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  Sonoma County     [all categories]
  Sonoma - Wineries to Visit
  Top 7 "Must" Wineries in Sonoma

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Author Topic:   Top 7 "Must" Wineries in Sonoma
posted 09-19-2011 05:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
I think that must be old information on the website I saw, then. Guess I'd better quit telling people about them, huh??
We saw the cages when we went, and it was in winter so I just assumed that they were elsewhere for the season....guess I got bitten by the old "ass-u-me" adage


posted 09-14-2011 04:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message

We had the full bore behind the scenes tour & attention.....never saw a bird! Barbara never mentioned anything about a collection either.


posted 09-14-2011 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message

Yes, was short and travel companions sort of caused us not to visit all the places I had targeted.....but, you know what? Still had a great time! Would not have changed a thing! And, you are also right.....already have scheduled next Sept trip (just the wife & I this time and 5 full days in wine country). Just got our shipment from Cline today (yea!)


posted 09-12-2011 06:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hey RC-
I have a question for you...since you went to Cline....do they still have a bird collection there? I have read that they do but haven't encountered anyone who's seen it and we didn't see birds, just empty cages when we went 3 years ago.


posted 09-11-2011 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Well it was short, but sweet - and a case of good stuff followed you home! So a successful visit
And now you can start planning the next trip!!


posted 09-11-2011 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks everyone for your participation and suggestions. I am afraid that we didn't get to very many that I had on my list nor the ones that each of you supplied. Long story, but we had another couple traveling with us on this trip.....but, on the one planned for next spring, we will be sure to hit many of the places suggested.

Keep in mind, the wife & I are mainly white or Pinot Noir. Not much of a palate for the heavier reds.

As for the Sonoma County wineries we visited this trip:

Behind the scenes tour of the property and full tasting afterwards. Thought it was neat that they brought clusters of grapes from that mornings harvest for us to eat while going through the tasting.
On to their wines:
2010 Oakley four Whites: Similar to a Sauv Blanc in taste & character. Blend of Palomino, Sauv Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, & Viognier. We both thought very good. Has the lemon hints as most Sauv Blancs.
2010 Sonoma Coast Viognier: Never had this varietal before. However, was very nice surprise. A little heavier on the palate than a Sauv Blanc, and would stand up better to spicier seafood entrees.
2009 Ancient Vines Carignane: Very good red find for us. Medium body, with slight peppery finish.
2010 Ancient Vines Mourvedre: Really interesting red. If you enjoy eating dark chocolate with wine, then you should try this. You almost don't need the chocolate ....just drink the wine.
2010 Zinfandel & their 2009 Ancient Vines Zinfandel also received good marks from the wife & I even though we generally do not lean toward a Zin.
Sent back home a case mix of 4 each of the above whites & 2 each of the Carignane & Mourvedre. So, 4 bottles of Red (other than a PN) made it in the case, which a first for us!

Jacuzzi: across the street from Cline.
Enjoyed the visit, the grounds, the Olive Press olive oil store, Glenda our host & lead on the tasting, but not the wines. Nothing to our liking.

Believe it or not, that was it in Sonoma on this trip. The wife & I did stop in at Ledson, no tasting, just to poke around for next spring and try a little from the deli.



posted 08-27-2011 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hey RC. Don't know if you will see this in time, but I've been without access for a while .
Our top 7 would be Audelssa- exceptional quality across the board and very friendly tasting staff; St. Francis- we have always had great experiences there and we enjoy the wide breadth of offerings that they have; Dutcher Crossing- Maple Zin, 'nuff said there ; Armida- again, Maple Zin, but also the incredibly friendly staff and accomodating manner of the way they do business; Wilson- we haven't missed visiting them since we started going to Sonoma and I think its because across the board the wine quality is solid and because even though they are always crowded they work hard at making you feel welcomed and appreciated; Frick- I just loved Bill Frick and I think its because his love of Rhone grapes and his mastery of their production along with his charismatic treatment of us in the tasting room; Harvest Moon- they are really great folks and make some really good zinfandels.
You know, the funny thing is that on another day i might answer differently; we just have too many favorites to stick to only 7...!
Hope its a great trip-

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 08-27-2011).]


Junior Member
posted 08-24-2011 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RogerB     Edit/Delete Message
Hi again RC,

Just noticed you are going to Napa as well.

We typically hang in Sonoma, but we have a few 'must visits' in Napa that we usually hit in a day...

Rombauer - careful or you'll miss the turn - awesome location and amazing wines - we've been enjoying Rombauer for almost 20 years! Great chard and my all-time favorite Merlot!

Shramsberg - The champagne caves here are way cool and totally worth a visit.

Cuvaison - although north, these guys own a lot of vineyards in the southern Carneros region - nothing like a good Carneros chard!!

Mumm - although a large operation, their white wines and spraklings are quite good, and their tasting room has a nice view overlooking the vineyards....again, not a quaint tasting room - sit-down style with a wait-person - but definitely enjoyable.


Junior Member
posted 08-24-2011 03:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RogerB     Edit/Delete Message
OK RC, Here are my (and my wife's Top 7)...let me know if you visit any of them and if you like them...

Alexander Valley:

Hanna - very good wines of all varietals...nice tasting room with nice views...have always had a good experience....joined the wine club last year.

Robert Young - only for the big bold red drinker! Small tasting room but great reds.

Dry Creek Valley:

Sbragia - last tasting room before you get to Lake Sonoma - amazing views and great wines! We always take a few chardonnays and sauv blancs with us....as well as relaxing with a glass on their patio before we leave enjoying the views.

Sonoma Valley:

St Francis - Another one of our favorite tasting rooms - VERY nice and always great people...we joined this wine club as well! Consistently nice wines of all varietals.

Russian River Valley:

J Vineyards - Very nice tasting room and good wines, with a nice sparkling wine as well.

Iron Horse - Wayyyyy off the beaten path but wayyyyy worth the drive to get there! More amazing views (can you tell we like to get away and enjoy the views?) and some very nice chardonnays and a variety of nice sparkling wines as well. Ordered some for our son's wedding even. This tasting room is outdoors and awesome.

J Rochioli - some of the best wines we've ever tasted in Sonoma! Not for the budget wine drinker, but worth every cent.

Hope that helps. Enjoy, and let us know your Top 7 when you return!! We're always looking for new experiences!


posted 08-05-2011 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
That is about as good as I can do.



posted 08-05-2011 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Hi RC - I'll give it a try for the Sonoma side of things...

Up in Alexander Valley, Hanna on Rte 128 has some nice wines but some even nicer views. The tasting room is situated in a lovely spot.

Over in Geyserville is Francis Ford Coppola - a must see at least once. There is a great restaurant there for lunch (or dinner) called Rustic. We are fans of the Director's Cut wines and the FC Reserves , but not necessarily the others, although we do enjoy the Archimedes.

In Healdsburg, Williamson Winery is a fun, energetic tasting room with complimentary tastings that are offered with small food pairings. Seghesio is in Healdsburg, too, and we love their wines.

In the Dry Creek area, we enjoyed a tasting at Passalacqua Winery. The zins were delicious and the folks there were very friendly and warm. About 5 miles north is Dutcher Crossing - went there for the first time last April and liked them so much that we joined their club (even though we had vowed not to join any new clubs!)

Farther south, Ledson is one of our favorites. Besides the remarkable building, the wines are excellent. And they have so many that I think you'd be able to find a few that were to your palate, too. If you can arrange a private tasting with Kelsey, he is a marvelous host.

A new favorite is Deerfield Ranch, not too far from Ledson. Their tasting is in a cave which you reach by wandering through their maze of caves (don't worry, there are signs pointing the way. We enjoyed their wines so much that, once again, that No New Clubs vow was ignored...

There ya go! That is my current list for you, but of course, that list could change depending on what we open next


posted 07-31-2011 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message
Hello all,

We are finally in the days leading up to our annual visit. Heading west on Aug 25th....will be in Sonoma / Napa the 29th - 2nd.

So, here is the question: If you could only visit 7 wineries on YOUR next trip, what would they be? This is YOUR top 7 based on all things that take you back (or make you want to go back) to these wineries. Wines, scenery, tasting room, people, experience, whatever.

Feel free to expand on why you go back to each or just list your Top 7.

I will post same on the Napa side.

Thanks for your input.


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