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  Sonoma County     [all categories]
  Sonoma - Wineries to Visit
  November Trip day 3

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Author Topic:   November Trip day 3
posted 12-17-2010 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Damombo, when you get started, you are quite prolific! Thanks, I gain a lot of information.

Mauritson has some of my favorite zins. However, they don't pour them a lot. I agree with Yesilovewine, when you return you need to do the flight of their Rockpile Zins, which if not their signature offering, it should be. There are several offerings of Rockpile including Cemetery Ridge and Jack's Cabin being two. I also agree with Yesilovewine that they need a separate tasting room for club members. We were members, but got tired of smashing elbows with John and Jane Doe so we dropped out. If they ever get s separate room, we will rejoin.

I think by the time that we hit Passalaqua, my taste buds had gotten up and went. There was only one wine there that I really cared for and it was their Maple Zin. Will have to add it to the schedule earlier next time.

We have not been to Francis Ford Coppola yet. Tried one time and we were too early. After hearing about your lunch, we just may make it around lunch time next trip.

Wilson . . . now, there are some fine zins. Last trip we brought home some Molly's Vineyard, Carl's Vineyard and Diane's Vineyard. I would put them up there with Chase in Zins. They too need a separate tasting room for club members. If they had one, we would join. Still, I will go in and bump elbows just to taste their zins.

Williamson!!!!!!!! What a place. They have things right . . . treat your customers right and they will purchase your wines. Too bad some of the other places do not learn this simple fact of marketing. You get both the wine and the food pairing for . . . NOTHING. Where else in wine country can you do that? They sponsor Epicurean Dinners at the Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg on the first Friday of every month at 7:30pm. We just might have to give them a try.

Just reading Damombo's gastronomical experiences makes me hungry so I better go have my daily ration of dog food. I am in the dog house after our last trip and all the wine WE purchased.


posted 12-16-2010 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
At Mauritson we just did the regular tasting. Perhaps in April we will do the zin flight - we are big fans of zin!


posted 12-16-2010 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
I've just reached that stage in life (empty-nest) where I can develop an appreciation for fine wine and equally fine food - and Sonoma/Napa are just the places to do that! Plus my husband has discovered that he enjoys cooking and experimenting with intricate recipes - lucky me!!


posted 12-16-2010 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
You had a busy day- at some of our last visits!
At Mauritson, did you do the general tasting or the Zin flight? I liked the zin flight much better. They also make a good Malbec. It has become almost cultish there, as with Wilson; both are usually quite crowded and its almost too much to enjoy. I really wish each of them would create a club member tasting area just to relieve the congestion at the tasting bar.
Glad you enjoyed Passalaqua- it was a real hit with us, too. We also bought some of their sangiovese, along with some of the Maple zin. They have created a lovely place to taste wine there and we look forward to another visit.
You are SOO lucky to get the Coppola Director's Cut zin!!! My envy runneth over. For some odd reason, none of the distributors here carry the zin. You have a nice house wine.
As for Trentadue....you said it all. It is truly difficult for me to understand how they stay in business with the lack of interest shown by the tasting room staff. We too find the wines generally underwhelming, except for the Chocolate port. But we dislike the people enough that we may have to go back to Charles Creek's chocolate port. At least there you feel like they appreciate your business and they are happy to see you walk in!!!
Your food palate is WAAAY more sophisticated than mine, but I believe we can communicate on the wine front.
Thanks for posting.


posted 12-16-2010 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
We checked into a lovely room at the Vintner’s Inn and headed over to John Ash for our dinner reservation. We feasted on Lobster Escargot Style, Caesar Salad, Prime Rib, and Orecchiette Pasta with Shrimp and Asparagus. Yum! The restaurant is lovely and it is right there on the grounds of the Vintner’s Inn, so walking distance. And after such a meal, walking is good. So ended day 2.

On day three, we went into Healdsburg for breakfast on the square - I think it’s the place where Mrs. Hawkeye loves the chocolate shakes? Center Street Cafe and Deli. Thus fortified, we headed out for the Dry Creek area. First stop was Mauritson. It was early, so the place wasn’t crowded yet, but by the time we left, it was packed. I have to tell you that we weren’t wowed by their wines. The staff was fairly friendly, but the wines themselves were just not to our liking - too tannic and they all tasted the same. Oh well, once again showing how everyone has different taste and isn’t that good!?

Next stop was Passalacqua. HOMERUN! Very nice tasting room atmosphere with friendly, informative hosts. This one was terrific for us. The wines were rich and jammy, with long, luscious finishes. The sangiovese, multiple zins, and the cabernet - a case of assorted wines went home!
They suggested we go by Preston next, so off we went. Turns out, one of the bottles I bought at the Wine Garage in Calistoga was from Preston - I recognized the label even though I hadn’t remembered their name. Their tasting room was quaint, and they also had some bakery items. We tasted 4 wines and took a zin and a syrah with us.
It was getting on to lunch time, so we headed over to Francis Ford Coppola’s Rustic for our meal. The winery was PACKED. It was a Saturday, so that was to be expected. We had a tasty, hot lunch, which was perfect since it was a cool, dreary, rainy day. We didn’t bother to do a tasting since the place was jammed, but we do enjoy many of their wines. Their Director’s Cut Zin we refer to as our house wine - it’s inexpensive and very nice, so it works as an “everyday” wine very well. Not that we drink wine everyday!

Since it was practically across the highway, and since we had walked out without a tasting once before, we decided to give Trentadue a second chance. (They are no longer on the Signature Visa deal, even though Visa hasn’t updated their website). It wasn’t as crowded as before, but there was still a vibe of not-so-friendly going on. Or maybe it was just me. At any rate, we split a tasting, but (not surprisingly) it wasn’t wowing us. My husband enjoyed their port, but we didn’t buy anything.

Back to Dry Creek Road and Wilson. By now the skies had opened up and it was pouring. We dashed into the tasting room and had a lovely time tasting and warming up by pot-bellied stove. The place was busy, but the pourers were friendly and kept things moving. Again, a place with zins we enjoyed - we came away with a couple of bottles.

We had been given tasting passes for White Oak over in Alexander Valley, so that was next. Beautiful setting and tasting room. The tasting room was empty so we had the host’s full attention. The wines were nice, but I’m afraid my palate was getting dull, so we will have to go back. Down the street was Sausal, so we stopped there as well - hubby wasn’t as dull as me This place was full - from one giant limo. Nice place, but we will have to return another day to give them a fair shake. The wines were nice, but they might be really great, so we will have to try them earlier in the day and in the trip next time. Back to Healdsburg for a final tasting and dinner.

I had saved Williamson for last because we had dinner reservations in town at A Divine Affair. Fortunately, my palate and my brain perked up a bit when we got to Williamson. After Hawkeye and cabgirl’s descriptions, I had to pay attention! Fun Fun place - busy, but so attentive! The cute Aussie couple made the rounds several times and our personal host was great. Wines were right up our alley, and I enjoyed the pairings. Really liked the Irish cheddar rolled in the seed combination. I commented on that to Mrs. Williamson, and she said that she whipped up the combination of the seeds and herbs. I asked if she sold it, and she did! So we came home with several bottles of wine and a cute bottle of Mrs. Williamson concoction.

Our dinner at Divine Affair was another amazing meal. The chef’s mom works front of house, and she was quite charming. The chef herself came by near the end of our meal and we enjoyed telling her how wonderful her menu was. It’s a tiny place, right on the main drag, just off the square, and this is another place you should all try next time you are in Healdsburg.

One day to go!


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