07-29-2017, 10:00 AM
#1
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
User Info
We'll be in Sonoma, CA in a little over a week. I've booked the Wine Trolley for one day and am looking for other "sure bets." Any suggestions for activities and/or restaurants?

7 2,160
Reply
 07-29-2017, 10:04 AM
#2
  • EricM
  • Senior Member
  • Encinitas, CA
User Info
(07-29-2017, 10:00 AM)chazt Wrote: We'll be in Sonoma, CA in a little over a week. I've booked the Wine Trolley for one day and am looking for other "sure bets." Any suggestions for activities and/or restaurants?

If you can hit Cline and J wineries, both are great!  Amazing reds and good people!  Another nice one is Acorn.  Very small, limited production, the family works everything.  Super nice folks and also good wine that is not something you'll see on the grocery aisle. If you like Zin then Bella is very nice.  They have caves where they store their wine.  Real smooth.

Enjoy!!

48 976
Reply
 07-29-2017, 10:18 AM
#3
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
User Info
Cool, thanks for the tips, Eric. I'll check them out. There are so many to visit; I don't want to spin my wheels unnecessarily.

Iirc I've had wine from Cline and J wineries here in NYC.

Btw, what are your thoughts re: Bodega Bay, the coast, redwoods, etc.?

7 2,160
Reply
 07-29-2017, 10:24 AM
#4
User Info
I'm heavily biased, but a day trip down the 1 to Big Sur is a must. Hard to find a more beautiful drive. Definitely a very full day though.

0 648
Reply
 07-29-2017, 10:51 AM
#5
  • EricM
  • Senior Member
  • Encinitas, CA
User Info
A day trip to see the coast would be amazing.  Redwoods are also incredible!

48 976
Reply
 07-29-2017, 12:27 PM
#6
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(07-29-2017, 10:18 AM)chazt Wrote: Btw, what are your thoughts re: Bodega Bay, the coast, redwoods, etc.?

It is a two-hour drive to Willits via Cal 12 north to Calistoga, then NE on 128 to Cloverdale, then north on US 101.

Why Willits? It is the eastern terminus of the Skunk Train to Fort Bragg. https://www.skunktrain.com/

You will not forget the trip.

1 1,089
Reply
 07-29-2017, 01:01 PM
#7
User Info
From Sonoma you could take a drive out to Bodega Bay, stop in the town of Bodega and see where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds, and have some seafood on the coast. Then head up the beautiful coast a bit, turn in towards the Russian River, see some redwoods and head back to Sonoma. It wouldn't be too far and makes for a lovely day.

By the way Big Sur is pretty far away and there are landslides down there so I'm not sure how far you are able to go down Highway One- sorry Shane.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

10 1,673
Reply
 07-29-2017, 01:10 PM
#8
User Info
(07-29-2017, 01:01 PM)number six Wrote: From Sonoma you could take a drive out to Bodega Bay, stop in the town of Bodega and see where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds, and have some seafood on the coast. Then head up the beautiful coast a bit, turn in towards the Russian River, see some redwoods and head back to Sonoma. It wouldn't be too far and makes for a lovely day.

By the way Big Sur is pretty far away and there are landslides down there so I'm not sure how far you are able to go down Highway One- sorry Shane.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

You can still get down to the Big Sur Lodge area. That's good enough to get the most scenic portions of the drive. Should be about 4-4.5 hrs on the 1. Then you can save some time on the way back by taking the 101. Definitely a long day, but if you like road trips it's a winner.

0 648
Reply
 07-29-2017, 01:27 PM
#9
User Info
(07-29-2017, 01:10 PM)Blackland Razors Wrote: You can still get down to the Big Sur Lodge area. That's good enough to get the most scenic portions of the drive. Should be about 4-4.5 hrs on the 1. Then you can save some time on the way back by taking the 101. Definitely a long day, but if you like road trips it's a winner.


It is one of the most beautiful roads/places in the world. I'm due for a trip. Thanks for the reminder Shane.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

10 1,673
Reply
 07-29-2017, 01:48 PM
#10
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(07-29-2017, 10:18 AM)chazt Wrote: Cool, thanks for the tips, Eric. I'll check them out. There are so many to visit; I don't want to spin my wheels unnecessarily.

Iirc I've had wine from Cline and J wineries here in NYC.

Btw, what are your thoughts re: Bodega Bay, the coast, redwoods, etc.?

Although you can see some nice sequoia groves in Muir Woods near Mt. Tamalpias, if you really, really want the full sequoia sempervirens experience, you have to take US 101 north all the way to exit 663 (the exit number corresponds to the milepost on 101, 663 highway miles north of the Mexican border), to experience the Founders Grove.   Or, to put it in another context, you need to travel 151 miles north from where California 128 joins US 101, at Geyserville, near milepost 512.  

In the Founders Grove, you can walk alongside the fallen trunk of the Dyerville Giant, which fell in a windstorm in 1991; it is truly awe-inspiring.  Nearby is the Founders Tree, which for decades, until 1957, was believed to be the tallest living thing on earth; it may have been, because there remains debate whether a windstorm in the 1950s took a chunk off of the top.  (The title of tallest tree currently is held by the Hyperion tree, which is not far from the Founders Grove, but it requires a hike to reach Hyperion.)  

1 1,089
Reply
 07-29-2017, 05:28 PM
#11
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
User Info
(07-29-2017, 10:24 AM)Blackland Razors Wrote: I'm heavily biased, but a day trip down the 1 to Big Sur is a must. Hard to find a more beautiful drive. Definitely a very full day though.

It sounds like something I'd love to do, Shane. A number of folks have also suggested that. Must be gorgeous, I'm sue! It'll have to be for another trip though. Other than SF for Friday through Sunday, we're going to stay strictly in the Sonoma/Napa region.

(07-29-2017, 12:27 PM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(07-29-2017, 10:18 AM)chazt Wrote: Btw, what are your thoughts re: Bodega Bay, the coast, redwoods, etc.?

It is a two-hour drive to Willits via Cal 12 north to Calistoga, then NE on 128 to Cloverdale, then north on US 101.

Why Willits? It is the eastern terminus of the Skunk Train to Fort Bragg. https://www.skunktrain.com/

You will not forget the trip.

Thanks, Tom, but this too will have to wait for another trip. Too much car time for our one week away.

(07-29-2017, 01:01 PM)number six Wrote: From Sonoma you could take a drive out to Bodega Bay, stop in the town of Bodega and see where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds, and have some seafood on the coast. Then head up the beautiful coast a bit, turn in towards the Russian River, see some redwoods and head back to Sonoma. It wouldn't be too far and makes for a lovely day.

By the way Big Sur is pretty far away and there are landslides down there so I'm not sure how far you are able to go down Highway One- sorry Shane.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Chris, Bodega Bay is definitely somewhere I want to go!

7 2,160
Reply
 07-30-2017, 11:02 AM
#12
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
User Info
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, gents.

My wife's friend's husband has memberships at two wineries in Napa and has arranged for us to tour those facilities. It will be interesting to note the similarities and differences relative to Finger Lakes and Long Island wineries we've visited.

If anyone feels like adding other ideas, please do. Thanks again Smile

7 2,160
Reply
 08-24-2017, 07:47 PM
#13
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
User Info
(07-29-2017, 10:00 AM)chazt Wrote: We'll be in Sonoma, CA in a little over a week. I've booked the Wine Trolley for one day and am looking for other "sure bets." Any suggestions for activities and/or restaurants?

Update: We never made it to Bodega Bay. Another time... Some highlights in no particular order;

The landscape is beautiful and serene. Not quite "Alaska majestic" but Outrageously Spectacular. Hills, mountains, valleys and about a bajilliion vines, everywhere you look pretty much. I could be very happy living in this area.

We stayed in the Rennaisance Lodge in Sonoma. It's highly recommended by the Family chazt.

We rented a car which was key for getting around. The hardest thing to adjust to was being super mindful of pedestrians. Californians actually STOP when pedestrians want to cross the street. Being a native and lifelong NYer I'm (we're) conditioned to 'cars are big, heavy and fast. If you want to cross the street safely, wait until the coast is clear.' I mean, who wants to get hit by a car?

The Sonoma Wine Trolley: great fun, all day. Our driver was friendly and knowledgeable. The "trolley" is a (I want to say) bus that's been converted to resemble an old time cable car. There were eleven of us altogether. By the end of the day we were fast friends with the other folks on the trip. A picnic style lunch was served - prepared by a famous Sonoma eatery, Girl and Fig. The trolley took us to 4 wineries, 3 of which we liked. One in particular, Paradise Ridge, made some very drinkable wines so we joined their Club. Their tasting was a real adventure. It was a private tasting just for our group. Lasted a good hour and a half. The director is a chef who experiments with how different foods affect the taste of the wine. She did some amazing things with chocolate. This was the last stop of the day. Btw, this particular tour is done on Tuesdays and Thursdays. M,W,F they go to different places. My wife and daughter liked Paradise Ridge's Sauvignon Blanc, and they had a sparkling red Zin that was most enjoyable. The tour also took us to Beringer which was a beautiful, beautiful place, and one of the finest winery tours we've ever done. Their wines didn't blow me away enough to buy however. Plus, I can get them here.

Be advised there's also the Sonoma Wine Train. Totally different experience. It looks spectacular and we will definitely do this on our next trip. Oh, and both Train and Trolley operate in Napa as well as Sonoma.

Armstrong Woods: a redwood forest! Nothing else needs to be said. Except if you want to break into This Land is Your Land Wink

Dining: this vacation was obviously not an all-inclusive so we paid for all meals independently. Our faves were Della Santina, Cafe La Hay and El Dorado Kitchen. All in the town of Sonoma. We also went to a restaurant in Santa Rosa, Cricklewood, for their French onion soup. Years ago on the Food Network, Guy Fieri raved about the soup, "the best I ever ate," so we wrote it down, and now finally went. FOS is one of my wife's "if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life" dishes. It did not disappoint. There were obviously many more places we dined, but these were our gustatory highlights.

Oh, getting back to wineries, a friend of ours has been a member of 2 very special wineries, Jos. Phelps and Williams-Selyem. He arranged private tours for us. Williams-Selyem specializes in Pinot Noir. I love Pinot Noir. We joined their wine club, too. Sooo good...

Like I said, these were highlights. I can heartily recommend each and every one of them.

7 2,160
Reply
 08-24-2017, 08:49 PM
#14
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(08-24-2017, 07:47 PM)chazt Wrote: Oh, getting back to wineries, a friend of ours has been a member of 2 very special wineries, Jos. Phelps and Williams-Selyem. He arranged private tours for us. Williams-Selyem specializes in Pinot Noir. I love Pinot Noir. We joined their wine club, too. Sooo good...

Anywhere in California, even Sonoma, is too far south for Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noir is the wine of Burgundy, north and cold, in France.  The only North American wines that have competed well against Burgundian pinots noirs in French competitions are Oregon wines, the best from the Red Hills subregion of Yamhill County.  (OTOH, generally avoid Oregon cabernet sauvignon, made from grapes that thrive on warmer, drier climates.)  Columbia Gorge -- eastern Washington -- cabernet sauvignon offerings can be surprisingly good, but the climate of the eastern Columbia Gorge (Maryville eastward) is more like the Central Valley of California than the climate of Oregon west of the Cascades.

The under-the-radar winner in the Sonoma Valley is Cabernet Franc.  The estate formerly owned by the late Raymond Burr (TV's Perry Mason) produces an especially rewarding Cabernet Franc.

1 1,089
Reply
 08-25-2017, 03:55 AM
#15
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
User Info
(08-24-2017, 08:49 PM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(08-24-2017, 07:47 PM)chazt Wrote: Oh, getting back to wineries, a friend of ours has been a member of 2 very special wineries, Jos. Phelps and Williams-Selyem. He arranged private tours for us. Williams-Selyem specializes in Pinot Noir. I love Pinot Noir. We joined their wine club, too. Sooo good...

Anywhere in California, even Sonoma, is too far south for Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noir is the wine of Burgundy, north and cold, in France.  The only North American wines that have competed well against Burgundian pinots noirs in French competitions are Oregon wines, the best from the Red Hills subregion of Yamhill County.  (OTOH, generally avoid Oregon cabernet sauvignon, made from grapes that thrive on warmer, drier climates.)  Columbia Gorge -- eastern Washington -- cabernet sauvignon offerings can be surprisingly good, but the climate of the eastern Columbia Gorge (Maryville eastward) is more like the Central Valley of California than the climate of Oregon west of the Cascades.

The under-the-radar winner in the Sonoma Valley is Cabernet Franc.  The estate formerly owned by the late Raymond Burr (TV's Perry Mason) produces an especially rewarding Cabernet Franc.

Tom, thank you for replying. I wasn't and am not really interested in Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. They don't thrill me as does Pinot Noir. As with most things shave related I've learned that wine too is a big YMMV. No offense intended at all to those wines, or the people who enjoy them. My mouth likes the pinot noir produced in the Russian River Valley. I have a decided preference for new world style pinots. This is the result of many years and bottles of wine from the pinot producing regions of the world. Although Oregon is closer to the latitude of Burgundy, I'm unimpressed with that. Always one to be open-minded I do indeed occasionally purchase other offerings from France, Oregon, Washington State, New Zealand and South America. Btw, did you know that even Israel grows pinot noir grapes? Not a fan, but I have had wines from two Israeli pinot producers. Every sampling from the above mentioned regions reinforces my preference for RRV wines. In fact, there's even an AVA further south, in California's Central Coast region, the Arroyo Grande Valley, that is home to another of my preferred pinots noirs, Talley Winery.

Razor blades or grapes, it's all just personal preference. Cheers! Biggrin

7 2,160
Reply
 08-25-2017, 07:22 AM
#16
User Info
Great update Charlie.  Glad you had a good time.  Sonoma is a great place to visit!

17 1,432
Reply
 08-25-2017, 08:58 AM
#17
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
User Info
(08-25-2017, 07:22 AM)wreck | fish Wrote: Great update Charlie.  Glad you had a good time.  Sonoma is a great place to visit!

Thanks, Tom. I haven't been to all that many places on Earth, but I feel that Sonoma is up there with Alaska as a really far out place to experience. I'm anxiously awaiting our next trip there. But first, Iceland. Or Ireland.

7 2,160
Reply
 08-25-2017, 04:14 PM
#18
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(08-25-2017, 03:55 AM)chazt Wrote: I wasn't and am not really interested in Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc.

I'm with you on the Cabernet Sauvignon:  sometime — it seems like a long time ago now — it became the standard base varietal for the so-called “International Style” of red wines, and every day, it seems as if some winery comes out with a new offering that is just like every other, and the already overcrowded pack of Cabernat Sauvignons comprise wines that grow ever more similar to each other with less and less to distinguish any one from any other.  The only eye-opening Cabernet Sauvignon that I have tasted in recent years was a Chilean wine from Underraga; it was, well, different from the crowd, and very good.

Cabernet Franc, OTOH, perhaps ironically due to its relative unpopularity (except in the Veneto region) and obscurity (except in the Veneto region), tends, in France and in California, to be the winemaker's little pet project and private reserve, and when I tour wineries, I always feel that I am being let in on a private secret when I get to taste a Cabernet Franc.


(08-25-2017, 03:55 AM)chazt Wrote: They don't thrill me as does Pinot Noir. As with most things shave related I've learned that wine too is a big YMMV. No offense intended at all to those wines, or the people who enjoy them. My mouth likes the pinot noir produced in the Russian River Valley. I have a decided preference for new world style pinots.

I am not sure what you mean by “new world style pinots.”  To the extent that Oregon wines have a reputation beyond the state's borders, that reputation is largely based on pinot noir, and the best Oregon pinots noirs, by all accounts, are from the area around the small town of Dundee in Yamhill County.  As sheer improbable chance wouldhave it, I read the post to which I am replying now after returning from a day trip down to our favorite Dundee winery, Winter's Hill:  a snapshot from today:  

[Image: apD0N9x.jpg]

The Dundee subregion pinots noirs, such as those that we sampled today (produced from Pommard and Type 114 and Type 115 cultivars), tend to be very much lighter (less body) than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc.  The predominant wine shop pinots noirs that I have tasted from other American production regions have tended to come — thanks to that execrable motion picture Sideways — mostly from Paso Robles, and (at least all that I have tasted) are very thick and jammy.  Frankly, I cannot recall ever tasting a wine of any varietal that was sourced from Paso Robles that I liked at all.  As you say, and I agree, YMMV, or degustibus non disputandum est.  I grew up in the Bay Area, and used to spend large portions of my summers at a place on the Russian River maybe a mile from where the Hop Kiln Winery is today, but our visits to Sonoma wineries in the 21st Century have been guided by our son and his wife, whose recreational time is heavily invested in Sonoma wineries, where they own several “memberships,” and I have never been offered a pinot noir to taste at any of those wineries, so I cannot assess whether Russian River Valley pinots noirs are more akin to the Oregon style than to the yucky Paso Robles style.


(08-25-2017, 03:55 AM)chazt Wrote: Btw, did you know that even Israel grows pinot noir grapes?

No, but I did note that Israel (and Idaho and Illinois and Iowa) had been left off of your listing of places starting with the letter I that you hope to visit soon.   Angel


(08-25-2017, 03:55 AM)chazt Wrote: Razor blades or grapes, it's all just personal preference. Cheers! Biggrin

Yes, we agree.

1 1,089
Reply
 08-25-2017, 05:08 PM
#19
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
User Info
Tom, I always enjoy reading your posts, and this is no exception.

Re: Cabernet Franc; I do want to try more of them. But as we know they're not widely distributed. Certainly though, if I put in the effort I can certainly find at least a handful that will please my palate. My rationale for not seeking them out with more diligence is simply the easy availability of pinot noir, which as we know just knocks my socks off.

"New world style" refers to the more fruit forward characteristic of California pinots - "jammier" as you said. As the growing conditions in OR and WA more closely resemble those in Burgundy, those wines tend to be dryer, lighter and earthier than their CA brethren.

To quote Pfc. Pyle, "For shame, for shame." No one has offered you a glass of pinot noir on your winery tours? It's time to take matters into your own hands, Sir!

Re: ID, IL and IA. I've not had any wines produced in those states. In fact I've never seen one offered for sale in the NY tristate area.

You've parsed my travel bucket list, btw. I want to visit every nation that begins with the letter "I." Don't ask me why, I just do Smile

7 2,160
Reply
 08-26-2017, 06:55 AM
#20
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
User Info
(08-25-2017, 05:08 PM)chazt Wrote: Re: ID, IL and IA. I've not had any wines produced in those states. In fact I've never seen one offered for sale in the NY tristate area.

You've parsed my travel bucket list, btw. I want to visit every nation that begins with the letter "I." Don't ask me why, I just do Smile

Another nation that begins with the letter “I” is Italy, which my bride and I have enjoyed visiting; unlike Iceland and Ireland, Italy produces great red wines, a big factor in our enjoyment of our visits.   Aaaaa

Speaking of which, the past few months, I have been exploring Ciliegiolo, a really hard-to-find varietal red; in the samples that I have tasted, it boasts of a very high quality-to-price ratio.  Most of the current production comes from the area around Scansano, in the Maremma region of southwest Toscano, but Ciliegiolo is distinctly different from (and personally I find it preferable to) the much more widely distributed Morellino di Scansano.


[Image: MCr1uzG.jpg] [Image: axd28IN.jpg]

1 1,089
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)