Three days of tasting, just a little info ...
We did not pay any tasting fees, but did make a purchase at each place we stopped. We are not interested in fancy grounds & buildings. We enjoy a great bottle of red wine at a decent (most under $35) price. It's easy to like $75 bottles of wine, harder to find a great one at $25. Here is where we spent our time, we flew in & out of Sacramento. Stayed 2 nights in Healdsburg, one in Sonoma.
Day 1 – wonderful day, Spent afternoon in Healdsburg Plaza
Stopped at Vezer's in Suisun valley on the way. Nice family owned winery. Bought ‘06 Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Headed to Healdsburg via Silverado Trail, long rainy drive. Stopped in town at Toad Hollow (just to make mother in law jealous), reasonably priced wines, great host. Jim was a lot of fun, very enjoyable. Recommended we go to Hawley just around the corner. Took home two 06 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir & one 07 Paso Robles Zinfandel.
Hawley, loved all the Reds! Small family owned, mom, sons & everyone was there! Joined their wine club, had great time! Took home an 05 Cab, 07 Pinot, 08 Pinot, & 09 Zinfandel. Three of the bottles were Russian River Valley which tends to be our favorite.
Both Toad Hollow & Hawley recommended, Portalupi, great place! The owners were there, had a great relaxed tasting, so knowledgeable and entertaining! Best tasting of the day! Bought our first Barbera and an 07 Zinfandel. Their olive oils were great also.
Day 2 – Santa Rosa Area
Headed out early (still on central time) to Rodney Strong. Largest place we visited. Nice tasting, more formal than most, but we were the only ones there so enjoyed tasting while visiting with them. Bought 08 Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Had an early lunch then headed to appointment at Novy/Siduri in Santa Rosa. Love their Pinot Noir, only place that we revisited from last trip. Wine was good, tasting wasn’t as fun as first time, but maybe we already had heard the info. Brought home a couple of Siduri Pinot’s & Novy Syrah & Zin, both Russian River Valley.
The girl at Novy/Siduri recommended Hook & Ladder. Wine okay, tasting not too fun, bought Russian river Valley Cab.
Didn’t have appointment, but called & walked in to Pellegrini. Great stop! Linda was great to tell us about the wines & vineyards & take us through a great tasting. Joined their wine club & brought home two bottles of the 08 Carignan (our first try of this one), an 06 Malbec (again a first), and an 08 Russian River Valley Pinot. Can’t wait for our May shipment! Linda told us a few other stops we needed to make in Healdsburg, so we headed back that way.
Headed back to Healdsburg, ran into Seghesio for a quick tasting. Looking for their Rockpile Zin, but sold out. Took home an 05 Zinfandel.
Stopped back in plaza to try the Hawley Viognier that everyone is raving about & took a 09 Viognier (only white of entire trip) bottle to take home.
Day 3 – Sight seeing & driving around most of day.
Made only 2 stops this day, our cases were about full!
Walked into Enkidu, next to Paradise Ridge (while we were waiting for their group to clear out). Nice wines & tasting, we left with an 09 Sonoma Coast Pinot.
Went to Paradise Ridge in Kenwood, they were getting ready for a tour group to stop, so we had an early dinner to wait until they left. Group finally cleared out of Paradise Ridge, I was ready to try the Rockpile Zin I had been hearing about. It was great! Took and 07 Convict Rockpile Zin & 06 Elevation Rockpile Cab. Great tasting, lots of fun. Should have joined their wine club. Liked all the Reds we tried.
We were supposed to stay in a Guesthouse on West Dry Creek Road for 2 nights, but a storm took out the power the morning we arrived. So we stayed at the Dry Creek Inn (Best Western) in the new rooms. It was nice, clean & very comfortable. Prices were great, saved about $100 between our two nights (which is good, since I bought so much wine!) Our last night we drove to Sonoma and stayed at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Beautiful rooms & grounds, very nice. Stayed in the Suites, so had a great room.
All in all, great trip! Rainy & cool, but oh well, we still had a great time! Thanks for all the help from the forums. Made planning a breeze! Main place that I think we missed was Chris Loxton in Glen Ellen. Definitly first visit for next trip!