Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Flamefighter

Sonoma Recommendations

Posted by Flamefighter, Apr 3, 2011.

We will be visiting Sonoma County in a few weeks for a little R&R and I wanted to get some ideas of wineries to visit.  This is our first visit to Sonoma so we are a blank slate and have to rely on the typical visitor’s books or our guide book, which is pretty old.  So any recommendations are appreciated, regardless of whether they are big or small wineries.  

Replies

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Reply by outthere, Apr 3, 2011.

What kind of wine do you like? What part of Sonoma County will you be in? Where are you staying? What type of transportation will you have? How long? Lots of ideas but need some specifics.

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 4, 2011.

Dry creek is one of my fav areas... russian river as well. 

Healdsburg area is a good place to stay, and venture out from....   Yes, as outthere says, what types of wines do you like?  what to do want to try?  Lots of talent up that way... one of my fav areas..

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Reply by radrocker, Apr 4, 2011.

Snooth built a trip planner for Sonoma I saw advertised on their site.

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Apr 6, 2011.

Healdsburg is a great area for lots of options.  It rather depends on what varietals you most enjoy, as Russian River has great pinot noir and some great chardonnay.  Dry Creek Valley has some fun, rustic cabs and zins, Alexander Valley has great zin and cab, etc.  What interests you and where do you plan to stay and what would you like to focus on?

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 6, 2011.

radrocker, that wasn't really Snooth. It's actually Visa, depending on how you look at it... ;-(

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Reply by outthere, Apr 6, 2011.

The only issue I have with that planner is that it is only Visa Signature advertisers. There are soooo many left off the list it isn't fair to the person planning a trip. Maybe if Flamefighter gets back with some specifics we can draw up a great itinerary for him.

Weather has been spectacular this week out here in SoCo. All the vines are sprouting, all the trees are busting out leaves, the grasses are still green... just a gorgeous and pictuesque time of year in wine country.

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Reply by VitaVinifera, Apr 7, 2011.

One of the things about Sonoma and RRV over Napa is that the tasting rooms are more open with cards for free tastings and two-for-one tastings, so make sure you get those from whereever you are staying, as it can save you some money (which, if you're like me and my wife, you will just spend on wine bottles anyway).

I would suggest if you have never been to Sonoma, do the road with all the wineries that starts up near Ledson (which is a great experience) and ends down at the Square at Sonoma, which has tasting rooms and resturants along with some boutique shops and a couple of great chocolatiers. 

In RRV, some of our favorites are Martinelli, Gary Farrell, Paradise Ridge and Truett-Hurst. 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 7, 2011.

Go look at the threads on Napa for first timers, where things always digress into Napa v. Sonoma.  (Blame me for some of it, at least.) Also, there are other threads on Sonoma, inlcuding feedback from the OPs on the recos given by Snoothers.  Way more info there than in the trip planner, and it's commercial free.  Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys are the place to go.  For an overview of the DCV business, Unti is great, as they make wine and are pioneers in the area for their Rhone varietals.  They sell grapes to lots of other folks and are really a hub for information.  Zins in DCV: Talty, Mauritson (my faves), Bella, Teldeschi (if they are pouring--his grapes are in other folks' high end Zins, so he bottles a modest amount under the family name); Syrah from McLaren available at Talty, Rhones of all kinds at Preston (and olive oil! and bread!); Amphora has a cab franc that I should have bought last time I was up that way. RRV is pinot land, and I will leave those recs to others.  One correction (I think) to the previous post by VitaVinifera:  I am pretty sure Truett and Hirst is in DCV--I like them, too, and have a case of theirs in my basement, so I feel pretty confident.

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 8, 2011.

Don't buy into the common thought that dry creek is for reds only... a few whites are pretty great there!  One that stands out is Mauritson Family's sauv blanc.  it is not their finest wine, but one of my fav sauv blancs.  If you are a sauv blanc fan, you will find a representation from dry creek.

Chardonnay?? go to Russian River... 

Pinots?  try them from both areas... I have had ones I've loved and hated from both areas.  Really depends on where the grapes are sourced from (TONS of microclimates in CA) and winemaker skill.

 

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 8, 2011.

Actually one of the best white wines I have ever had (try it with oysters) is M. Preston Grape Wine, from Preston.  Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier and just luscious. So don't by any means rule out whites in DCV.  Not sure, but I think Clay Mauritson sources those SB grapes from Alexander Valley--but it's a good wine, albeit not in a category with their superlative reds. Everything I have had that Mauritson makes is good, but I can't buy em all...

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Reply by Flamefighter, Apr 9, 2011.

Thanks everyone, sorry about not getting back sooner; it has been a crazy busy at work.  We will be staying in the Healdsburg area as it looks to be somewhat centrally located and there are a lot of wineries nearby.

As for wines we like - most!  We especially like full reds (Zin's, Cab, PS) and my wife likes Chards and I like Sauvignon Blanc, but we will try anything new just to try it.

Perhaps it would be easier if you offered a "must visit" winery.  That way we would be sure to visit some of the very best Sonoma has to offer.

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Reply by outthere, Apr 9, 2011.

From Healdsburg your options abound. In Healdsburg proper visit Holdredge Wines (ignore the browser warning. The link is safe) for exceptional SVD Pinot Noirs. Old world style wines from a winemaker who is as fun to meet as his wines are to drink. Tasting room is only open weekends as they have day jobs away from the winery. One of those great boutique finds that you will be talking about for years to come.

Also in town is Seghesio Family Vineyards who make great SVD Zins, Petite Sirahs and much much more.

Just north in Geyserville you can try some real tasty Chards and Sauvignon Blancs at Trione Winery.

Gotta run, I'll post more later.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 10, 2011.

It may not be an attack site, outthere, but Firefox is undoubtedly not displaying the Holdredge page correctly. Guess I finally will have to get around to installing Chrome....

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Reply by outthere, Apr 10, 2011.

Google doesn't like them that's for sure. Haven't had any issue personally. Here is a safer link through the Sonoma County Wine Road site.

From the Holdredge site:

You can save this image and open on your desktop for a better view.

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Reply by otter37, Apr 10, 2011.

These two places were great:

http://www.papapietro-perry.com/visit-us/

http://www.castlevineyards.com/

Have fun.

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Reply by outthere, Apr 10, 2011.

"http://www.papapietro-perry.com/visit-us/"

 

+1 awesome wines.

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 11, 2011.
Edited Apr 11, 2011

http://www.mauritsonwines.com/  don't miss..  REALLY...don't miss...

I also really like Pride Mountain.. just tasted them  again at Rhone rangers, and have to say, they took best at show for me!  But they are in the spring mountain area of napa... just a slight bit of drive, but a definite "don't miss"!!!!!  www.pridewines.com  Look at webpage and call first, cause it looks like they need advanced notice..  They are really nice people, and amazing wine...

Gracianna winery in Sonoma makes amazing pinot noir and chardonnay... I think they are in the process of opening a tasting room. I would call them to see where you can taste their wines....their number is here at the website:  www.gracianna.net

Happy hunting!

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 12, 2011.

Okay, this is worth signing in for (I've been reading a while without posting):  if you like zin and PS, go to Mauritson.  The Rockpile Zins (single BLOCK designates) and the petite sirah are dynamite.  Here's a link: http://mauritsonwines.com/

I like all these others, but Muaritson is my favorite Zin and a knockout PS.  And the cab is cellar-worthy too.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 12, 2011.

Mauritson (that's the spelling...) also makes a SB that NG recommends highly.  So that has to be a clincher.

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Reply by Flamefighter, Apr 23, 2011.

Hello all and thanks for all of your recommendations.  We had a great trip - weather, travel and wine wise. 

Since this was the first trip we moved around to several areas, Alexander Valley, Russian River, and Sonoma Valley just so we could get to know the area and try wines from different AVA’s.

We pretty much stayed with the larger and better known labels but we did try some small vintners and really enjoyed their wines (Ty Caton & Muscardini to name two of our favorite small vintners).  We were fortunate to be befriended by a friendly aspiring wine sommelier who not only treated us to an excellent flight of Cabs at Buna Vista but directed us to a number of lesser known wineries in Sonoma Valley and gave us some ideas for the next time we are in the northern part of Sonoma.

Again, thanks to all for suggestions and happy wine drinking to all!

 


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