Monday, February 3, 2014

Wine Country in the Winter.. Cheers!

     We usually land in SFO for layovers to and from Asia, but this time we actually stopped for a second trip to the Wine Country- Napa and Sonoma.  Read about our first trip here.  Once we landed, we picked up our rental car and headed across San Francisco to drive over the Golden Gate.  The drive was beautiful, sunny and fog-free! 
     After the stop for a few pictures, we headed into Sonoma and spent the day there.  We were able to fit in 4 stops which included a couple we had visited before Viansa, a great place for a little picnic, and Jacuzzi which also has olive oil tastings. Both have incredibly beautiful grounds!  Joshua's favorite pinot noir is DeLoach Vineyards so we headed out there with a stop at BR Cohn along the way.  After a day in Sonoma, we were starving so we stopped at Super Burger in Santa Rosa on the way to Napa to finally check into our hotel. Super Burger has been voted best burger in Sonoma County, and we'd say the award is much deserved.  I honestly think it's the best veggie burger I've ever had, and Joshua loved his chicken sandwich too.  It's very worth the stop if you're in the area!  Later in the evening we headed to Oxbow Market to hang out at the Ca'Momi bar and wind down.  Also, another very highly recommended place. 
     Our next 2 days consisted of tasting wine, eating, tasting wine, and eating.  Here are the places we went: MarkhamMerryvaleSt. ClementV. SattuiLouis MartiniWhitehall Lane, BeringerFranciscanGirard, and Domaine Carneros, all mainly in the Rutherford and St. Helena areas.  All of those were just wonderful, but the ones not to miss are St. Clement for its setting, V. Sattui for a fabulous picnic lunch, Domaine Carneros for a bubbly tasting, and Girard for an amazing tasting experince.  Rick at Girard poured way more than the basic tasting menu and let us try several more unique wines while teaching us so much about it.  We loved the experience and the wine so much that we signed up for their club!  We also hit up Rutherford Grill which is a place we ate at last time and said we couldn't miss again.  
   Obviously, this post is mainly for our friends that ask about going as well so I'll share just a bit more.   3 days is plenty.  Seriously, plenty!  You will eat and drink so much that you think you can't anymore.  Rent a car and drive, but do it safely.  There's no need for the train, trolley or driver.  Just space out your tastings, eat plenty, and know your limit.  A lot of people ask which is better- Napa or Sonoma.  They're both great but very different.  Sonoma has a more country feel and has an abundance of low production wines that are really great.  If you do any tours, sometimes in Sonoma, the actual owner may be the one showing you around.  It can also cost less than Napa.  We love Sonoma because of the laid back atmosphere and the friendliness of the hosts.  They seem a bit more welcoming.  The only downside in our opinion is there can be a bit more drive time between wineries and less restaurants.  Napa has the bigger name wineries that you can find locally.  However, most of the big names do have a reserve tasting menu for their low productions wines, but expect those to be about $60/bottle if you plan on taking any home.  The wineries and restaurants are just everywhere and easy to find.  It is a bit pricier as well.  They're both fabulous and wonderful in their own way so make a stop to both since they're so close to each other.  A great planning tool I used was this site for printable maps and coupons to wineries.  Lastly, pack towels or throw blankets in your check in bag so you can take wine home!!   Happy planning!  Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. How fun! That is definately on my bucket list. I will have to get notes from you on where to go and what to do. Other than drink lots of wine!


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