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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.

Favorite Restaurants
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.