Have I mentioned these wine country trips never get old?? I fell in love with the Napa/Sonoma area 13 years ago when I experienced it for the first time on my honeymoon. I didn’t know much about wine at the time but I knew for certain I was love stricken and would be back. We’ve made the trip at least once a year since then.
Day One started with a stop at Imagery Winery in Glen Ellen. We’ve been members at this winery for quite a few years. They are dedicated to crafting rare wines from uncommon varietals and character-rich vineyards. Imagery is not afraid to spotlight interesting varietals that can often be immersed into big blends. Their Tempranillo and Viognier are a couple of my favorites! Enjoy a visit to their beautiful grounds, while savoring the unique wines and appreciating the art collection within the winery.
We then moved on to Valley of the Moon where we relished a three course lunch pairing. The 2017 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc paired nicely with the Grilled Caesar Piadina with Prosciutto. I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked the 2017 Reserve Chardonnay which was paired with the second course, Baked Truffle Brie with Toasted Baguette. Lastly, the 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley was enjoyed with Black Jack BBQ Chicken. What was fun about this luncheon was the chef, Sam, comes out and talks about the food and pairing choices. We really enjoyed chit-chatting with him.
Being ambitious for our first day we then made a stop at Ledson Winery before ending our wine voyage at En Garde, one of my favorite new boutique wineries! Stop by and see them in Kenwood. They make beautifully complex wines. Their Pinot Noirs are amazing! Don’t leave without hearing their story of how their founder and winemaker, Csaba Szakal, got his start in wine making. And, if you are lucky enough you’ll get to meet him. Such a genuine and down to earth guy.
The day didn’t end there. I know, right?! A perfect ending to the night was dinner at Glen Ellen Star. I can’t believe this was the first time I’ve been there, what took me so long? This establishment strives to provide a charming yet cultured dining experience for all foodies out there. Their wood roasted vegetables are amazing! If you get a chance, order one of each, you will not be disappointed. Each seasonal dish is fresh and unique. Next time I’m there, I will be sure to try one of their pizzas. I was sad to pass up but I didn’t have any more room in my stomach!
Day Two was a little more mellow. 😉 Very proud of myself for getting my ass out of bed and getting a run in before we started our day. Even got the hubby to go with me. Our first tasting wasn’t until 11:00 AM so we made a stop at the Glen Ellen Village Market to pick up sandwiches for lunch. If you haven’t tried one of their freshly made sandwiches you are missing out! Make a stop there next time you are in Glen Ellen, they have a nice deli area in the back of the market. Be prepared to wait, it’s a popular joint, always a line but definitely worth it!
Our first tasting of the day was at Walt Wines, located just off the Sonoma Square. This was the highlight of my day! We did the Root 101 tasting, a flight of six different Pinot Noirs, each from a different appellation, starting up in Willamette Valley (OR) going all the way down to the California Central Coast. Small bites from the local eatery, The Girl and the Fig, was part of the experience and paired nicely with the wines. Walt Wines is part of the Hall Wines family, so if you like their wines, you are likely to appreciate Walt!
Cuvaison was our next stop. We enjoyed some great Pinots there as well. There was definitely a focus on Pinot Noirs on this trip. I don’t normally drink a lot of Pinots but I’m really becoming a fan of this varietal. Our last stop of the day was at Domaine Carneros, or what we kiddingly nicknamed Disney Carneros! Man, that place is a machine! A little too busy for my liking. But, we still had a great time enjoying their sparkling wines. It was fun to mix it up with some bubbly.
After all the eating and drinking for the day we somehow found our appetites for dinner. Had an abundant dinner at The Swiss Hotel located in the Sonoma Square. This restaurant serves Italian fare with a boisterous environment. It was packed, so much that is was hard to hear each other talk because it was so loud. We fit right in! 😉
Day Three was our Napa day. Started off with brunch at Brix. The brunch is phenomenal and the views are breathtaking! Make sure to take a walk around their beautiful grounds if you get a chance. Brunch includes anything and everything you can think of, including seasonal bites and an Al Fresco Seafood Bar, every Sunday from 10:00am to 2:30pm. $42.50 for adults and $21.00 for children ages 7-12.
First wine tasting of the day was at Modus Operandi. If you know me by now, I’m a lover of small production wineries so when the winemaker, Jason, reached out about a tasting, I gladly took him up on his offer! Had a wonderful time hearing his story and the leaps of faith he took to follow his passion in wine making. Some of our favorites coming out of there included the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, the red blend, Vicarious, and the 2016 Syrah.
We had some time to kill before heading to Del Dotto so we made a stop into WhiteHall Lane Winery. To be honest with you, I can’t remember all the wines we tried from here but I really liked their Port. I think we’ll open that up on Thanksgiving to go with the pies!
Yikes, this is turning into a novel! Almost done, promise. Del Dotto is always a favorite stop. This trip we visited their St. Helena location. I know I am starting to sound like a broken record but the grounds are beautiful here too! And the cave wine tasting is so much fun, we overindulged for sure. Thank God they feed you at the end. Our guide, can’t remember his name, was so much fun. He somehow put up with all our shenanigans! Some favorites included the 2017 Pinot Noir from Cinghiale Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, the 2017 Family Reserve Pinot Noir and the 2016 Oakville Estate Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Day Four. Sigh. By this time of the trip, I’m sick of wine and ready to detox! But, before jumping on the flight home, we made a quick stop into Jeff Cohn Cellars and Pangloss, both located on the Sonoma Square. Jeff Cohn Cellars has a delicious sparkling rose and I love Pangloss and their fun casual vibe, perfect for a glass or two of wine. Last but certainly not least, we enjoyed lunch at The Girl and the Fig. One of my favorite restaurants in the Sonoma area. Take a look at their menu online, a little of everything for everyone, and make a reservation…they book up fast!
Phew…I think that’s it! Another trip in the books. I guess it’s time to start planning the next one. Where should I go next?? Cheers!
#winetasting #winecountry #napavalley #sonomavalley #vineyard