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  Sonoma County     [all categories]
  Sonoma - Wineries to Visit
  First timer!!!

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Author Topic:   First timer!!!
yesilovewine
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posted 03-14-2011 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Ok Jen, let's see what I can come up with....Rieslings: Chateau St Jean, which is near Kenwood ( northern end of Sonoma Valley)makes one and I am fairly sure that Blackstone does as well. These 2 wineries are across the street from one another.
A similar varietal that we tasted at Harvest Fair and really liked was Albarino- a spanish grape- and it is produced by Mahoney Vineyards whose tasting room is in the Oxbow Market in Napa, as best I can tell. Mahoney also produces a Vermentino (?) that was an award winner in the misc. white category.
For Cabs from Sonoma Valley: Kenwood, Blackstone,Sebastiani, Ledson, St. Francis and Paradise Ridge all make cabs that I know. the last 3 are my favorites of those.
None of these are require an appointment and the tasting fees are $5 or $10 per person for a regular flight; Visa signature is honored at a couple of them.
Food pairing options that might be of interest but WILL require a reservation would be St. Francis, Mayo Reserve and Chateau St. Jean. I don't know exactly what the fees are, but figure around $40 and you will be in good range.
If you decide to visit the northern part of the county- near Healdsburg- then any of the wineries in the Alexander Valley area would have a varitey of wines that would suit you.
That area was the winner in all categories of Best in Show for Harvest Fair last year and there is a broad array of winery styles to choose from up there from very grand like Ferrari-Carano to small and rustic like Hawkes ( awesome Cabs).
Either Sonoma (town) or Healdsburg will have plenty of food options for the food lover.
I would STRONGLY recommend that you stick to one small part of the county to explore if you only have one day to work with. Flitting about the county will only eat up all your tasting time and leave you feeling like you missed an awful lot. If you concentrate on a little piece then you will feel much more satisfied and know what to expect when you return ( cuz you will! ...we all do... ).
So given my understanding of your situation, I think that Sonoma Valley or the Alexander Valley would be your best bet.

IP: 98.232.221.183

jenpro
Junior Member
posted 03-14-2011 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jenpro   Click Here to Email jenpro     Edit/Delete Message
Oh so behind considering I leave on Saturday! Thank you for the posts. My husband and I are most interested in Rieslings...but he is also a Cab fan...we mostly are interested in winery visits and food! The culinary classes might be something good to look up too. So much to do it's really hard to decide!

IP: 99.19.100.81

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-25-2011 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hey Jen,
Saw your Napa reply so I will offer these ideas for you with what I know so far.
If you are going to have some 1/2 days while the hubs is taking care of business, then you might enjoy going over to the town of Sonoma one of those days- its not far and its really a quaint spot. Especially if he isn't the type for just poking about for fun, then it would be fun to go over there and check out some of the neat little stores.
The Adobe BArracks are pretty neat if you like history and the LaHaye Art Center has some neat pieces on display.
If you like books, Chanticleer Books would probably appeal to you- they have some great old stuff, including old lithographs and first editions.
Foodie Heaven in Sonoma- the girl and the fig, Cafe LaHaye, and Harvest Moon Cafe are good starts. Also, Ramekins is a culinary school that offers several hands-on classes. You could possibly take a class over there one day.

Cornerstone is a unique place where they had a bunch of landscape gardeners design individual plots; its sorta like a living gallery. There is a gift shop there called Zippers that is fun.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 02-25-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-25-2011 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Good Morning Jen!
So glad you came over to this board. Let me see if I can help.
The first thing is that "Sonoma" is the name of a town, a valley and a county, so having a little more information about your specific interests will help to make better suggestions.
What kind(s) of wine do you like? Sonoma County is very big and has many different growing areas with about 30 different grape varieties so different parts of the county specialize in different wine varietals. Since you only are planning one day, I want to make suggestions that will appeal to your tastes and try to focus on one area so that you aren't hopping all over the county and using valuable time getting from place to place.
My idea of a "must see" might differ from yours, so what do YOU look for in a "must see"? In other words, is it the scenery, the architecture, the wine, a combo of those? There are a few places that have a real "WOW" factor that might strike your fancy, like Ledson's "Castle" in Sonoma Valley, or Ferrari-Carano's huge estate in Dry Creek, and then there are lots of more rustic places like Martinelli's in Dry Creek, or Alexander Valley Vineyard in Alexander Valley, which also has a wine cave.
Also, and this may be the most important question, do you want to focus your day on tasting wines, or are you more interested in "soaking in" the area...doing a little shopping, maybe, or a short hike and taking it pretty slow?
So, think about those questions a bit and then I can really be of better help.

IP: 98.232.221.183

jenpro
Junior Member
posted 02-25-2011 07:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jenpro   Click Here to Email jenpro     Edit/Delete Message
My first time to CA will be starting very soon (Vacation starts March 19th) and we will be visiting and staying in Napa. However my husband and I would love to spend the day in Sonoma as well! I have heard wonderful things of course and would love to hear ideas on how to spend our day! We actually only have 3 full days in Wine Country since it is a business/pleasure trip but I would love any wineries/restaurants or activities that are a MUST see! Thanks all!

IP: 99.19.100.81

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