One of my favorite magazines, Sunset, recently announced that October is Sonoma County Wine Month. I love Sonoma and personally could celebrate it every month. Fall is a particularly great time to celebrate Sonoma, when harvest is at its peak, the grape leaves are turning color, and the change of the weather and thoughts of upcoming holidays are simply conducive to the romance of wine.
Do you have that one place you drive by frequently and keep saying, we’ll stop next time? It’s not as though you have a compelling reason for the drive by. It just happens. Well, I can happily cross one of those “next time” places off my list because I finally made the stop. And, ironically enough, this time it took a cross-country flight to do it. But it was well worth it.
Back in early 2010, my husband and I visited Sbragia Family Vineyards, nestled up in a hillside overlooking the Dry Creek Valley. We were visiting on a beautiful spring afternoon and were in awe of the views and beautiful property. We bought wine that day and even though we consumed it long ago, I still have record of it, thanks to my OCD when it comes to wine tracking. But more on that later.
Summer is just around the corner, and we love our wine country weekends for enjoying the long, warm days and mild evenings. One of our all-time favorite wine regions in Northern California for a weekend getaway is the Healdsburg area. Home to Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and the Russian River Valley, the region is abundant with wineries that showcase a different perspective of this glorious part of the world, and downtown Healdsburg is just about as charming as it gets, with a bevy of boutique hotels and restaurants fit for foodies. Here are five wineries along a stretch of 14 miles to put on your itinerary.
Last month, I received an e-mail notification from Stryker Sonoma. “After 17 years of successful operations, Stryker Sonoma’s proprietor, Pat Stryker, has sold the Stryker Sonoma winery…So it is with gratitude to you, our loyal customers, that we say goodbye. The property sold this week to Foley Family Wines, and the Stryker Sonoma brand will be discontinued.”
Whittling down 35 or more wines down to three favorites is an art and science. That is what we did at a recent wine tasting at Morton’s in Fort Lauderdale that featured wines representing multiple varietals and regions. We tried just about all of them, initially narrowing down our preferences to about eight, but then we ultimately landed on our top three faves to whom we wanted to give a shout out.
Last night was St. Patrick’s Day so what other way does a wine enthusiast spend the evening other than at a wine tasting? Luckily, we planned ahead and had our traditional Irish fare the night before, feeling lucky to get two of 14 spots available to experience the Spire Collection.
Tonight we found ourselves opening a 2012 Moon Mountain Zinfandel from Repris, a unique winery nestled high up on the western slope of the Mayacamas Mountain range in Sonoma. The bottle was in our Fall 2014 club shipment so we thought it was ready to drink and we felt deserving of a splurge-worthy wine.
On one of our last nights in Bend, we had dinner at Jackalope Grill. Our group had received an inside tip from a Bend local, suggesting that we call the restaurant in advance to order its famed elk tenderloin. We heeded this advice, and with our menu selection confirmed, we got to the restaurant early and decided to sit at the bar. Our goal was to order a bottle of wine we could enjoy a glass of while we waited for our table, and one that we could finish with the elk.
Yes, today is National Drink Wine Day. But as the cartoon so eloquently indicates, isn’t every day? So rather than talk about the “holiday,” let’s pour a glass and toast. I think tonight is going to be a Rhone sort of night. I love Rhone-style varietals. Give me a luscious GSM (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah), and I am in my happy place. They often feature a combination of berry fruit and spice, which I think makes them great for drinking alone or with food. Each of these varietals individually has loads to offer, too.