I'm going to Sonoma at the end of the month, but will only be in the area for the day. If I only get to visit one winery, which one should it be?
Restaurant suggestions are welcome as well.
You should go to Ceja Vineyards in Carneros. It's technically part of Sonoma, but it's right on the Napa border as well. When I went, I got to sit down with Amelia Ceja the president of the winery. Not only is she an incredibly talented cook, but she actually got into the business as a grape picker when she immigrated to the US in the 60's. Soon after she met her future husband in the fields, they bought some land in a "little-known" part of town that was full of goats an pear trees. Little did they know they were planting in some of the best soil in the US.
Needless to say, she's got a lot of stories to tell, they're opening a new tasting room, and the wine is AWESOME.
Sep 16, 2011 at 11:47am
Here's a few suggestions based on what your preferred wine might be:
Sparkling Wine: Iron Horse. Free tours (sometimes given by their head winemaker), inexpensive tasting (we paid for the lower priced flight and got to taste many of the upper tier wines as well for free) and a wonderful friendly staff. The tasting bar is a quaint wooden stand outside (in a good way) with a great view and very friendly staff. Their wine called Joy is not to be missed.
Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir: Foppiano Vineyards. Another small establishement with a tasting room inside a converted train car. You can take a self guided tour of their vineyards and the tasting is free. Some of the best Petite Sirahs (their flagship wines) I've tasted. Another place that just kept pouring wines not on the normal list, super friendly staff.
Pinot Noir: Merry Edwards. Showcasing some of the best Pinots you'll ever taste (and a killer Sauv Blanc as well) this is a great location. If you make a reservation in advance they'll give you the VIP treatment all for free (though they do accept walk ins). Their wines are quite high end but they are not snobby about it at all (though they are quite proud of them). Any true Pinot lover should stop here.
Cab and Zin (plus an ecclectic collection of other wines) Geyser Peak. A big name that feels a lot smaller (in a good way) their basic stuff is not too impressive but their upper tier stuff changed my mind a bit about Alexander Valley Cab (I'm not a fan) and their XY Zin 100 Year vines is a great lesson in what Zinfandel can really do.
If you find yourself near Geyserville I recommend Catelli's, wonderful food and super friendly staff at very good prices.
Sep 22, 2011 at 7:45pm
What part of Sonoma Valley?
If it's Sonoma, the town, I would hit Gundlach Bunchu, and then I would probably just head back to the square and hang out. I'd eat at The Girl and The Fig for dinner, and just wander around the shops and tasting rooms that are around the square.
Sep 30, 2011 at 11:30pm