Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Few More Sonoma Recommendations

While my first post was about the wineries I saw that compared to New Zealand style wine & wine making processes, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to add a part two to this piece and share a few wineries I really enjoyed on my visit to Sonoma & Healdsburg.

The first stop of my trip (after some serious plane delays!) was Gloria Ferrer. Although I didn't have a lot of time here, I was lucky enough to sample a few things (unless on a tour, they only have glass pours available, but at $5-$10 a glass, a stop here is certainly worth it!). They have a gorgeous property perched atop a hill, just outside downtown Sonoma, with sweeping views of the vineyards. I would recommend the guided tour (daily at 11am, 1pm or 3pm) which is $10 per person and includes two tastes. Their staff is very welcoming and knowledgeable, really enhancing the experience. But the best part is their bubbly! They have a bubbly for EVERYONE. Seriously. I was really impressed with the incredible variety of flavors that were brought out with different bottles. I definitely had my favorite though, the 2000 Carneros Cuvée. It was absolutely incredible..creamy, smooth, and my favorite way to describe it "eminently delicious." If you are bubbly fan, this one is worth the investment!

Another winery I visited is Mauritson Wines. WOW! This place is wonderful. Very small, quaint, family owned with some incredible wines and a great outdoor grass/patio area, perfect for relaxing on a summer day with a glass of wine, or even for a picnic. I must admit, their Zin was one of my favorite wines of the entire trip (I even bought a bottle to bring back to San Francisco to give to the friends I stayed with in the city as a thank you...luckily they opened it while I was there, but it made me wish I'd bought a bottle to bring home). The 2010 Dry Creek Zinfandel from Mauritson was the winner. Mauritson is known for their zins and I can see why. 

A few others wineries I visited worth quick shout outs were:
Trione (pronouced Tree-oh-knee)
J Vineyards
Ferrari Carano-I didn't taste here but the grounds (and gardens) are absolutely gorgeous!!
Passalacqua (pronounced Paw-Saw-Law-Qwah)

Trione was playing country music when we walked in and had a huge BBQ out back...I liked it from the start. This was a great spot with a casual, sexy, modern vibe, a knowledgeable & very cute tasting room manager (always a plus, right ladies?) and some interesting, unusual  wines. Overall a great experience.
J Vineyards is known for their delicious bubbly..they even have a "Bubble Room" where you can schedule private sparkling tastings. A gorgeous property with a unique interior, I highly recommend a visit here.

Amazing views from Twomey, known for their Pinot Noirs. This stunning  tasting room has sweeping views of vineyards and a gorgeous fountain out front. Also available are cheese platters to accompany your tasting experience.
Although I didn't taste at Ferrari Carano, the grounds, views and gardens  are worth a visit. The property was impeccably manicured with a luxe, European feel. Very beautiful.
Passalacqua, a family run winery with a long history in the Dry Creek Valley, is a spot where you will have a wonderful experience. So small, their wines are only available online and at the tasting room. One of my favorite wines of the trip was their DELICIOUS 2010 Dry Creek Valley Bevill Heirloom Vineyard Zin, an incredible wine made from special block planted with Zin budwood from five legendary vineyards that date as far back as the 1800's. I don't know if I've ever had a wine from plants this old, but I can now say I am a HUGE fan of old vines if they are capable of this!
There are SO MANY wineries to choose from in the Sonoma area (over 250!!). While I didn't make it to about 5 or 6 that I had on my original itinerary, I would suggest doing a bit of research before you go as there are some misses in this area. Go with a small plan, then go with the flow. There are so many knowledgeable tasting room people that are more than willing to guide you based on what you enjoy at their always be honest! Whether you are just starting to like wine or have been drinking it for years, the Sonoma/Healdsburg area is stunning and a VERY different feel from the traditional California Napa tasting experience. I've done both, and while I think I prefer Napa, I had a wonderful time in Sonoma. The hospitality was superb, and we met some great people. I would definitely suggest experiencing this part of California wine country!

Big Money Saving Tip: If you have a Visa Signature card, there are about 80 wineries that offer free or discounted tastings with your card. Many of the wineries I visited were on this list, and were excellent. I would suggest doing some research about this program before making the trip, as it can save you hundreds of dollars!

Contact Information:
23555 Arnold Drive Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 996-7256
Twitter: @GloriaFerrer

Maurtison WInes
2859 Dry Creek Road  Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 431-0804
Twitter: @MauritsonWinery

Trione Winery
19550 Geyserville Avenue  Geyserville, CA 95441
(707) 814-8100
Twitter: @trionewinery

J Vineyards
11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Twitter: @JWInery

Twomey Cellars
Healdsburg Location: 3000 Westside Rd Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 942-7122
Calistoga Location: 1183 Dunaweal Lane Calistoga, CA 94515
(707) 942-2489
Twitter: @Twomey

Ferrari Carano
8761 Dry Creek Road  Healdsburg, CA 95448 
(707) 433-6700
Twitter: @FerrariCarano

Passalacqua Winery
3805 Lambert Bridge Road  Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-5550

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for including J in your wonderful article “A Few More Sonoma Recommendations” as a highly recommended winery to visit, we are thrilled you enjoyed the J Bubbly and look forward to your next visit to experience the J Bubble Room, cheers!