Wednesday, March 12, 2008

'Epic'urean Weekend in Sonoma Part 2... SATURDAY the Sonoma Wine Country

SATURDAY...
Wine Tasting.

Now, Having been in the Bay Area for the last 10 years, I have been to the Wine Country many many times. But this is the first time that I've done it 'strictly Sonoma' and I have to tell you, that I really like it there much more than Napa. I love the down-to-earthedness of it all and there are some pretty darn good wines to be found to boot...


First stop, Moon Mountain...

We started of our day of wine tasting with a beautiful drive up a winding road to a Vineyard called Moon Mountain. The first photo above was taken on the way and it was breathtaking to be completely surrounded by vineyard after vineyard. Although the Wine was alright, it was certainly not our favorite of the day... They do have a nice Winery with a big deck where you can take a glass of wine out there and view the the pretty scenery and the surrounding vineyard atop the mountain. It looked like a really cool place to have a party, which they did say they were apt to do...




Now our next stop was Little Vineyards...

What great little spot! We drove in and as you can see from the little building on the left, this place truly lived up to its name. For such a little vineyard, the wine and its proprietors were larger than life and super friendly. The Wines that they offer are Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Resonance and a Band Blend which was our favorite and it was a 2007 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Gold Medal Winner. The Band Blend even comes with a little CD. What was really cool was that Rich, the owner had this interesting instrument that he called the Stick (basically it's a guitar and bass in one and is played by tapping it) and he played as were tasting the Wines. He even let some of us try it. I don't know if I will be successful with this, but I have attempted to put the video of this below... Check it out.






After Little Vineyards, we went to Loxton Cellars...

Their main focus is Syrahs and Zinfandels, although they do offer a Chardonnay and a really great Port. The proprietor is Chris Loxton from Australia and was raised on a Shiraz vineyard in South Australia. When he moved to California, he had to adjust to the 'native' grape of Zinfandel. He founded Loxton in 1996 and we loved the Syrah and the Port. Definitely recommend this Winery for a quick stop in Sonoma if you are into Syrahs, Zins or Port...

Our last stop was a little hidden gem of a spot that is such that, which we happened upon completely on a funny little fluke... One of my companions has the last name Lee and this place is only open by appointment only. So he called them up that morning to make an appointment to stop by and initiates the conversation with a boisterous, 'What's up cuz!'. They have a brief exchange and after that we figured that we were all set. So after traversing Sonoma County going from Moon Mountain to Little Vineyard to Loxton, our fourth stop was C**** L** Vineyard. This place is not very easy to find, because there was no signage and all we had was the address. We hesitantly drive by it at first, unsure as to whether we were in the right place or just intruding on some random people's property. We drive up the short hill that is their driveway and are approached by a friendly couple.
They peek into our car and we ask if we are in the right place. They said yes and we are warmly welcomed and then led to the side patio/deck with an outdoor adobe-style kitchen overlooking their vineyard. It was decorated in a simple, yet elegant Southwestern theme with scattered cactus plants in large pots throughout and a couple of charming chimineas burning amid cloth umbrellas hovering over wooden tables & wicker chairs. It was a lovely setting reminiscent of New Mexico and Arizona.

So to continue with the story, after conversing with the couple and introducing ourselves, we quickly realize that the proprietor's name is not C**** L**, but in fact a combination of the couple's middle names. Their first names being Guy & Debbie. After we had a laugh over the mistaken coincidence, we were generously poured a tasting of all their wines and given little nibbles of a fabulous Truffle Cheese & Crackers to accompany. Mind you, I say generous which is almost an understatement, because they have a very small property, that is just a few acres.
As I said, this was truly a hidden little gem of a spot that I am hesitant to share with too many people, because you would only want to share it with your most favorite people if you know what I mean...


*So if you are interested in finding out the name of the this Vineyard & Winery, then shoot me an email and I will gladly share the details...

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