Part of me wanted to title this “The Dog Days of Sonoma” but I decided to keep the same title format for the trip series. Like almost every time we travel (when it’s not the dead of winter) the Florida heat follows us. This trip was no different as the temperatures soared near 100. Even as a “dry heat” this was too much for us to spend too much time outside, so we decided to fill our day with indoor activities.
Up first was one of the only non-wine things I *really* wanted to do on this trip, the Charles Shultz Museum – aka Snoopy! I swear I partly learned to read because of the Peanuts cartoons, and I loved the Peanuts specials that would air every holiday. We got to immerse ourselves in all thing Peanuts for a few hours, and enjoyed the air conditioning while we were at it.
Not dog related, but put on the agenda for the day for the cellar tour, we visited Korbel for lunch then took the tour after. I’m not sure if I enjoyed the tour so much because it was historically interesting or if it was the coolness of the old caves. Either way, it was a nice way to spend a hot afternoon.
Bob gets all the credit for our last stop of the day. He found Mutt Lynch Winery when we were looking for ideas for the trip. We wanted good zinfandel and a fun experience so we added the tasting room in Windsor to our list. I am so glad we did. Brenda Lynch, the owner/winemaker made us feel right at home as she sat and talked with us while she poured from the tasting selection (and off the list too …. She was just incredible). Her zinfandel and primitivo were amazing, and her rose was truly out of this world. We spent far longer there than intended, but had a great time talking wine and dogs. We are super excited about the case of wine that is coming from here as soon as the weather breaks (say, around October). This is a definite go back to spot for us when we make it out to Sonoma again.
Despite the triple digit temperatures (the car registered 103) it was a great day.
It is rare that a day work out so well, lives up to the anticipation, and is truly as amazing as it is in one’s mind. But this day, this day was pretty much my day on this trip and it was about as perfect as I could have hoped.
I love gardens: botanical gardens, rose gardens, meditation gardens, etc. You name a garden and I’m going to try to visit when I get there. This day we, on one of the hottest days they have here (our car read 99, the bank sign read 109, either way it was hot) went to Quarryhill – a botanical garden that specializes in rare Asian species of plants. Every plant here is propagated by seed and the gardens are allowed to grow fairly wild. No topiary here. There was lots of shade and a few good breezes to keep the walk mostly comfortable despite the heat.
After the gardens, we headed to Sonoma Square. I was pretty excited (read school girl giddy) to be going to the tasting room for Bedrock Wine Company. This is my go-to winery for a few reasons – Old Vine Zinfandel, consistently good wine, and a mission to save historic vineyards and vines. The history teacher in me wants to preserve these treasures, but if the wine wasn’t good, I wouldn’t drink it no matter the mission. However, the wine is great. It’s amazing and it always makes me happy to pour a glass. Take this level of excitement about the wine, and add going to the historic General Hooker House to taste these wines. Yes, I was super excited and didn’t try to hide it. Kristen, our host, was amazing and seemed to love the wines, the wine maker, and the mission as much as anyone. The whole experience was incredible and I feel so lucky to have been able to do it.
We ended the day with dinner at a restaurant on the Pacific at sunset. The food was fine, but the view was amazing and it was a great way to end such an incredible day. .
I have very mixed feelingss about group tours. I dislike crowds and like to wander, which you can’t generally do on a group tour. I like to find places that aren’t super crowded with tourists (I am perfectly good with most tourist areas and am not saying I need places no tourists go – I am a tourist so that would be ridiculous- but I like places that are not on the first page of the guide books) but with over 400 wineries in Sonoma, we thought starting out with a wine tour might be s good way to go.
We didn’t know what kind of wineries to expect – big names, large fancy facilities, small family wineries or a mix – but we went with an open attitude and lots of water to drink in between.
Talk about impressed and right up our ally! The tour had nine of us total on it (I can deal with nine) and we went to super small, family owned and run wineries. All four had something unique about them, but two stood out to us. MoniClaire and Viszlay are really tiny places that are producing amazing wine. The families who operate the wineries led us through their wines and showed us their vines. I loved it when someone would ask where a wine was grown and the answer was pointing to an area or a few rows with a “right there” as the answer. You really don’t get much more personal than that.
Day two is another how late can I stay up day. I’ got better but was definitely waking up on east coast time.
- Producer: Mutt LynchWinery
- Location: California
- Year: 2018
- Type: Rose of Zinfandel
- Price estimate: $19
- Tasting notes: Salmon-pink in color with a little peach and mineral on the nose. Round, silky mouthfeel with flavors of peach, apricot, strawberry and white cherry give way to a bright middle with good acid and a mineral note. A touch of salinity and strawberry on the finish, the rose might lean towards sweet, but it isn’t. Dry, but fruit forward.
- Conclusions: I love a good rose and there are lots of okay roses trying to be good. Thus one is just out and out great. It is easy to drink, but interesting and complex. There are a few different layers to this wine and this is a wine that gets me to pop open the bottle when I’m just not sure if I really want wine. It’s that good.
- Notes: Bob and I had this at the Mutt Lynch tasting room in Windsor, California on our Sonoma trip. (Highlights from that trip should be posted soon.) Bob found the winery during his search and we decided to try it because of their zinfandel and the dog theme. I am a sucker for animals so a winery that combines wine and furry creatures is worth trying. The wines, especially the rose, are incredible. Brenda Lynch, the owner, wine maker, sales manager etc., got me to try and enjoy varietals I would normally pass over such as Cabernet and Petit Syrah. We tasted for a good long while, enjoying the great company of the owner and her phenomenal wines. Next time we are in Sonoma we are going back and I don’t want to tell anyone how much wine we had shipped from her vineyard. Worth the trip and any pennies spent there.
- Producer: Trinchero Family Estates
- Location: Modesto, CA
- Year: NA
- Type: Bubbly Rose
- Price estimate: $3.25
- Tasting notes: Bubbles reminiscent of soda – lots on the initial pour and they dissipate quickly. Pink in color – an unnatural pink, but not unpleasant to look at. Not as sweet as I expected, but sweeter than I usually drink. Mostly watermelon and strawberry for flavor with a slightly weird wang at the very beginning of each sip. That also dissipates quickly.
- Conclusions: Not bad, but not what I would call good either. It is drinkable and perfectly acceptable for a summer sipper. I didn’t care for the carbonation but I can get past that.
- Notes: I had heard a lot about wine in a can over the last year and wanted to try some, so when we were at Target the other day, I saw a four pack for about $10 and decided to go for it. This is not a can of wine I’m going to purchase again but it was fine.