We left Santa Rosa early on a foggy morning to catch our flights back east. For my last Sonoma post I thought I'd just summarize my final thoughts on a tremendous trip, with the benefit of a few nights to mull the event.
Without a doubt, the highlights were:
1) A tour and tasting at Luna Vineyards with winemaker Mike Drash. The wines were excellent, and we loved having your ear for a few hours. Good luck with this year's harvest, Mike.
2) Dinner at Barndiva with Sam and Scot of Marietta Cellars - thanks for the tips, and I look forward to tasting the Emilia's Cuvee
3) Bella Vineyards, purveyors of fine Ancient Vines Zin at a very modest price for the quality. Entering the tasting room on a rainy day, The Smiths playing in the background (nice touch)...I could have stayed there all day.
4) Tasting at Verite. Verite is French for truth, but I prefer the word perfection. I dare Miles to drink this and say "No f-ing merlot!". Thanks, Leanne.
1) EDK - the service was awful and my wallet was swiped. But the food was sooo great....
2) Santa Rosa - Charles Schultz is from Santa Rosa, but I was on a wine quest not a Snoopy quest. Stay in Healdsburg next time - sorry, Sonadora, I should've listened to you.
3) Martinelli - I've heard of a short pour, but that was ridiculous!
What I bought?
I acquired six bottles of the Bella (2 Lily Hill Zin, 2 Big River Ranch Zin, 2 Lily Hill Syrah), 1 Landmark Pinot, 1 Marietta Emilia's Cuvee, 2 bottles of '02 Verite (Le Desir, La Joie), 2 bottles of Hartford Pinot, and 1 bottle of the Luna Canto. These will be returned to Canada in twos over the coming year.
To Visit Next Time
I definintely think you need to base yourself out of Healdsburg. We originally thought Santa Rosa was central, but it involves driving or expensive cab rides to get to the key restaurants. Stay in Healdsburg and you can probably walk to dinner every night, try something new, and is definitely the best situated for the key vineyards. Many have tasting rooms in town, as do the wine shops.
Wineries? I regret missing Trentadue, and I wish I had been more organized and called ahead for appointments at some others...
Many thanks to...
Sonadora for Sonoma travel tips.
Mike Drash for his time, fresh cab berries and beautiful wine.
Edward for drinking a few Sonoma selections "in support" of my trip (any excuse, eh Edward?)
Andrew for steering us to Harford - too bad I forgot about your Zin recommendation, but I loved their Pinot!
David suggested Bistro Ralph, but time constraints forced a Burrito truck substitution (At Lytton Springs Road/Healdsburg Ave, next to the Hwy 101, go for the truck on the left - he said he was better than the guy on the right. I don't know if that's true, but his shredded pork burrito was totally awesome). Barry suggested Kosta Browne and Mark West, but they are not open to the public. Farley suggested Siduri and Acorn, but we're guys - we're not organized enough to call ahead!
Cheers! Back to my daily tastings...sigh.