I am finally catching up on compiliing my notes and reviews from this whole year. A good friend of mine asked me, as he picked me up on New Year's Eve from the airport as I was returning from Napa, if I wanted to go to Sonoma in February. He was planning to kidnap his girlfriend (another good friend of mine) for her birthday over Valentine's weekend and propose while there. Being the well connected wine guy and a close friend, I was asked to go photo-document.
I hope if you're making a trip to Sonoma, you'll look up some of these great, lesser known wineries. They're producing great wines and offer a much smaller scale and personalized tasting experience, but mostly by appointment.
Ou first stop was Freeman. When working for the distrobutor here, this is one winery we repped. They're located in Sebastopol and make top qulity pinot noir and chardonnay. We tasted their
Another winery I repped for, also in Sebastopol, is Halleck. Another small producer of outstanding pinot noir and more. We tasted with Ross Halleck at his home and enjoyed some locally made cheeses, bread and some frivolity with their the dog, Blaze (who's since passed away sadly). We had their
We then ventured to Kunde in Sonoma. We balanced our "geek" winery tastings with some mainstream "along the highway" places we'd been interested in checking out. At Kunde we tasted
Zinfandel Port 2001 This was my favorite and I am not generally a "port guy". Took a bottle of this home.
Then in downtown Sonoma, we were out to get food, but id one more tasting at the Adobe Road tasting room. I have had many of these wines before and enjoyed them all. Michael Scorsone the winemaker was there and signed my library cab I got. Many great wines here. We tasted
The next day was "proposal day" and we began with a tour and tasting at Ferrari-Carano. The soon to be fianceé and I had visited here in 2009 and loved the gardens, so he wanted to propose to her here. Alas, so much was going on, I did not get notes, but I believe they were consistent with my notes from the 2009 trip. Some great wines here too and it's a simply stunning property.
After FC, we went to meet with Jann Forth of Forth Vineyards, another winery I repped for. We drove through the hills to their farm an had a great tasting on their patio, overlooking the vineyards with the company of chickens, sheep, and the dogs. I wasn't able to jot notes, but all their wines are fabulous. We tasted their 2009 Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 DCV Cabernet Sauvignon, a Syrah and 2007 Histoire Cabernet Sauvignon. This with lunch and a celebratory bottle of Champagne Tarlant Brut Tradition.
Given the late time in the afternoon we finished with Jann, we ran over to Coppola in Geyserville as they're open later. At Coppola, we ventured through the movie museum and tasted their
Director's Cut Zinfandel 2008 Left with a bottle of this, tasty!
Archimedes 2006 and this!
We ate dinner this evening at Zazu. Great food!! It's small and busy, but worth the wait.
Day 3, we ventured to B.R. Cohn, having tasted some of their wines before. We were also interested in the olive oils the create there. It's a cool property filled with music memorabilia as Bruce Cohn managed the Doobie Brothers. Still does I believe. Some great wines as well! We tasted their
Merlot 2007 I took one, delicious!
Olive Hill Estate Malbec 2008 Another favorite
Following B.R. Cohn, we had arranged a tour and tasting at Benziger. We had visited before in 2009, but hadn't taken the tour. I highly recommend it if you can. A tractor pulls you up on the hill where you get a spectacular view of the property and lots of info on their biodynamic and sustainable farming practices. I am trying to post some photos, but it's not letting me. Perhaps I'll just link to the whole album.
Benziger tasted us on their
At this point, we needed food and a wine break, meaning beer! We stopped in at the Jack London Saloon and had some good food and a pitcher of, I believe Anchore Steam. Delicious. Then we were refreshed and ventured to our next scheduled tasting in Kenwood, at Landmark. I highly recommend Landmark for their chardonnay! We tasted the
Then upon a couple of "what else is fun in the area" recommendations, we went to Kaz. A hip, casual little tasting "shed" with classic rock playing and a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Interesting wines. Good flavors and I did bring back a cab franc that I loved. Here, we tasted Kaz's
We closed out our day with a lovely dinner at Ca'Bianca. An old Victorian home turned into this charming Italian restaurant.
The next day, we were heading home, but stopped in at Malm Cellars to see Brendan Malm, who's completed his new tasting room in an industrial park in Healdsburg. Brendan crafts some great chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah. He's also got some zin in barrel that we've toyed with blending with syrah so keep an eye out for what he comes up with! We barrel tasted about everything in the barrel, even some that weren't ready, but it's always fascinating to see the progression. If you're in the area, check out Malm Cellars! Great wines.
We went with Brendan to grab some lunch, then visited J Vineyards & Winery to end our journey with some bubbles. Brendan tasted with us, after grabbing some wine shippers, as we'd now amassed three cases of wine to bring back. Word to the wise, your first TWO bags fly free on Southwest. We each had one checked bag, so we each got to take a case of wine home FREE!
J has a modern, very cool tasting room. Tasty juice. We tasted the
Sonoma Trip Feb 2011
- Reply by dmcker, Sep 6, 2011.
Looks like an intense few days. Can we assume the proposal was accepted?
Have eaten at Zazu a few times and not been disappointed. London for beers, too. So what were your favorite wines of the trip, Vegas?