Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Foodie Travels: Sonoma Wineries

Last week, with only a moment's notice, I decided to grab a last-minute flight and join my wife in Sonoma County, Calif., for a convention she was attending. If you don't know about Sonoma, think wine country next to Napa. So, I hopped on a flight, and about 7 hours and one connection later, I was in San Francisco International. YAAY! I know. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. :)

After meeting my wife at the airport and eating our way through San Francisco, we made it to the convention hotel. The next day, we joined her friend and headed up the road during some convention down-time to try some local wineries that distribute wines all the way to North Carolina. The next thing I knew, we were exploring the grounds of Chateau St. John. WOW, what a place!

The estate is gorgeous and HUGE. But in some ways its a little over-done. The wine-tasting room is easily larger than my entire house. It was stuffed with trinkets, books, hats, sweatshirts, and lots of wine displays --one display had over a thousand bottles of wine. The only thing missing was a water fountain filled with wine! (If you know the movie Sideways, think Frass Canyon.)

But that said, it WAS quite nice -- and the seating area outside was remarkable. LOTS of tables, chairs and umbrellas from Restoration Hardware were inviting us to stay, relax, and enjoy a bottle of Chardonnay.

Who am I to decline such gracious hosts??

So, the three of us sat back and relaxed for a little over an hour. Surrounded by rose bushes and vine-covered walls, while enjoying the warm sun and a cool breeze, we thoroughly enjoyed our first winery.

It should be noted that the Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay was perfect for the summer day. With hints of pear and apple, this slightly oaky chardonnay had an awesome finish of spices and clove. Light but not too light. Absolutely the perfect drink for the perfect afternoon.

More about the next winery, Blackstone, to come....

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