A Recent Trip to Sonoma

Lately I have received a num­ber of phone calls wanting to dis­cuss recent trips to northern Cali­fornia for wine tasting and relaxation. I thought I would de­scribe my most recent trip to the Sonoma Valley in search of wine and rest.

Both my wife (Sandra) and I have been working very hard this year, and with two tragedies in her family in 1990 the stress had also taken its toll. One night she said “I need a vacation, why don’t you surprise me?” I replied “Of course, dear” and went to sleep. The more I thought the more she was right, so I booked the two of us for 5 days at the Sonoma Mission Inn in the Sonoma Valley. I also booked another couple, Al and Diane Ca­braloff, to join us. Round trip air fare to Oakland Airport was only $60.00 and our rental car was only $159.00 for the week. This left more of the budget to spend on fa­cials, massages and herbal wraps.

Boy, did I do right. The Sono­ma Mission Inn, if you have never been there, has got to be the most relaxing destination a stressed out, worked out, drained out, couple can go. The whole environment re­quires you to slow down, stop and take a breath. The rooms are well appointed, the personnel charming and the food exquisite.

Sunday was our first day of tasting and we decided to just start and go up the road. First stop was Kenwood Winery where we en­joyed a slice of cranberry cake and gorgeous Late Harvest Reisling.

This wine had honey like scents that followed right through the pa­late with a nice clean finish. Next stop was Chateau St. Jean. They were only pouring whites that d4 and found their Fume Blanc and Gewurztraminer to be of particular interest. Sometimes the wineries will only pour certain wines for any given day. Outside of Calisto­ga, you can pick up the Silverado trail and drive into the Napa Val­ley. The wineries are endless and I would advise you to pre-select your stops or you may never get to the end. Robert Sinskey has a charming winery and some won­derful Pinot Noir. While in Napa, try and schedule dinner at Tra Vigne in St. Helena. This has to be one of the most wonderful Italia, dining experiences ever. Just dip­ping their fresh Italian bread in freshly poured olive oil was spe­cial. Make reservations.

The following day was fun when we visited some of our friends at the wineries the club has featured in the past. Hacienda in Old Town Sonoma had a nice complement of wines, notably their Dry Chenin Blanc. The folks at Merry Vintners were gracious and poured their current vintages of Chardonnay. We tasted some barrel samples at White Oak (Healsdburg) for their upcoming Chardonnay release. Three days to recover then on to the airport

In the January newsletter I will be writing specifically out about our accommodations in Sonoma.

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