Views of a local who has been in the hospitality side of the wine biz full- or part-time for over 20 years. Maybe more importantly, an avid consumer of the local wines for over 30 years. Mostly general comments on the California wine business because that's what I know.
Sometimes there's nothing like a good Sonoma Whine! If you don't take my comments too seriously then neither will I. After all, it's only wine.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Best of Sonoma County
OK, this is my Best of List. My tastes may not be yours, but what do you expect for free? :) Based on recent or semi-recent visits.
Best Wineries for a first (or second) visit
Buena Vista. The wine isn't great (but it isn't bad either) however the building and history are worth the trip. It will be crowded on in-season weekends.
Chateau St Jean. A beautiful spot, a large corp-owned winery, but they usually do things right. Pay the extra for the reserve room tastings.
Korbel. Historical tours, deli, over a dozen bubbly wines to chose from.
Sebastiani. They've been here forever, but have gone through some changes. You can always find a couple great value wines. Avoid the weekend crowds.
In Napa: South end Artesa for the view, architecture and wines. At the north end of the valley Shramsberg for the great tour and bubbly (appt required).
Best Smaller Wineries
These don't require reservations, because why spoil your trip with plans?
Armida. The Party Winery of Dry Creek.
Arrowood. Cabs and Syrah.
Audelssa. Chardonnay and Syrah blends.
David Coffaro. Easy-drinking, well-balanced, robust reds. And easy on the wallet.
Preston. Been making good Zinfandel since ... forever.
Russian Hill. Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Best Winery Views
Paradise Ridge. In Santa Rosa.
Sbragia. At the north end of Dry Creek Valley at Lake Sonoma.
Stryker. In the northern part of Alexander Valley. Great wines and views.
None of these will break the bank
Bear Republic Brew Pub. Red Rocket and a burger. Mmmm
Hanks Creekside. For breakfast.
La Vera. Pizza!
Ravenous. Kind of high-end comfort food.
Rosso. Pizza and you can get wines that are not from California! Don't miss Gnocchi Night.
Union Hotel. Pizza & pasta.
Other things besides eating and drinking
Armstrong Woods redwood preserve
Bodega Bay and Bodega Head. Bring your jacket!
Charles Schultz Museum. For kids from four to 70 years old.