, respectably. Sensuous tropical and citrus fruit aromatics, followed by creamy, plush texture, it’s light on its feet yet has a nice presence, particularly on the finish. Since it’s barrel fermented in Russian oak (from Sochi!), it’s palatal characteristics are quite sophisticated.


2011 Rose’ary exudes floral aromas (acacia?) framboise, yellow raspberry, Crenshaw melon and light vanilla. Playful, with good acidity, it has a surprisingly long finish. The blend composition is quite unique—Zinfandel, Carignane, Cab and Merlot. Priced at $20 it is a QPR and a great summer sipper!


2010 Meritage is a classic blend of Bordeaux varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet, Petite Verdot and Malbec. This combination results in a complex, full bodied wines. The wine delivers plenty of rich fruit, smooth, classy tannins, and a great mid-palate. The fruit comes from an Oak Knoll Appellation vineyard, known for its intensity and structure.


All of Trinitas wines are made with the utmost care and attention to detail. Prior to joining Trinitas Cellars in 2007, winemaker Kevin Mills was mentored by Sean Foster, the winemaker at Peju Province. With a focus on producing quality wines that deliver outstanding value, Kevin makes a variety of wines under the Trinitas umbrella, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blancs, Cabernet and Meritage.


I recently wrote about the main restaurant, Siena where Chef Karkus crafts his inspired cuisine which is very impressive.


Crush, a casual cocktail bar (which also serves delicious food) is located next to the bowling alley. My favorite cocktail at Crush was The Bunny Lebowski: Pomegranate Lemon Drop with Citrus Vodka, Triple Sec, Orange Liqueur, fresh lime juice and fresh pomegranate puree.


My favorite menu items? Dungeness Crab Louie with large chunks of fresh crab featuring a divine house dressing.


Meritage, a four diamond resort, is an upscale, lifestyle property with an intimate, understated charm, and boutique ambiance. Quality rest, plus great food, wine and drinks await you upon arrival. The next time you are in Napa Valley, don’t miss this hidden gem.If you are a Mac and Cheese fan, try The Extreme Mac and Cheese: Napa Smith Lager Macaroni, Smoked Cheddar, Swiss, roasted garlic, grilled onions, grape tomatoes, apple-wood smoked bacon, topped with panko crust. Yum.


Meritage, a four diamond resort, is an upscale, lifestyle property with an intimate, understated charm, and boutique ambiance. Quality rest, plus great food, wine and drinks await you upon arrival. The next time you are in Napa Valley, don’t miss this hidden gem.

Ilona Thompson

Ilona Thompson is Editor-in-Chief at PalateXposure, a destination site for oenophiles, gourmands and luxury travelers. She also recently launched #Wine, a site dedicated to wines and spirits reviews, and #Photography, a site devoted to high-quality wine, food, and travel related photography.

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