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  Sonoma County     [all categories]
  Sonoma - Wineries to Visit
  Sonoma Itinerary - really rough draft!

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Author Topic:   Sonoma Itinerary - really rough draft!
StacysWineStop
Junior Member
posted 02-27-2011 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for StacysWineStop   Click Here to Email StacysWineStop     Edit/Delete Message
Hey Wolfman, When your in the heart of the valley you must check out Ty Caton & Michael Muscardini's tasting rooms. Ty does big Bordeaux style wines and Michael does Italian varietals. I have so many favorites from these two guys and the price points are awesome. Auldessa opened a tasting room in downtown Glen Ellen again great wines.

If your looking for the best Petite Syrah you have to go to Cahill in Russian River around the corner from Iron Horse. Winemaker extraordinaire Don Payne just won double gold for his PS in the SF wine competition. I enjoyed a bottle of this luscious juice last night! Matter of fact he entered 16 wines in the competition and took 14 medals!!!!

"It is about the people, the place & the wine!"

IP: 71.198.155.193

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-24-2011 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
I'm sure you are exactly right, Hawkeye...about great wines coming from the small places. I know that we have found some great ones like that. For us, though, our time is always so limited that we don't have the time to really participate in that kind of experience. Maybe one day....

IP: 98.232.221.183

Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-24-2011 06:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
One of the best way to do appointments is to select a non appointment sandwiched by two appointments, then if you get hung up at an appointment, you can skip the non one. Now if I would just follow my own advice but sometimes the flow does not allow it.

If you are looking to taste at the smaller, family owned wineries, it is almost impossible without an appointment. I just don't want to do the big box stores. Some of the best wines come from wineries that make a very limited number of varietals.

For instance, we will be tasting at Redmon and they produce a Cab, a Cab blend, and a Chardonnay, and not that many cases of each. Plus, we will be tasting in their home with the owner. It just doesn't get much better than that! Cheers!

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 02-24-2011).]

IP: 68.169.189.111

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-23-2011 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
I hear you on the appointments, wolfman. I talk too much to get tied down to an appointment. -And if you guys think I'm bad here, you should see me after I've been tasting for half a day! ( I just love these little smiley thingys!)
On my next trip, though, I do want to include some appt. only places simply because they are often too small to participate in the Harvest Fair event and I keep hearing such great things about them.

IP: 98.232.221.183

wolfman
Member
posted 02-23-2011 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Dang...I just finished my itinerary and now I have to change it! Actually, Mazzocco was already high on my list. But I will probably pass on Unti this time because I can't be tied down to an appointment. That's just not how I roll!

IP: 174.79.103.79

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-23-2011 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Can I vote????
I pick damambo's "B" and Hawkeye's "A"....more visits and LONGER ones!
Interesting note- I saw my eye doctor today (no pun intended ) and he went to Sonoma in October, visited Harvest Fair, and also went to Mazzocco and to Unti. He could not say enough about those 2 places. Me thinks that they will become top priority sites for my next trip.

IP: 98.232.221.183

Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-23-2011 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
OR . . . instead of trying to taste all of the wineries in one trip, make another trip, then another, then another, etc. On our next trip, LEAVING IN JUST 6 DAYS, I will be removing 20 (new to us) wineries from my bucket list . . . me happy!

Finally, am getting back. I have spent the last few days getting ready to meet with our CPA to pay Uncle Sam and now that is done. Also, I have a presentation to give to the Cobb County, Georgia Daylily Society on Sunday afternoon and have been readying my Power Point presentation, and that is done. Now, all I have to do is get ready for our trip. Me happy!

Cheers!

IP: 68.169.189.111

damombo
Member
posted 02-23-2011 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
good to know about the fruit!
I will definitely go check out the ones you mention. I've been looking at some of the others that are new to me and notice the "jammy" description I'm so fond of - at this rate, we may have to cut back on the time in Napa or just stay a few days longer altogether

IP: 216.80.145.31

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-23-2011 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
damambo, we had the same problem until we stopped consuming more than we were spitting. Then it worked out better....! Also, we started keeping a little cooler in the car with not only water but cheeses and fruit as well. The fruit is a great palate cleanser.
Got 2 new ones for you Jammy Zin lovers...read the info on the Unti and Zichichi websites.

IP: 98.232.221.183

damombo
Member
posted 02-22-2011 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Here is the problem for us if we visit more than about 6 a day - we've bought wine at the last places ( #7 or #8) and then when it arrives, we open the wine and look at each other with puzzled expressions and wonder what in the world we were thinking! Yep, the palate is very worn out after 6 for us. We've actually been discussing going to new places only in the mornings before lunch, and visiting old favorites after lunch or later in the day so that we don't make ill advised purchases
When we first started going to Napa/Sonoma, I think we weren't sure when or if we would get to return, so mad planner that I am, I squeezed as many as possible into a day. (I know we went to St. Supery, but I was so "gone" that I have only the sketchiest of memory of it)
Then we realized that Napa/Sonoma is our favorite spot to visit, so we just go at least twice a year! Or more if it works out... so now I just add new wineries to our list for the next trip and know that we will get to them eventually. Isn't life good?

IP: 98.198.194.134

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-22-2011 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
WEEELLLLLL.....yeah.
Your palate will be pretty tuckered out by the end of the day, but its surely doable.
We've done it...more than once... Its all in the planning.
By the way, as you are a Syrah drinker, you may want to put Montemaggiore on your list.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 02-22-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

wolfman
Member
posted 02-22-2011 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Well, if 8 is reasonable, how about 10?

IP: 174.79.103.79

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 10:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
By the way, 8 is a very doable number if you start early and share flights. Your main choices are not spread out too much, so you should be able to manage that number pretty easily.
As long as you have plenty of water with you ( snacks, too) and have a good breakfast before you set out, you should do fine.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 02-21-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Well Wolfman, you will have to initiate me to Petite Sirahs....my only 2 experiences were horrid.
Teldechi is one on my "got to see" list so share your observations when you get back.
The only Seghesio place that I know is just down the street from Honor Mansion and the skate park- very close to town. I thought that was the winery and tasting room.

IP: 98.232.221.183

wolfman
Member
posted 02-21-2011 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Oh, and one other note, yesilovewine, lately I have been drinking Zins (more jam, less pepper), but I started out drinking Shiraz and Petite Sirah. I noticed quite a few wineries also feature the Petite Sirah, so I am excited. One of my favorite wines in the Petite Sirah varietal is from Santa Barbara County called Consilience.

IP: 99.73.179.189

wolfman
Member
posted 02-21-2011 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
It looks like I will start out just south of Healdsburg and spend the rest of the day on Dry Creek Rd. Heck, I could spend the whole day there!

I was wondering if Seghesio has a tasting room in town AND at there winery? From the map I have it looks as if they do.

I am VERY interested in Teldeschi now!

And I have just increased my goal to 8 wineries a day - I know I can do it!

[This message has been edited by wolfman (edited 02-21-2011).]

IP: 99.73.179.189

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Well Wolfman, I just know what I like and unfortunately I will blab all about it if given the chance! I'm glad that you think I can be of help.
I think you will be happiest if you hang around Healdsburg and Dry Creek if Zins are your focus, rather than trying to squeeze in Sonoma Valley.
There are so many great places up in that area! Don't feel like you have to stick with the suggested stops; like someone said, it's all about what YOU like so if you see someplace that looks neat, stop in.
I was just thinking that if you have time there is a little enclave called "Family Wineries Dry Creek" up on Dry Creek Road where there are quite a few places- Peterson and Kokomo are there I know, and I think that Papapietro Perry is as well. Papa's is primarily known as a Pinot house, but I was reading recently that their Zin is really getting noticed of late. Kokomo has been getting some awards lately and we really liked their wine when we visited.

IP: 98.232.221.183

wolfman
Member
posted 02-21-2011 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks yesilovewine! I was hoping you would appear with your Zin knowledge.

All of the wineries in the Dry Creek area mentioned by both you and Hawkeye really interest me. I was thinking I would hit the wineries around Sonoma on the way back to the hotel, but I might end up spending all my time north.

IP: 174.79.103.79

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Me again...
I looked over your list, which I hadn't noticed before, and see that you have a number of Sonoma Valley wineries you are considering. You definitely COULD make a day of it down there, and get some very good Zins in the mix, but I still think the best examples will be in Dry Creek.
If you were to choose Sonoma Valley, I would take out Cline and replace it with Ledson or Ravenswood. I am not too happy with the "entry level" Ravenswood wines in recent years, but the Jack Londons are pretty good.
I would go there for the "fun" of the place. Sebastiani is also a little "iffy" in the entry level wines, but we had the pleasure of attending a ZAP ( Zinfandel Advocates and Producers)event a couple years ago and they brought some of the limited production wines which were quite good.
Ledson has such a huge array of wines to taste that your brains will scramble, so its a good stop for variety and they generally have a solid product. The tasting room hosts can be somewhat pushy for wine club memberships, but they aren't all like that.
If you should choose them, try the Barbera for an interesting wine. Since you like Zins, I bet you will like Barbera.
Regarding your concern about being able to get wines at home, remember that most wineries offer a wine club so you can join up and get the wines, unless your state is one of those pesky restrictive ones , then its tougher.
I see that you have actually consumed some Screaming Eagle. I am SOOO impressed. I thought that wine was a myth...

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 01:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Wolfman.
I'm jumping into this a little late and so I didn't catch how long you have in Sonoma county, but if your time is limited, I would definitely focus on the places in Dry Creek Valley if you want to focus on Zinfandels.
Dutcher Crossing, Passalaqua, Wilson, Mauritson would be my top choices followed quickly by Stryker and Seghesio. If Zin is a new varietal for you, then you will certainly want to look for the Rockpile AVA as a key point for good, solid varietal expressions. Mauritson's horizontal flight from their Rockpile vineyards is an excellent way to learn about the effect of terroir on the same grape.
I am just learning about this nectar produced by grapes from the Maple Vineyard, and you are not likely to be disappointed when you find a Maple Vineyard designated wine- Dutcher Crossing, Passalaqua, Armida, Bella and a couple others whose names escape me had it in October. Carol Shelton in Santa Rosa also has one.
St. Francis has some wonderful zins and Cabs, but they are down in Sonoma Valley, so going there would not be too convenient if you are trying to concentrate on one area for a one-day jaunt.

IP: 98.232.221.183

Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-20-2011 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
I went back and reread that you will be staying in Santa Rosa, so will revise my suggestions. Coming from the south, I would leave out Hannah and Stryker because of the driving distance and opt for:
Armida - Maple Vineyard Zins plus others, Pinot Noir, Cabs, and several other varietals

Mill Creek - They have some reasonably priced Zins and Cabs plus a Gewurztraminer which I think is pretty rare in this area.

Everett Ridge - Again, they have some reasonably priced wines in an array of varietals.

Then I would go into Healdsburg and then to the Dry Creek Road area after lunch.

Depending how much conversation you have with the host pourers, you should easily meet your 6 wineries per day.

IP: 68.169.189.111

wolfman
Member
posted 02-20-2011 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks again, Hawkeye! I agree with your assessment. I think sharing the tasting is a good idea, mainly because I am driving. But hopefully it will allow us to hit a few more wineries. My goal is to visit about 6 per day.

IP: 99.73.179.189

Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-20-2011 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Wolfman,

Seems like all I do is run my mouth (or is it move my fingers?). You certainly have a lot of wineries on your list to start with. I know that you want to taste at some of those that you purchase at home, but I personally would leave those for another and longer trip (you will undoubtedly be back). Again, your trip is personal so all I can do is suggest what would work for me. It is really difficult to taste at more than 5 or 6 wineries in a day with out becoming blotto. My wife and I share a tasting which is entirely acceptable. Another thing I am looking at is the driving time. Okay, here is what I would do.

I don't remember where you are staying, but if it is in the Napa area and you are driving across to Healdsburg . . .

Hannah - I would just stop here because of the views from the tasting room.

Stryker - We are going to taste here in March, but everyone else on this board recommends them.

Then I would drive into Healdsburd and have lunch and taste at the Williamson tasting room (or you could turn these two around)

Seghesio - Again, I have not tasted here but will do in March. They are supposed to have a Maple Vineyard Zin.

Wilson - Many award winning (JAMMY or fruit forward) Zinfandels.

Mauritson - Again many great Zins. Ask to do a Rockpile Zin flight tasting if they still offer it.

Then, if you have extra time, just "wing it". Cheers and happy tasting!

IP: 68.169.189.111

wolfman
Member
posted 02-20-2011 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
I have made some progress, but my list is still too long. Similar to my list on the Napa forum, my criteria has been to choose wineries I am familiar with, either by having tasted their wine, or seen in the store, and adding others that were recommended by friends, forum posts, and websites. I am also sticking with ones that don't require an appointment. The main difference between here and Napa is that I am much more excited about trying a lot of Zins. And the fact it will be our first visit to the Sonoma side.

So here is my first cut for Sonoma, just for fun. Again, feel free to comment, but I won't be offended if you don't. I am just getting this list out there so I can clear my head a little. I tried to put them in a logical order based on the map. A special thanks to Hawkeye - I am trying to include some of your recommendations.

Cline
Rodney Strong
Armida
Simi
Seghesio
Toad Hollow
Williamson
Wilson
Mauritson
Passalaqua
Dutcher Crossing
Geyser Park
Clos Du Bois
Francis Ford Coppola
Stryker
Hanna
St. Francis
Chateau St. Jean
Sebastiani


IP: 99.73.179.189

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