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.