Saturday November 14th, 2009
-We flew United from Boston to San Francisco. It’s a long flight! Plus we were tired, having been up for over 24 hours! But we survived and made it! SFO is a nice airport. We arrived, got our bags, made it on the Air Train to the terminal where rental cars are picked up. Went to Dollar and got our car. I think it was a Kia. Was a pretty great car. $200. Then we set off for Napa! Driving to Napa was easy. Luckily Chris had just got the droid which has GPS. We took the Bay Bridge. Not a beautiful bridge but it was fine!
-checked in to the hotel- Best Western Elm House Inn, 800 California Blvd, Napa $430 including taxes/fees for 3 nights. Wow this place is great! Friendly staff. Small B&B feel. Very clean. Easy parking. Great downtown Napa location. Gorgeous fireplace in the main room. Breakfast was awesome. Nice fresh items, homemade muffins and breads, fruit and yogurt parfaits. They make waffles for you that are delicious! Also hot apple cider and fresh baked treats in the evening. Our room was large, with a nice king size bed. Everything we needed, including a fridge. The TV in our room was in an awkward place, really my only complaint which is not a big deal, unless you plan on watching a lot of TV. Got a great deal through their website. Can’t imagine spending double to stay in a different hotel in the same area, totally not worth it! This place was perfect for being on a budget but not settling for less than the best.
– wandered around the oxbow public market, 610 1st St, Napa
great little stands and shops with local food and unique items. really wanted Kara’s cupcakes and three twins ice cream! browsed at the oxbow wine merchant. ate at pica pica.
– lunch – pica pica maize kitchen at oxbow, 610 1st St, Napa
different and delicious, Venezuelan food. First you chose a corn bread and then a filling. I had a cachapa, a sweet corn pancake, filled with pernil (pulled pork, tomatoes, avocado and aioli), it was really good! Chris had the maize’wich, sweet corn bread with pelu’a (skirt steak and cheddar cheese(. also tasty. would have loved to go back and try some of the other items. especially the yucca fries or sweet plantains. we sat at a large table near their bar, and the other people eating had the fries and they looked and smelled amazing!
–Artesa, 1345 Henry Rd, Napa
I am unfortunately blanking on what was tasted. I do recall loving the Chardonnay, which is odd, as I am not a fan of white wine. I remember it being very different, buttery and rich. Beautiful grounds, breathtaking views. Large tasting room/bar. Lovely terrace off the main room to sit, drink and admire the view. Private room for members to taste. Cute gift shop.
–Chimney Rock, 5350 Silverado Trail, Napa
tasting $25 we tasted:
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
our pourer was a lovely older woman. very friendly, knowledgeable and gave great descriptions of the wines. I loved the Elevage so much, that in the end she let me get an extra taste of the different year. Would have bought it if it wasn’t so expensive ($76) and if it was towards the end of our trip. the grounds were lovely. the building itself quite picturesque, and different/unexpected.
–Uncorked at Oxbow, 605 First St, Napa
Bruce Ahnfeldt and Celeste Carducci
purchased – 2006 Provocative Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $22
our tasting was free, and we tasted almost everything they had to offer. we tasted:
2004 Ahnfeldt Cabernet Sauvignon White label $59.00
2006 Provocative Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $22.00
2005 Quid Pro Quo $49.00
2005 Ahnfeldt Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $39.00
2005 Ahnfeldt Napa Valley Merlot $34.00
2005 Ahnfeldt Napa Valley Syrah $25.00
2006 Ahnfeldt Napa Valley Cabernet Franc $34.00
2006 Ahnfeldt Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc $14.50
it’s a little wine shop/tasting room across from oxbow public market. They must have newly opened. Watched a slide show of the renovations of the house we were in. They really did a lot of work! Very friendly people and a great little business! Bruce and Celeste were down to earth and made every person that came in feel comfortable, never intimidating. They had out delicious dark chocolate with cherries in it that tasted amazing with the wine. Wish I remembered where the chocolate was from, it was local. Was the perfect way to start our first night in Napa.
-dinner – Tra Vigne, 1050 Charter Oak Ave, St Helena
Made reservations in advance via open table. Shared the arugula and fig pizza as an appetizer, it was huge and delicious! I had the butternut squash ravioli, which was decadent. Chris had fettuccine with lamb ragu, which he loved. I think we had two glasses of wine as well. total $78. it was very busy. our server was always attentive. service was actually quite quick. unfortunately we were sitting next to a table of the loudest, rudest, most obnoxious people. so that took away from the experience.
Sunday November 15th, 2009
–frank family, 1091 Larkmead Ln, Calistoga
tasting $10 and you had to pay it before even walking in the door. we tasted:
champagne blanc de blanc
2007 chardonnay napa valley
2007 reserve zinfandel
2006 napa valley cabernet sauvignon
there was a sparkling wine tasting at the entrance. then on to the back room for the still wines. the pourer was talkative but not about the wines so much. he kept talking to an older couple about their kids at school. boring. the champagne rouge was pinot noir based which was different and delicious. the zinfandel’s were good but pricey compared to how they tasted.
–rombauer, 3522 Silverado Trail, Saint Helena
purchased – 2007 Rombauer Zinfandel $28
tasting free? or not charged because of our purchase? we tasted:
2008 carneros chardonnay $32
2006 carneros merlot $32
2005 Napa valley cabernet sauvignon $42
2007 rombauer zinfandel $28
I really liked Rombauer. the pourer was an older woman, very friendly. the zinfandel was outstanding, one of my favorites from the whole trip! it was busy here, but there were two bars to taste at (same wines) so that helped. also Irma Rombauer that wrote the Joy of Cooking is related and they sell copies of the cookbook there. Lots of pictures of sports figures and some celebs. Grounds were gorgeous and beautifully decorated for fall. Great view from the terrace.
–freemark abbey, 3022 St. Helena Highway North, St. Helena
classic tasting $10 with choice of 4 wines of their current releases.
I think we tasted the Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
I recall really wanting to buy one of the wines. However they only refunded your tasting fee if you bought 2 wines. We really only wanted one and were limited on how many to buy since we had to get them home. Chris asked if we could get 1/2 a credit for just buying one and they said no. Which really is just bad business. Ridiculous that everyone in Napa charges $10 or more per tasting to begin with, but if they are willing to credit $10 back for buying 2 wines, why not credit $5 for buying one? so even though we really liked the wine, we didn’t buy it out of principal!
–V. Sattui, 1111 White Lane, St. Helena
purchased a case – $300 including taxes/fees/shipping, 2 – off dry riesling ($15.94), 4 – 2007 Sattui Family Red ($13.39), 6 – 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($27.20)
we had passes for 2 free tastings, but the tasting is only $5 I think. we tasted:
2007 off dry johannisberg riesling
sattui family red
sattui family cabernet
napa valley cabernet
bar 49 zinfandel
Had a great pourer named Dave, who was hilarious. Tasted almost all of the reds they had. this place is huge. has a great deli shop. so many cheeses! and other great food items. sure it’s a larger scale operation, but the wines were still good, and awesome for the price.
-lunch @V. Sattui, got some items from the shop and ate outside on the grounds at a picnic table. Chris had a grilled meatball panini. We shared arancini. I had a huge sausage stuffed portabella mushroom, and a nice mix of olives on the side. Everything was divine! they sell little prepackaged sets of plates, napkins, cups and silverware for two people. total $30
–Del Dotto, 1055 Atlas Peak Road, Napa
We reserved the cave barrel tasting in advance for $40 each. well worth the price!
2005 Cave Blend $49 at tasting bar before the cave tour
2007 Napa Valley Sangiovese – fall 2009 release $49
2006 Rebound Red Cabernet Sauvignon $35
2007 Lot B2 Cabernet Sauvignon – bottled end of November 2009 $85
2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc futures release April 2010 $69
2007 Lot ST Limousin Cabernet Sauvignon – end of November 2009 release $85
2007 Rutherford Estate Missouri U-Stave Cabernet Sauvignon – fall 2009 release $125
2007 Rutherford Estate Centre Sylvain Cabernet Sauvignon – fall 2009 release $125
after the cave tour cheese, salami, chocolate truffles and zinfandel port $75
This was by far the coolest and most unique wine tasting we have done. Tasting right out of the barrels was different. The wines were all so delicious. It was especially great to taste cabernet from american oak and french oak alongside each other to compare. the Rebound Red was one of my favorites as well as the zinfandel port.
–downtown joe’s, 902 Main Street, Napa
we were only there for a short time. God forbid we miss football on a Sunday even on vacation. there were actually a few other Patriots fans there to watch the game too. only stayed until half time. had the spinach and artichoke dip, which was standard but quite good. Beers were great. Nice change from drinking wine all day!
-had reservations at Bottega, 6525 Washington Street, Yountville, but we were so full and tired from the day that we canceled. too bad because the menu sounded delicious!
Monday November 16th, 2009
–Goosecross, 1119 State Lane, Yountville
tasting $10. we tasted:
2004 Howell Mountain Cabernet
2006 Napa Valley Syrah
2006 Napa Valley AmerItal VI
2006 Napa Valley Cabernet
lovely little vineyard. friendly staff. small production. beautiful grounds. unique wine gifts, etched bottles and chocolate dipped bottles. really enjoyed the Amerital.
–peju province, 8466 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford
purchased – 2008 Provence $22, 2006 Zinfandel Napa Valley $28
tasting $10 complimentary if buying wine.
it was certainly a plentiful tasting, I think we tried the majority of their wines! the pouring never ended. we had the place pretty much to ourselves as well which was nice! very generous pours. everything was really good. I wanted to join the wine club, but sadly didn’t. the provence was unique, a red white blend that was surprisingly really good! the zinfandel was one of my most favorites of the trip, and I so love the zin!!!! the grounds were gorgeous. I loved the sculptures and fountains outside. Even the outside of the building was beautiful.
–st supery, 8440 St Helena Hwy, Rutherford
Tasting $15, we tasted:
2008 Sauvingon Blanc
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
great free self guided tour. especially loved the smell stations! was great to really see how things worked. the artwork adorning the walls was amazing. outside at the demonstration vineyards you could see the various different ways the vines are grown and trained and why. the bottle labels are also beautiful and interesting. Especially liked the Elu wine and the Moscato was tasty too.
-lunch @taylors refresher, 933 Main Street, St Helena
we had the Wisconsin Sourdough 9.99, Western Bacon Burger 9.99, and Garlic Fries 3.99. everything was so delicious. one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. tons of garlic in the fries, so yummy! was going to pass the place up based on reading it was “touristy”. so glad we went. I still think about it and want another burger!!!
-2:30 pm – Frog’s Leap Tour & Tasting, 8815 Conn Creek Road, Rutherford
bought – 2006 Merlot $34
the tasting and tour was free. which I didn’t know. I would have paid it was such a great and comprehensive tour. we were able to try all of their wines. we reserved in advance through their website. Our guide was a young girl but very knowledgeable. Loved sitting in the beautiful house, hearing the history and tasting the first wine. Then the small group followed our guide throughout the grounds. They have amazing organic gardens. Even got to try a pomegranate picked right from the tree. At little stops a long the way we’d get another wine to try. The gorgeous barn was the last stop and the most impressive, where they keep their tanks and some barrels. The original wood was all there, they took each piece down at one time and reinforced it slat by slat. The view from the barn and ambiance inside were truly amazing. I wish I could spend time and work at this lovely hard working, responsible vineyard. They even have solar panels.
–st helena olive oil company, 8576 St Helena Hwy, Napa
loved browsing in this gorgeous shop. lots of olive oils to taste with great flavors added. beautiful vintage items for sale. had my eye on one of the old antique looking mini gates. nice soaps and lotions too.
–oakville grocery, 7856 St. Helena Highway, Oakville
had planned on stopping here to eat, but never got around to it. did stop in to browse though. cute little shop with many wines, cheeses and gourmet items to choose.
-dinner @Mustards, 7399 St. Helena Highway, Yountville
made reservations via open table. waiter was awesome. helped me pick out my meal and was spot on! We had the polenta side dish as an appetizer which was phenomenal. I had the garlic lemon chicken which was tender, juicy and seasoned perfectly. Chris had the pork chop which he loved but he didn’t care for the side dish that came with it.
Tuesday November 17th, 2009
–drove from Napa to San Francisco, took the Bay Bridge again. bit crowded, but fine.
-Returned the car @ Dollar
-checked into Hotel Abri in union square. 127 Ellis Street.
this place was pretty great. cable car turn around is literally right down the street. also a quick walk to market where there is the BART, F line and buses. great area to walk around. tons of shops. really great place to be for access to public transportation, etc. hotel itself was nice. two computers in the lobby for internet access (no charge). nice fireplace and sitting area in the lobby too. our room was on the smallish side. biggest drawback was no desk. Chris was there on business and it was kind of annoying to set up the laptop on the bed. there wasn ‘t a lot of table space or places to put stuff down on. the bed was comfy. TV was well situated. nice comfy chair for lounging. bathroom was pretty big compared to the room! I of course liked all of the L’Occitane toiletries.
-lunch – dim sum @ city view, 662 Commercial St (between Kearny St & Montgomery St) we got there around 1pm. we walked in and were seated right away. got water and a pot of tea. then came all the goodies!!! it was fun to wait for the cart to come by and ask what everything was and pick and choose what we wanted. the carts came by about every 5 – 8 minutes or so. everything was fresh and tasty. we had vegetable egg rolls, shanghai dumplings, pot stickers, spinach dumplings, mushroom dumplings, a big plate of shrimp, some kid of fried rice, and rice noodles wrapped around beef. I think that’s all of it. we were stuffed. it was great that most of the girls let you know what was on the cart and explained it. if they didn’t I asked and they were happy to explain. I thought it worked out well for us, as we were dim sum newbies! total was $41
–walked around Chinatown. stopped in at the golden gate fortune cookie factory. as soon as we walked in, they gave us flat fortune cookies to taste. then I paid to take a picture with the lady working the fortune cookie machine. it was only 50 cents but we gave her a dollar. which led to the little old man giving us more cookies. the cookies were really yummy. I happen to love fortune cookies and think these were the best ones I’ve ever had. the shop is really tiny. luckily there weren’t very many people there so I was able to walk right in and get up close. we browsed the streets of Chinatown for a while, stopping in little shops here and there. I got a cute pair of reusable chop sticks to take home. stopped and saw the Chinese Gate at the entrance to Chinatown.
-dinner in North Beach – Ristorante Ideale, 1315 Grant Avenue
Chris had one of the specials – homemade ravioli made with fresh porcini mushrooms, and it was excellent. the mushrooms were the star, and so fresh! I had the pasta with spicy broccoli rabe and pecornio (orecchiette alla pugliese) which I thought was outstanding, the pasta was homemade and cooked perfectly, and I love broccoli rabe so very much. the service was great, the bread was just OK. the waiters spoke Italian. I felt I got my North Beach experience, just to see what it was like and compare it to Boston, NYC and Italy.
Wednesday November 18th, 2009
-walked to Market and took the F line to the ferry building
I really liked the ferry building. I got there so early though that not much was open yet. still I hung out and walked around and waited for more stuff to open up. Had a latte from bluebottle coffee company. not sure I get the hype. it was just OK. I mean it was good but nothing that I would actively search out to have again or miss if I couldn’t have it. maybe I got the wrong thing? someone else in line did get a breakfast sandwich that was huge and absolutely delicious looking. loved the farm fresh to you market. so jealous. wish I had that at home. loved the cowgirl creamery. they gave me a few tastes. I wanted something small and soft. One of the guys recommended their fromage blanc. I got a tiny little container of it for $1.17. Then I went to the acme bread company, where I wanted everything!!! But since it was just me, I got something small. an olive roll. I then ate out on one of the piers along the embaracedo. The cheese was so good! soft, creamy and so tasty. The olive roll was great, really fresh and a perfect compliment to the cheese.
-walked the embaracedo, strolling the piers
-walked to North Beach. visited washington square park and Saints Peter and Paul Church
-walked up telegraph hill, that was a hike, but well worth it.
-went to coit tower. amazing view! took the elevator up for $5. elevator is old and rickety! even more amazing views at the top.
-lunch @marios bohemian cigar store, 566 Columbus Avenue(between Green St & Stockton St)
I had a delicious foccacia sandwich with grilled eggplant, $6. nice that you can choose to only get half a sandwich. I seriously could have eaten there everyday, that one taste I had was so good. Staff was nice too. I was alone, so I sat at the bar. Sad Chris never got to eat there as he would have loved it.
-took the bus across from Mario’s to Fisherman’s Wharf
-visited pier 39 and the sea lions. pier 39 in just a place of souvenir shops and games for kids and what not. I loved the sea lions. I stood there for about an hour watching them! First I went to the upstairs area, then later to the downstairs area. I read all the info along the pier about the sea lions. found them so fascinating!
-visit the boudin sourdough bakery, paid for the tour and museum $3. it was an interesting way to kill some time and get free samples of bread! But I think standing outside at the window is better (and free!)
-walked around fishermans wharf. went to the big sign. lots of shops in the area. mostly souvenir/touristy shops.
-visited fishermans alley, saw crabs and all the little stands making food.
-went to buena vista cafe, 2765 Hyde Street(between Beach St & North Point St)
Had their famous irish coffee, $7.25. sat at the bar. I had no idea irish coffee had alcohol in it! silly me. the girl asked for my ID. I thought it was odd but gave it to her. Then came the coffee. The creamy foam on top was cool and delicious. Then I tasted the coffee and was in heaven. Oh boy did that taste really good! and strong too. Chatted with the bartender and an older couple at the bar. Not gonna lie it made me a little tipsy! guy at the bar wanted to buy me another, but I decided to leave, it had been a long day!
-walked around briefly by Ghirardelli square. it was nice enough. didn’t go in. don’t understand the hype. Maybe I needed to go in and get something chocolate? but I’ve had Ghirardelli before.
-waited in line to ride the powell hyde cable car at the turn around by the wharf. didn’t wait long. it was dinner time. was interesting to watch the men literally turn the car around. I got the best seat right up front! rode all the way to the end of the line where my hotel is. the sun was setting along the ride and the views at the top of some the hills were amazing. definitely a great first time ride and experience. it was almost magical in a way for some reason.
-dinner @ R&G Lounge, 631 Kearny Street (between Clay St & Commercial St)
I had read that salt & pepper fried crab and the R&G special beef were the things to get. Chris and I sat down and ordered the two things and the waiter seemed confused. Then we realized why when the food came! Oh man that was a huge crab!!!!!! I don’t really eat crab, but I tried some and it was really good. Chris loved it of course. The special beef was pretty good, but I’ve had better. Wish the beef actually came with something other than just beef, like some veggies would’ve been nice.
Thursday November 19th, 2009
-spent the day with Lisa. we met in union square and walked to North Beach.
-brunch @ Mama’s, 1701 Stockton St (at Filbert St)
Lisa and I both had eggs bene, I had the vegetable one, she had the florentine. both excellent. great place, breakfast all day, but they have lunch food too. definitely a must go to in North Beach, though not Italian! I didn’t get coffee, but wish I did, it smelled fantastic. cash only, and you have to wait to order in line, pay, then wait for a table to sit at. there is a tiny tiny bathroom outside in the back. I had seen a huge line here the day before, but this time it wasn’t so bad. we got right in and things went pretty quick! Wish I could’ve eaten there again, I wanted to try so many other things!!!
-walked up Lombard St. whew that was a hike! kept hearing this weird noise. sounded like a goat. Lisa and I couldn’t figure out what it was! then finally at the top, standing there looking down. I noticed a tree to my left near a house. the squawking was coming from there. definitely wasn’t a goat. the tree was full of parrots. I had read about the parrots, and expected to see them when I was at Coit tower, but I didn’t and here they were!
-walked to Union St and browsed in the shops. was just OK. not that many of the shops caught my interest. really couldn’t shop or buy anything!
-walked to Alamo Square and saw “post card row”. was interesting to see, but skippable. took the bus back to union square.
-went to westfield shopping center on market and browsed. had wanted a pedicure at nordstroms spa. my feet were killing me and a friend had told me to check it out. sadly there weren’t any more appointments for that day or the next day either that would work. said good bye to Lisa and went back to the hotel to meet up with Chris
-took the BART to mission and 24th. the BART was fine. easy to navigate. ticket buying thing was weird though. still not sure if I bought the right ticket!
-dinner @ La Corneta, 2731 mission st
I had chicken mole enchiladas. Chris had a steak and prawn quesadilla. chips and salsa too. shared a churro. total $20. great Mexican food. large portions. we were stuffed! I’ve had better mole in NYC but this one was pretty close. Cafeteria style. was easy to find. short walk from BART.
Friday November 20th, 2009
-Chris and I took the bus to haight ashbury. walked around for a bit and saw the grateful dead house. It was raining pretty bad. went back on the bus!
-rode the powell mason cable car to fishermans wharf
-took Chris around fishermans wharf and to see the sea lions! we sat for about an hour watching them
-lunch – fried clams from fishermans alley for Chris. sourdough pizza at Boudin for me. Pizza was OK, wish I had gotten the tomato soup in the bread bowl instead!
-4:20 – Alcatraz Night Tour, $33 each, purchased in advance.
This was awesome!!!!!! I am sad the boat made me feel so sick on the way out. I really wanted to stand up and look at everything as we circled the island and take pictures, but couldn’t. Once on land, we were broken up into groups. Our guide told us a lot of great info. We then entered Alcatraz and got our audio guide equipment. It was really a great information tour. So spooky to be walking around Alcatraz at night. There a was a gorgeous night time view of San Francisco. After the audio tour, there were special areas open at certain times to explore. We went up to the hospital area, which was really interesting. Then they had different talks given by the guides. One about the inmates that tried to escape which was interesting. I really liked at the end the demonstrations of the cells being locked and opened over and over again, and the noise it made. chilling. the boat ride back was better on my belly thank goodness!!
-dinner @Plouf, 40 Belden Place
had made a reservation in advance via open table. cute little alley with restaurants. reminded me of Italy. we sat outside. which was really nice! they had heaters out there. decided on the prix fixe menu, $25. I had the tomato basil soup to start and Chris had the salad. We each got mussels and pomme frites. One with the poulette sauce and one with the provencale sauce. Both were excellent. They give you a lot of mussels! for dessert we each had a vanilla bean creme brulee, yum.
Saturday November 21st, 2009
–checked out of SF hotel
-picked up the car @Dollar, not our first choice, a white PT Cruiser. $130. what awful gas mileage compared to our beloved hybrid
-drove over the Golden Gate Bridge! stopped at the lookout point and took some pics. amazing
-visited Muir Woods, $5 entrance fee
this place is amazing. after parking and getting out of the car, we saw a huge deer! found the entrance, paid our fess, and started to walk. didn’t follow a guide or a map or anything. spent about 2 hours walking and stopping to look up every 5 seconds and the amazing enormity of the trees. it was breathtaking and magical! the trails are really nice to walk, a little bumpy in some areas but nothing strenuous at all. it was quite cool in the woods. wish I had brought a heavier sweater in with me. wish we had planned to spend more time there. could easily have spent a whole day. We loved those trees so much!
–drove to Sonoma
–viansa, 25200 Arnold Drive, Sonoma
bought – 2006 Prindelo $35, 2005 Piccolo Sangiovese $25
25% off for becoming wine club members
we also bought sandwiches – portabello e capra, panini caprese (total $15) and sat out on the gorgeous terrace to eat and admire the view.
for the tasting – kind of lost track here because we started tasting and then became wine club members and then tasted almost everything after that!!! my notes were a bit spotty and I only put stars or the word good next to names of each wine. not sure now how to interrupt them! we have since gotten a wine club shipment. we get 2 bottles of red every 3 months I think. came with great recipes cards and ideas. haven’t tried those bottles yet! I think we started with the Italian Flight ($5) and the Sonoma Flight ($5) and shared, you could select 4 from each list, each included a mix of reds and whites, in the end we tried all of the Reds I believe
Athena Dolcetto Sonoma County 2007 – good
Piccolo Sangiovese Sonoma County 2005 – really good
Farneta Primitivo Carneros 2006 – really good
La Nebbia Nebbiolo Sonoma County 2005 – good
Pindelo Red Wine Sonoma County 2006 – really good
Pinot Noir Sonoma Mountain 2007 – good
Syrah Sonoma County 2006 – good
Zinfandel Sonom County 2006 – good
Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast 2004 – good
Cabernet Franc Sonoma County 2004
I think we also wound up tasting the following from the “cellar selections” tasting menu
Augusto Barbera Sonoma Valley 2005 – good
Thalia Sangioveses Sonoma Valley 2005 – really good
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2005 – really good
Samuele Cabernet Franc Sonoma County 2005 – really good
V Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2005 – really god
and then on to dessert wine
Late Harvest Primitivo Sonoma Valley 2005 – really good
–Cline, 24737 Arnold Drive, Sonoma
tasting free but $1 for each reserve wine. We tasted: almost everything
we had to visit Cline because it is one of our favorites that we can actually get here in Massachusetts. we had already tasted most of the wines they make at home. however not the reserves they have as most are only available at Cline or in California, since they are a smaller production. enjoyed the small tasting bar. I can’t recall specifically what we tasted. it was a bit crazy there as there was a passport tasting weekend event going on in Carneros and Cline was participating. so there were way too many people there. they grounds were beautiful with lovely fountains.
–Gundlach Bundschu, 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma
bought – 2005 Cuvee $24
$5 tasting fee for 4 wines, we each got 4 different ones. We tasted:
2008 gewurztraminer, estate vineyard $22.50
2007 pinot noir, estate vineyard $34
2006 tempranillo, estate vineyard $35
2005 mountain cuvee, rhinefarm vineyard $24
2007 zinfandel, estate vineyard $38
2007 syrah, estate vineyard $36
2006 cabernet franc $38
2006 cabernet sauvignon, estate vineyard $32
2006 cabernet sauvignon, mountain terraces $40
another beautiful winery! gorgeous tasting room. dark but with lots of space. knowledgeable pourer. solid wines.
-checked into hotel – Best Western Dry Creek Inn, 198 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg
$507 total. We got a great deal booking through their website. stayed in the newer Tuscan building. felt like we were the only people at the hotel. really quiet and felt secluded. awesome large room with a king bed, jacuzzi tub, fireplace, internet access. great pillows. I even googled them and bought them from amazon. very clean. free breakfast included at the restaurant Adel’s which is in the parking lot. You got to choose items off a menu list and they brought them to you. standard – scrambled eggs, cereal, bacon, toast, pancakes, etc. we did upgrade one day and ordered off the regular menu, and you get $6 per person off the bill. I think an omelet was around $8 so a pretty fair trade in! is the hotel lobby they have cookies in the afternoon. located in a good area for access to the highway and to get around to near by towns.
-dinner @the Girl & the Fig, 110 West Spain Street, Sonoma
made reservations in advance via opentable. great idea! it was super busy. still had to wait a little bit. had fun browsing all of their lotions and body products. dinner was superb. started out with the cheese/salami plate, I forget what cheeses we chose, but they were all delicious. Also had their signature grilled fig and arugula salad, which was delicious. I had the turkey tartine and Chris had the wild boar shoulder. total was $70. all in all a great meal, and wish I could go back again!
Sunday November 22nd, 2009
–Foppiano, 12707 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg
tasting free? (I cant remember). we tasted:
2006 pinot noir, estate, russian river valley $20
lot 96, bin 002, proprietary blend $12 – liked
2005 petite sirah, estate, russian river valley $20
2001 petite sirah, estate reserve, russian river valley $30 – liked
we got here really early in the morning first thing. they had recently opened. we were the only ones there. a nice older gentleman poured for us. small tasting bar.
–Matanzas, 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa
bought – 2007 Pinot Noir, bennett valley $29 and the Lavender Sampler $16
tasting free. We tasted:
2007 sauvignon blanc, sonoma county $24
2007 chardonnay, sonoma valley $29
2007 pinot noir bennett valley $35
2003 proprietor’s blend $39
2006 merlot, bennett valley $35
2005 syrah, sonoma county $25
2006 cabernet sauvignon $35
loved this one. gorgeous grounds. wished the lavender fields were in full bloom. bet it’s an amazing sight. super nice people. best prices on wine skins that we needed for the wine we put in our suitcase to take home. lots of lavender products to sample and buy.
–Chautea St Jean, 8555 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood
tasting $10. we tasted:
2007 pinot blanc robert young vineyard
2007 chardonnay durell vineyard
2007 pinot noir sonoma county
2006 cabernet sauvignon sonoma county
2006 syrah benoist ranch
beautiful grounds. friendly staff. Average tasting experience. Nothing unique about it. Still a great place to go for a good tasting and good wines.
–DeLoach, 1791 Olivet Rd, Santa Rosa
bought – 2006 Syrah ($18) $12 at their Stellar Cellar Sale
tasting free. We tasted: almost everything
we walked up and thought it was closed! but it wasn’t! they had just opened and as an added bonus they were having a cellar sale. so there were multiple tables for tasting of their wines that were on sale. plus we did the tasting at the bar as well. great friendly older women doing the pouring. they gave us yummy dark chocolate during the tasting. we basically had the place to ourselves which is always nice!
-lunch @third street ale works, 610 3rd St, Santa Rosa.
Smokey Burger $11, Sourdough Burger $11 (both with garlic fries) beer sampler $12, Bodega Head IPA pint $4.50. tasted 11 different beers. all really great! wish they bottled, we would have taken some home. tasted annadel pale ale, bodega head ipa, american wheat ale, blarney sisters dry irish stout, oktoberfest marzen, stonefly oatmeal stout, jekylls best bitter, sleeper wave wee heavy, marionberry noir, black cat porter ad prost pilsner. the nurgers and garlic fries were amazing!!!!!
-dinner –@Bovolo, 106 Matheson St (inside Cooperfields books) Healdsburg
bovolo is a little place in a bookstore, so good, they make their own bacon, creative pizzas, etc. we had the pasta bolognese and pizza with house made bacon & butternut squash – $26. really delicious. great quick service. we took it back to our hotel room, but there was a small seating are there too.
Monday November 23rd, 2009
–Bella, 9711 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg
bought 2007 zinfandel. tasting $5. we tasted: all of their wines. mostly zins.
loved this little winery. gorgeous grounds. middle of no where! lovely cave that you went inside for tasting. super friendly servers. amazing zin’s. my kind of place!
–Ridge @Lytton Spring, 650 Lytton Springs Road, Healdsburg
tasting $5. We tasted:
2007 zinfandel pagani ranch $35
2006 santa cruz mountains estate cabernet $40
2007 carignane buchignani ranch $28
2005 zinfandel buchignani ranch $30
ridge zinfandel nervo vineyard $30
2007 zinfandel lytton springs $35
the grounds at ridge are gorgeous. took tons of pictures!
–Seghesio, 14730 Grove St, Healdsburg
–Rochioli, 6192 Westside Rd, Healdsburg
tasting free. We tasted: their chardonnay
we went there for their famous pinot noir. Sadly it was all sold out. The pourer was such a super nice friendly lady. She talked with us for a while and gave us ideas of where to go to for a good pinot noir since they were all out. I loved how she talked about other wineries as if they were her partners, not competition. Hope to one day get one of these pinot’s! the chardonnay was quite delicious! Gorgeous view from the terrace.
–hop kiln, 6050 Westside Road Healdsburg
tasting $5 for 5 tastes.
I think we tasted: Thousand Flowers, Rushin’ River, Big Red and some others.
We went here simply because it was next door to Rochioli, otherwise we hadn’t planned on it. But I am glad we did. Beautiful old, historic site actually.
–gary farrell, 10701 Westside Road, Healdsburg
bought – 2007 Hallberg Pinot Noir $50, most expensive bottle that we actually bought but so worth it.
tasting $15 – all Pinot Noir
Really really liked this one. Pourer was so nice, and extremely knowledgeable about pinots. She set us up with a great side by side comparison tasting. Amazing how different one pinot can be from another. I wanted to buy them all. Great open tasting room, with gorgeous views.
–rosenblum, 250 Center Street, Healdsburg
bought – 2007 Rockpile Road Zinfandel $35
tasting $5, but applied to purchase. We tasted: almost all of their zins.
Great tasting room, right in the center of healdsburg. Amazing zins. So many different kinds. Great laid back tasting room.
-light lunch @oakville grocery, 124 Matheson Street, Healdsburg
stopped in for just a light lunch/snack. just some wine, salami and cheese. great shop. much larger than the location in oakville. little wine bar area for ordering a glass. large selection of cheeses, meats, etc. great little picnic table out front to eat at with a fireplace going. so it’s cozy!
-dinner @Dry Creek Kitchen, 317 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg
$125 was our splurge and sooooo worth it! divine.
Chris had steak. I should have remembered and wrote down exactly what it was called. But it came with a side of short ribs! Steak + short ribs. He was in heaven of course. I got the Sonoma neighbor menu selection that night. Again wish I wrote down more about it. It was so delicious. It started with a salad with pomegranate and permissions. I had never had a permission before and fell so much in love with it. Perfect salad. Made me instantly think of where I was at. So Healdsburg. Then I had steak too. Very thin pieces with an amazing sauce. The chef actually came over to talk to us. He made rounds around the dining room. For wine, we got a bottle. Something local. Again I’ve forgotten! But it was great. The sommelier serves your wine in a special way, that I can not recall the name of. Basically the way it is prepared is because of the pockets of air that can be founf in crystal glasses. He took the wine, poured it into the decanter. Then poured some into a glass. Swirled it all around the glass so every inch was covered in wine at some point. It clings to the sides. Then he put that wine into another glass to sit. Repeated the process with a second glass. So now you have 2 glsses that have essentially been coated with wine on the inside. Then the wine gets poured from the decanter into your coated glass for drinking. The third glass filled with the small amount of wine that was used to clean/coat the drinking glasses remains on the table, but you don’t drink it.
Tuesday November 24th, 2009
drove to San Francisco
flight home :0(
Helpful Planning Websites:
map from the Sonoma county website
California wine guide
trip advisor Napa forum
Maryland girl’s blog
bowl of berries blog
wanderlust travelers blog