Scenes For Seduction: Best Bets for Romantic Winter Dining

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By Deirdre Bourdet

Wine country's dramatic beauty and sensual delights make it an ideal destination for romance at any time of year, but I tend to think winter is one of its finest seasons.  Chilly temperatures seem to amplify our enjoyment of food and wine, and also encourage the wintry inclination to cuddle up closer with our person of choice (plus, there's also that holiday in the middle of February that tends to prompt some romantic gestures).  Here are some suggestions for dining à deux in wine country when the barometer runs low, but passions run high.

Cozy Up By the Fire. Everyone knows one of the best ways to fan the flames between you is to cozy up by a fireplace.Start the evening off right (or just make a night of it) in the lounge at Cuvée in Napa, which offers great happy hour discounts on drinks and globally inspired appetizers during the week.The fireside tables at Brix tucked away in a discreet corner of the restaurant behind the bar, also make a great place for shameless flirting over dinner.   In Sonoma County, the low lighting, plush textures, and dramatic stone fireplace of John Ash's front lounge provide the perfect ambience to make your move.

Shoot for the Stars. Michelin stars, that is.Both Napa and Sonoma have an impressive collection of restaurants who scored at least one prestigious Michelin star for 2011.Aptly named étoile (French for "star") in Yountville is the only Michelin-starred restaurant located in a winery (Domaine Chandon), and its elegant contemporary dining room and culinary dazzle are sure to leave you both starry-eyed.On the Sonoma side, Santé in the historic Sonoma Mission Inn delivers white tablecloth dining in a wine country casual setting, plying guests with aphrodisiac delights like "grown-up mac n cheese" made with Maine lobster, black truffles, and Val d'Aosta cheese.Other great starred places are the Restaurant at Meadowood (with a perfect score of 3 Michelin stars), Cyrus in Healdsburg (2 stars), or the Applewood Inn & Restaurant in the Russian River Valley, which received its first star in 2011.

Get A Room. Optimism is a powerful force, and dining somewhere with overnight accommodations is a great way to plan for the best case scenario... but it's also super convenient and avoids the task of arranging sober transportation back to bed. Solbar in Calistoga's luxurious Solage Resort boasts a Michelin star for its creative seasonal creations and sophisticated setting, and the modern bungalow-style accommodations are just a short stroll or bike ride way (Solbar also has a fireplace--the perfect trifecta!).On the Sonoma Coast, the intimate dining room of Alexander's at the Timber Cove Inn offers dramatic views of the rugged coastline to pair with its celebration of the region's most delectable products. And, FYI, the Timber Cove Inn is currently promoting its Full Ocean view rooms, with spa tub and fireplace and lots of romantic enhancements, for just $199 per night; check the website for details.

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Beautiful! please sent me information about September and October, Thank u

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