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  Sonoma - Wineries to Visit
  First Visit

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Author Topic:   First Visit
RC456
Member
posted 06-23-2012 04:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message
No Grenache that I recall.

RC

IP: 99.18.69.239

yesilovewine
Member
posted 06-22-2012 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks RC. That is exactly what I was wondering. So it sounds like really they are more of a Rhone producer...we like Carignane and Mouvedre very much....did they have a Grenache?

IP: 71.65.254.43

RC456
Member
posted 06-22-2012 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message
yes,

Cline is a Zin house. Best of my knowledge, they don't produce a Pinot Noir. You know from my past postings, Zin is not high on my list. (However I did have a Windsor Oaks Zin last Friday w a ribeye and was great. One of my purchases from the May trip.) I believe they have 4 or 5 different Zin offerings....the one that stood out to me last Sept was the Ancient Vine Zin. I did not purchase it, but my brother did....but he & his wife like the bolder reds.

Now what I did purchase in reds from them were: Ancient Vine Carignane and Ancient Vine Mourvedre. Here's why: both have good dark berry taste - not so tanic - with a hint of chocolate. We like to drink a red with sea salt chocolates......I thought when tasting that this would work great together. And it did for us. All 3 bottles of the Carignane are now gone and only have 1 bottle of the Mourvedre left from our purchase last September.

As for Whites.....Their Chard to me was forgetable as a lead bottle. It would fit right in however later in the evening when you switch to the less expensive stuff.....not that I would ever do that to my friends & family I did really like their Oakley Four Whites. Much like a Sauv Blanc was bright and crisp, great for summertime. If I remember correctly the lead fruit in this is the Sauv Blanc grape. Also in their whites was a Viognier. Spicy white. When we tasted it was paired with a havarti cheese.....this was great together. Bought simply because of that pairing and was just as good at home as it was there.

The great thing about Cline wines is the low cost. You will have better wine from somewhere else, but I am not sure you will have as decent a bottle for the cost as you get with Cline. I think that their highest priced bottle is a Zin at $30 - $32. Most of their wines are in the teens, even some around $10.

As for the grounds, you can get a lot of history there. With the Mission Museum located there with the models of the 21 (?) CA missions.....pretty interesting stuff.

Anyway, that is my take on Cline. Hope that is info you were looking for or at least confirmation of your feelings on Cline.

RC

IP: 99.18.69.239

yesilovewine
Member
posted 06-22-2012 07:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
RC- thanks for adding on here. A question for you...re Cline.
Our good friends raved about Cline and even joined the club, but my experience with the wine is only so-so and I really rec' them for the property more than the wine.
Since you were not excited about their PN or Chard, can you comment on what the attraction there may be in terms of wine? Our friends are zin lovers, and usually go for the bolder, full bodied wines like we do, but I just don't see that in Cline.
Any thoughts?
Also, if you think the Sbragia view is good, I think you may be really impressed with the view at Everett Ridge.

IP: 71.65.254.43

RC456
Member
posted 06-22-2012 06:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message
Double,

Hi and welcome!

Look down a few subject lines and you will find my latest trip report of our visit to Sonoma in May. Could have some info in there to also assist.

As for the wineries: Lynmar, Arista, Russian River, & Matrix had my favorite Pinot Noirs from this trip. Lynmar also had an excellent Chard.

Also concerning Cline: I was there last September and had an extensive visit and tasting. Based on you looking for PN & Chard, you may want to X them off. Just my opinion. But if you go there, just across the street is Jacuzzi (their sister winery). Not a fan of their wines, but does have the Olive Press store inside to the right. If you like olive oils and such, a good place to stop into and taste/shop.

As for dinners: Have eaten at girl and fig.....very good choice. Swiss Hotel is a good choice. My favorite from the May trip was The Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. I will always go back here for a dinner on all future visits to Sonoma County. Pricey, but was worth it to us. Something else we will do on our next visit will be to stop off at the Dry Creek General Store to pick picnic lunch and then keep north up Dry Creek Road to Sbragia winery and have lunch out on the balcony overlooking the Dry Creek Valley. Best views in the county!

Hope you have a great time!

RC

IP: 74.142.103.194

doubled15
Junior Member
posted 06-21-2012 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doubled15     Edit/Delete Message
This stuff all looks great! Thanks very much for both of your input.

IP: 65.122.15.169

yesilovewine
Member
posted 06-21-2012 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks carjeff for piping in...you are much better at itinerary planning than I!

IP: 71.65.254.43

carjeff
Member
posted 06-21-2012 07:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carjeff   Click Here to Email carjeff     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Doubled,

yesilovewine has given you some great advice already.
Since you are Pinot and Chardonnay fans, you might want to think about spending time in Carneros also. And as yesilovewine said, Russian River Valley is a must.

A rough itinerary might look something like this:

Day 1 Sonoma - Carneros
Etude, Bouchaine, Acacia, Artesa, Cuvaison - don't have much experience with visiting these, but all have a great reputation. Nicholson Ranch is another I have enjoyed in the past.

Day 2 Sonoma - Sonoma Valley
Benziger - definitely a great tram tour, and their reserve room wines are excellent
Landmark - a must if you like Chardonnay - several excellent ones

Kunde - an excellent mountain top tour. They drive you about 15 mins up to the top of their property - gorgeous views of the entire valley, where they have a deck for tasting. A wide selection of good wines.

Day 3 Santa Rosa - Russian River Valley

Rochioli - nice views and famous for Chard and Pinot (you may only taste 1 or wines)

Merry Edwards - several excellent Pinots, but tasting in a conference room, rather than a tasting room.

Lynmar - gorgeous views and excellent Chard and Pinot.

Mueller - great small producer of Chard and Pinot.


Day 4 - Santa Rosa
Choose between Dry Creek, Alexander Valley, etc

Chalk Hill - a gorgeous estate tour, and excellent Chard.


Dining - What type of food do you enjoy?
We have dined at:
Girl and the Fig - we are not French food eaters, so thought this was just ok

Swiss Hotel - very good casual Italian

Della Santinas - great Italian

Carneros Bistro (at Lodge at Sonoma) - great for breakfast or dinner, but pricey.

I would recommend checking the menus of each before making reservations to make sure there are entrees that you are interested in

IP: 155.178.4.10

yesilovewine
Member
posted 06-20-2012 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Oh good...glad that you think its on target. Since its your first time out, it may be tempting to try to "do it all", but keep yourselves in check and maybe do 3-5 places a day, depending on their proximity to each other and how much you are enjoying the scenic part of your adventure. It would be easy to do this during your Sonoma based days since there are so many tasting rooms right near the Plaza now- hit two or three out and about and then head back to the Plaza for a couple stops before dinner.
When you are based from Santa Rosa you are further from actual wineries and tasting rooms so keep that in mind when you plan. For working on our visits to "north county" as I think of it, I like to print the maps from wineroad.com so that I keep the distance from place to place in perspective. Things get much more spread out once you get out of the Sonoma Valley and its easy to hopscotch all over if you don't have a map handy as you set your ideas in place.
Since Pinot and Chard are y'alls favorites spending time in the lower Russian River area aka Green Valley would be a good plan for one day. Those are my 2 weakest wines so I hesitate to recommend based on that, but we do like Harvest Moon a lot and Sunce is still on our radar. DeLoach is a nice place with good picnic space and if you call ahead they will prepare a picnic for you.
then of course you will want to spend some time in and around Healdsburg, certainly. That could be a plan for the final day. There are a lot of really great wineries in the North County so its hard to pick where to suggest, but I can say that we always enjoy visiting Seghesio,Dutcher Crossing, Armida and Stryker was a favorite for several years. Other spots we have enjoyed are Everett Ridge, Matrix and Mazzocco. I also like to send people to Bill Frick but that's only good if you like the Rhone wines.
Now that I have gone on and on, hope you aren't more confused. Hopefully some of the usual folks will come on and make their suggestions too. Remember, this is all just one person's ideas, and if our palates don't line up then these may not suit you.
Don't hesitate to ask your servers where THEY would recommend, by the way. After pouring for you and assessing your palate they will be able to suggest according to your taste.

IP: 71.65.254.43

doubled15
Junior Member
posted 06-20-2012 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doubled15     Edit/Delete Message
These sounds like great suggestions. I think we'll go ahead and try to do most of that stuff. Thanks so much!

IP: 67.152.151.15

yesilovewine
Member
posted 06-20-2012 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Alrighty then! Have I got some ideas for YOU! ( (Sorry...re-habing an injury and VERY stir crazy...will try to stay focused)

When you are in Sonoma, Roessler will be an excellent Pinot spot. Also see if you can get an appointment with Sojourn, also near the Plaza. Both are Pinot houses. Keeping you right at Sonoma plaza, Hawkes has a tasting room in town now- very nice attendant when we were there and the wine is very good. Also, we enjoy going to Charles Creek as they offer a very interesting chocolate infused port that is unusual and a fun gift, as well as a very good red blend called Muy Bonito. A new facility in the area is Two Amigos, which is a secondary effort by our friend Squire Fridell whose first label is GlenLyon with his wife Suzy. They pour both at the tasting room and I recommend the Hog Wilde Chard highly.
Haywood has also opened a tasting room in Sonoma, but I don't know exactly where. Its worth finding, I promise.
For a rockin' good time, head to Ravenswood which is only a short drive from town. They have a very irreverent and fun attitude there and the higher level wines were pretty good at our last visit. Haven't been for several years, to be honest, but that is more a function of finding so many new wines than our experience with them.
In Sonoma Valley, aside from the places you originally mentioned, I think you may enjoy Audelssa, Imagery and BR Cohn. Erich Bradley is the winemaker at Audelssa and at Sojourn, so you might enjoy exploring his wines from different venues- not being big Pinot fans we haven't scheduled with Sojourn, but our Audelssa experience is making us reconsider that decision. Cohn is also known for their olive oil, so you get a "twofer" there. Imagery has an array of wines that are from unusual grapes and aside from the interesting wine, the label art is very fun to see.
If you choose 3 or 4 spots away from town each day and then hit one or 2 at the Plaza when you return for the each evening, you should feel like you got a good overview of the wines from Sonoma Valley.
I've probably gone on too long with the first part, I'll close here and start anew with ideas for the other days based from Santa Rosa.

IP: 71.65.254.43

doubled15
Junior Member
posted 06-20-2012 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doubled15     Edit/Delete Message
We'll be driving up from San Francisco and staying in Sonoma for 2 days before moving north to Santa Rosa for another 2 days then migrating back to San Francisco.

I think we'll want to do a mix of tours and just tastings. I've heard that Benziger has a very good tour which we're planning on doing. Any other tours after that, we're certainly open to doing if you think it's worthwhile.

I'm personally a fan of Pinot Noir and my girlfriend is a huge fan of Chardonnay's, but really we're not too picky

IP: 199.204.56.12

yesilovewine
Member
posted 06-20-2012 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Howdy Doubled and welcome to the boards. We are glad you chose to join us!
My first question would be to ask about the length of your visit. Then to know if your entire stay will be in the town of Sonoma or are you moving elsewhere.
To answer your question, yes, you could do all of these wineries in a single day so long as you start out early. Landmark and Chateau St.J will be the furthest out, past Kenwood, then Benzinger which is near Glen Ellen. That leaves Roessler which is right off the Plaza, less than a block, and Cline which is really closer to the Raceway and somewhat off the track from the rest. You might give serious consideration to stopping at Cline as you enter the region, on the way to your lodging...it is right on the way- assuming your arrival is from SFO via hwy 37, of course.
Everyone raves about the girl and fig, so its surely popular! Haven't been there myself. LaSallette was a potential for our last visit but we didn't get there- went to Saddles instead.
If you wouldn't mind giving a little more information about the trip- the amount of time and when would help alot- and the wines you are most interested in learning about ( hard to tell from the places you mention...pretty varied in focus) it would help us to make specific winery suggestions.
Also, did you want to take tours or have private tastings? Those require more time than a "standard" drop in tasting and would affect the way we answer.
If I haven't scared you off with MY questions, looking forward to your response.
Cheers!

IP: 71.65.254.43

ssala
Member
posted 06-20-2012 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ssala   Click Here to Email ssala     Edit/Delete Message
We just made our first foray into Sonoma after several trips to Napa. We are almost exclusively red wine drinkers, but will enjoy almost anything within the reds, although zin seems to be our favorite. We cruised through the Alexander Valley visiting Hana, Sausal, Hawkes, and Stryker Sonoma. Enjoyed all of the wines, but the Sausal zins were some of my favorites. As we were staying in Healdsburg, Seghesio was a "must see" as we have been enjoying their zins for years. No disappointment there. The Cortina zin was heavenly. Also in town, Williamson was a delight and had very simple food pairings. Next time through we plan to explore Dry Creek Valley.
Have fun, Scott

IP: 75.70.79.148

doubled15
Junior Member
posted 06-19-2012 07:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doubled15     Edit/Delete Message
Hey All -

I'm going on my first visit to Sonoma and am looking for dining and winery suggestions. We're staying in Sonoma and looking to visit wineries in that area before moving north.

Places I have are Roesller, Cline, Benziger, and Landmark. Chateau St jean was also suggested to us. Do any of you have thoughts on any of these places? Would these all be do-able in a day or should I pick and choose 3 of them?

For food, I've heard good things about the girl and the fig but was also looking at LaSallette for dinner. Do you have any suggestions for dinner and/or brunch?

Thanks!

IP: 67.152.151.15

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