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  Visiting Napa and Sonoma: Which Wineries to Visit?

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Author Topic:   Visiting Napa and Sonoma: Which Wineries to Visit?
Hawkeye
Member
posted 03-07-2010 06:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Pinot . . . I have to agree with cabgirl on V. Sattui . . . I think their wines are just average . . . their deli is what is amazing. In all my trips to wine country, I believe I stopped at Sattui on the first trip and not once since. It is a buzzing tasting room!

IP: 184.60.1.90

Hawkeye
Member
posted 03-03-2010 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Each trip we make to wine country, we attempt to find some new (to us) small wineries, our last trip in February being no exception. On this particular day, we made the trip from Calistoga to the Healdsburg area in the Sonoma Valley.

While researching the area on WineCountry. com, we saw an area south of Healdsburg on Limerick Lane that looked interesting. We had made an appointment, and our first stop was new to us, Deux Amis Winery at 620 Limerick Lane. Duex Amis is French for "two friends," Phyllis Zouzounis and Jim Penpraze who together started the winery. At this visit, they showed 2 zins, a petit sirah. and a pinot noir. We rated the wines from very good to excellent and they were in the moderate price range. The tasting took place in their working winery, a nice change from the glitz of many tasting rooms. Jim was a very congenial host, and we felt the winery was a surprising find. Make an appointment and visit.

Just across the road and up a lane was Christopher Creek Winery sitting high atop a hill, another new one to us. The tasting room was attached to the end of the winery. They were tasting the usual array of wines for the area, zinfandel, cab, and syrah. Of those tasted, we felt the zins stood above the others, but then we love zins. No appointment needed, so make sure you visit.

When visiting a tasting room, we always ask, "Where would you suggest we visit?" This question was posed to Jim at Deux Amis and his answer was, "Merriam Winery, just down the road." We headed back down the road and made a left turn on Los Amigos Road, looking for 11650. We found it with no problem which is sometimes unusual for us.

We walked in and were greeted by Carey Arnold in the tasting room. A delightful young lady with lots of enthusiasm and information. On this particular day, they were tasting two chardonnay's, a merlot and a cab. Their 2008 chardonnay from 100% stainless steel showed all the characteristics you would expect, citrus, green apple, etc., and at a very reasonable closeout price. However, the find of the whole trip was their 2005 Russian River Valley Merlot! It showed fruit and a very long smooth finish . . . what I refer to as a cab drinkers merlot. We are anticipating the arrival of our case.

From there we drove back into Healdsburg and selected the Center Street Cafe & Deli on the square to have lunch. My wife is an expert when it comes to chocolate shakes and she says they have the best.

Another suggestion we had was to visit the Williamson Wines tasting room in downtown Healdsburg. They were tasting an array of their wines but with a twist . . . each wine was accompanied by a little pairing of food to enhance the flavors, a very nice experience. An explanation of each taste was given and what we could expect to experience. A definite stop on your trip. If I remember correctly, there was no tasting fee, a bonus to a great experience.

The next afternoon stop was at Wilson Winery at 1960 Dry Creek Road, a perennial favorite of ours. They are zinfandel specialists. They were tasting two cabs, but cut to the chase and have the zins. They have won many accolades and gold medals for their zins. This is a definite "must stop" in our humble opinion and definitely on our agenda each trip. We brought home their 2007 Reserve Carl's zin which had just scored highly.

Just down the road a ways is Mauritson Winery at 2859 Dry Creek Road. They do make other wines, but in our opinion, their contribution to the wine world are their zinfandels. Most of their zins come from the Rockpile Vineyard and one of the enjoyable things about this stop, they give you a flight tasting of the Rockpile zins so you can taste the differences. A very busy tasting room but a must stop. This is one of the few wine clubs the we belong to and I think a separate tasting room for their club members would be a future priority.

After six wineries, we were ready for a rest. At this time, I was about 2 quarts low on my Diet Coke. Back to Calistoga safely to live and taste another day.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 03-03-2010).]

IP: 69.246.134.27

cabgirl
Member
posted 02-19-2010 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cabgirl     Edit/Delete Message
I would like to plan a wine tasting trip in Sonoma. I usually always end up at wineries in Sonoma Valley, but would like to venture out further.

What wineries are near Keller Estate in Petaluma?

IP: 68.121.220.114

MarionSzymanski
Junior Member
posted 02-17-2010 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarionSzymanski   Click Here to Email MarionSzymanski     Edit/Delete Message
I forgot to tell you their website!
http://www.kellerestate.com/visit
The winery is on 5875 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma CA; and their wines are absolutely delicious!

IP: 200.94.21.196

MarionSzymanski
Junior Member
posted 02-17-2010 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarionSzymanski   Click Here to Email MarionSzymanski     Edit/Delete Message
I would like to recommend you to visit Keller Estate. It is one of the most beautiful wineries in the region. The Tasting Room is open Thursdays to Sundays 11am - 4:30pm. No reservation is required. There is a complimentary Tasting and a 5% discount on all your purchases of that day, if you print a coupon that is in their website (VISIT US). Let's try together this winery.

IP: 200.94.21.196

PetiteSyrah
Junior Member
posted 06-03-2008 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PetiteSyrah   Click Here to Email PetiteSyrah     Edit/Delete Message
redleader,

In reply to your question, Is the Winery name possibly Atalon instead of Atalot?

IP: 209.76.104.5

cabgirl
Member
posted 04-16-2008 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cabgirl     Edit/Delete Message
I personally am not a fan of V. Sattui wine. It's not bad wine, but with all of the other choices in the valley, I prefer to visit V. Sattui for the "to die for artichoke cream cheese made fresh daily and other deli selections" than the wine.

IP: 209.76.104.5

pinot
Junior Member
posted 04-15-2008 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pinot   Click Here to Email pinot     Edit/Delete Message
Cabgirl... you don't like V.Sattui's wine? I have never heard a negative comment on any of Darryl's vino prior...

IP: 63.146.76.162

pinot
Junior Member
posted 04-15-2008 03:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pinot   Click Here to Email pinot     Edit/Delete Message
I live in the area, and all of those are good choices.
I'd also suggest Homewood and Larson.
Both are family run and lots of fun.

IP: 63.146.76.162

cabgirl
Member
posted 04-07-2008 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cabgirl     Edit/Delete Message
Napa Valley
Natives of Napa Valley won't agree with me, but Sterling Vineyards is a must stop in Calistoga if it's your first time. It has a beautiful tram ride up to their vineyards and tasting room and is all the way around a great experience. Be sure to download a coupon from NapaValley.com to get a $5 discount on tasting fees.

Other wineries tried and true - Franciscan, Louis Martini, Charles Krug, Mondavi, Beringer, Chateau Montelena.

Visit V. Sattui for the food in the deli but not the wine! Also across from Dean & DeLuca which is a great shop/marketplace too. Hall Winery is next door!

Some wineries off the beaten path (Alpha Omega, Stags Leap, Cuvason, Mumm, Joseph Phelps)

Wineries in Sonoma to Visit
Not as familiar with wineries to visit in Sonoma, but a prior post is correct when they say - pick a region/distinct area in Sonoma because the county is huge and wineries can be fare apart from each other.

Some that I've tried that were good -
Ravenswood, Chateau St. Jean, Larson Family Winery.

IP: 209.76.104.5

syrah girl
Member
posted 03-25-2008 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for syrah girl     Edit/Delete Message
I haven't heard of that one, we were just in the wine country and enjoyed tastings at Ravenswood, Artesa, Nicholson Ranch, Bartholomew Park, Imgery and Gary Farrell in Healdsburg. We had a great time!

IP: 70.137.198.24

redleader
Junior Member
posted 03-19-2008 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for redleader     Edit/Delete Message
Has anyone heard of Atalot wines? If so, where are they located?

IP: 70.181.113.129

DermCanada
Junior Member
posted 10-15-2007 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DermCanada   Click Here to Email DermCanada     Edit/Delete Message
we just had our 1st trip there, and here's a couple of tips. Most of the wineries that we visited offered red and whites. Let the wineries guide you through the tasting process (typically they start with whites and end with their big, bold, expensive cab savs). The tours take a lot of time, so you probably only want to do a couple and no more than 1 per day (takes away from tasting time). We did 3 great tours Benzinger, Mondavi, and Sterlings (all very different and all worth while). We made a mistake of stretching ourselves too thin and tried to cover too much area in Sonoma in a day and therefore shorted ourselves of a winery or 2. Stick to 1 distinct area for a given day. Avoid highway 29 on Saturdays (do an area in Sonoma or the Silverado trail instead). If you're driving, you can share tastings with your partner (perfectly acceptable). 3-5 tastings in a day is a good day. Besides the tastings, just comparing and contrasting the tasting rooms for the big and small wineries was good fun. Your focus doesn't have to be all about wines either. Balloon rides, beautiful drives, mud baths and great food, made for a great weekend.

IP: 216.191.116.3

olabner
Junior Member
posted 08-13-2007 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for olabner   Click Here to Email olabner     Edit/Delete Message
My wife and I are visiting the area for the first time in October. We will be arriving Friday afternoon and leaving Monday evening. Obviously, we cannot visit all the vineyards in this time. Which ones do the experts suggest? What journals are good for advice? We enjoy dry reds.

IP: 12.219.171.192

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