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  Sonoma County     [all categories]
  Sonoma - Wineries to Visit
  February Trip - Day 1

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Author Topic:   February Trip - Day 1
posted 11-19-2012 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi D'.
I don't know what is worse about the ceilings, the falling gunk or the achy arms and shoulders that last for a week!!

wolfman, my tasting sheet from Audelssa contains mostly Cabs as we were first there for a tour of Cab producers.
However, they also have a Syrah/Viognier blend, A Merlot blend called Summit,and a blend called Tempest.
The Chocolate Cab sauce is pretty amazing as well.
The Winemaker is Erich Bradley and he is also the winemaker for Sojourn, one of Hawkeye's faves...and I believe D' enjoyed them as well.
As I recall, Erich mentioned that he had something new coming up when we visited, but he wasn't saying what and I didn't get on the mailing list so I dont know what it was.
I do know that they moved the facility to a new location last spring.


posted 11-19-2012 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Hi y'all - sorry, I've been scraping popcorn ceilings and painting and ugh... I'm kinda sick of the remodeling phase I seem to be going through (for years, it seems!)

Anyway! We did not make it to Audelssa this time. I had planned to, but we spent a lot longer at GlenLyon (which was fabulous, so no problem!) and by the last day of a visit, we are usually "wined out". So no thoughts on Audelssa from moi.

Ledson is a favorite of ours. As members, we get some pretty special private tastings, so we are spoiled. And we are zin fans, and they have one or two

We were in Sonoma County in February a few years ago, and it was actually over Valentine's/Presidents Day weekend. It didn't seem terribly crowded to us, but I guess that is a relative thing. Living in Houston, not much else feels as crowded as home!


posted 11-19-2012 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
I will put the Bottle Barn on my list.

What kind of wines will I find at Audelssa?


posted 11-19-2012 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
The Bottle Barn the equivalent of the Wine Garage and is in Santa Rosa. It has an excellent reputation. They sponsor the wine sales of the winners at Harvest Fair; that's how I know of them.. I haven't looked at the website in some time, but it used to be helpful for my needs and I have called looking for specific wines and the fellows have always been very helpful.
I understand your position about trying the "other offerings" from the places one knows from home ( so to speak) and can surely relate...its just that your list is SO long for 2 days I was trying to come up with a way to fit more newbies into the mix.
I think that Seghesio and St. Francis will each please you with the higher end things that you won't find at home.
If you can get to Imagery on a Thursday it should be an uncrowded visit.
Audelssa is a really elegant tasting room and could seem stuffy but our experiences there have ben very welcoming and fun.
I think it can go either way on weekend days in Sonoma...just depends on what else is going on in the valley and what tours are in the area.
Happy to help if you have further questions, and of course we are on a first name basis...


posted 11-19-2012 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for all the wonderful info, yesilovewine (I almost referred to you as "yes", but I am not sure if we are on a first name basis yet!)

I understand your point about visiting places that we won't find at home, but one thing I enjoy is tasting the wines they don't sell on a broad retail basis, which of course is usually the lower end wines. For instance, I used to enjoy Sterling wines but never thought of them as anything special. But after we took the tour and sampled their higher end reserve wines, I was very impressed. They may not be considered on the higher end by most, but my point is that it is nice to taste their other offerings. I am really hoping that is true with Seghesio also.

Funny you mentioned Paradise Ridge. I cam e across one of your old posts and had planned on giving it more consideration (I have added two "*"'s below.

I would love to get input from Damombo on Audelssa also. The website does not give me much information. It looks like the tasting room is in downtown Glen Ellen.

I appreciate the heads-up on Ledson, although the large tasting list and beautiful grounds might draw us in for a visit. We'll see if they make the final list.

I was concerned about the crowds at some of the wineries like Imagery too. I will actually be in Glen Ellen on a Thursday afternoon. If we get in early enough, I was hoping to get 1 or 2 tastings in before checking in and getting dinner. Friday and Saturday were set aside for a full day of tastings, and then we were going to spend Sunday in San Francisco. Do you think the crowds are bigger in Sonoma on Saturday or Sunday? I was thinking I could swap those two days. I was thinking back to my last trip which was also in February, two years ago, and the weather was beautiful, but the tasting rooms were not crowded at all.

I am curious about the wines at Matanzas Creek. They seem a little bit out of the way. Not really concerned about the Lavender fields, just made a note of it for distinction, although I bet it would be a nice view.

Is there any place on the Sonoma side similar to the Wine Garage? It doesn't look like I will have time to sneak over to Napa.

Thanks again!


posted 11-18-2012 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Well HALLELUJIA!!! Lets get this started!
The only place that I haven't heard of on your list is Moon Dance, and I'd like to know more as I like the name.
Since you only have 2 days to work with and also have some north-county wineries of interest, I'd suggest that you take anywhere that you can get the wine at home off the list to free you for visiting those places that you're not likely to find at home.
My love for Paradise Ridge is no secret,so I would suggest a high priority placement for them, and for that cozy, have a nice chat and a rousing good time experience, I'd say go to the satellite site in Kenwood, and this is my reasoning-the main facility is a glorious setting, but up there its as much about selling the site as it is the wine whereas in Kenwood, that tiny little shop is Annette's baby and she really makes it all about the wine...where it comes from, what to drink it with, and any sort of wine "gossip" you might want to know she is happy to share. She is an absoloutely wonderful hostess, and she comes from the food biz so she is really good with pairing ideas.
My caution to you about Ledson is that its the most expensive of all the places you've noted- in both overall wine price and tasting fee...well, come to think of it I believe that Audelssa just raised their fee...and though D' will probably disagree with me, I'm not sure that its worth the additional cost. We were members there too, but it just seemed like there got to be this mentality of "money, money, money" and then there were tip jars on the counter in the tasting room ( which I find horribly tacky) and the hard-sell for joining the club and the prices in the deli..., and we just became disenchanted. For sure there is not a larger tasting menu in the area- it was over 70 at last count- and the house is lovely, but if that type of "let's have a chat about wine" experience is important to you, I'm not sure that you can absolutely get it at Ledson. You could get lucky, but I think that treatment for a walk-in tasting would be luck of the draw.
Imagery is likely to be crowded if its a weekend; haven't been to Matanzas Creek but would check timing if the lavender fields are an important aspect...I thought their bloom was closer to May.
That is probably more than you wanted to hear from me...now I'm going to go back in my Hobbithole....


posted 11-18-2012 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
...or day 2...or day 1 and 2...

It's never too early to plan, right? I thought I would use this forum to post sort of an open travel planner. I have a list of wineries that interest me with little notes attached, so if anyone has additional information, positive or negative, that would be great. I browsed nearly two years worth of posts to gather as much information as possible, but I thought it might be fun to get some new conversations started (it's so sad to see yesilovewine talking to herself).

A little background about the trip. I will be in San Jose on business, so we decided to extent our trip a few days. We have been to Sonoma once before (Napa twice), so the plan is to spend two full days in Sonoma. We are not experts, but we used to sell wine so we have a basic knowledge of wine. We enjoy both reds and whites, although I do have a fondness for Zin. For us, it is about the whole experience; good wine at a reasonable price, friendly tasting rooms, wineries with character, etc.

So, at the risk of boring or overwelming everyone, I thought I would put my initial planning list below. And this list was created after at least 20 hours of research!

Since we are staying in Glen Ellen, my thought was to use one day to explore the area, maybe visiting the Kenwood area in the morning and Glen Ellen in the afternoon. But the more I research, I could almost use both days in the area. I guess I will have to see how important some of the others are on my list (Stryker, Dutcher Crossing, Simi, Seghesio, Mazzocco, Wilson, Williamson, Pezzi King). I have arranged the list in travel order, sort of...

1. Ledson *** - good selection, beautiful grounds
2. St. Francis *** - zin, favorite winery
3. St. Annes Crossing ** - zin, Wilson family
4. Paradise Ridge ** - reviews
5. Chateau St. Jean * - familiar with the brand, beautiful grounds
6. Kenwood ** - familiar with brand
7. Deerfield Ranch * - tasting in cave
8. Loxton ** - Syrah, Zin, Port, good reviews
9. Wellington
10. Matanzas Creek * - (not really in order), Lavender fields

Glen Ellen
1. Benzinger ** - familiar with brand, good reviews
2. Audelssa -
3. Arrowood * -
4. Imagery Estate *** - wine label art, wow oui
5. Moon Dance -
6. Valley of the Moon ** -
7. Ravenswood * - familiar with brand, Zin
8. Sebastiani - familiar with brand

The "*" is used as my rating system.

[This message has been edited by wolfman (edited 11-18-2012).]

[This message has been edited by wolfman (edited 11-19-2012).]


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