Category Archives: Wine Adventure Sonoma

Wine Adventure Sonoma

This is a shot in Dry Creek, taken on the driveway of a little bundle of wineries, namely Peterson and Papapietro Perry. It was incredible to be around ripe grapes and the harvest. Sonoma is an amazing place. Ten minutes outside Santa Rosa, you’re in wine country and very diverse one at that. When your palate gets tired of Pinot you can explore Zin, after that Cabernet Sauv. The dining wasn’t quite as good as Napa, but soon.    

Wine Adventure Sonoma


This is a pretty cool mural painted on the loading dock wall at Gundlach Bundschu Winery. A celebration of the harvest. Legendary producer, that has it’s roots in the viticultural history of California. One of the oldest wineries of the state, and one of the only wine caves that I saw in Sonoma. How romantic it is to leave the city, and reconnect with the Earth.    

Wine Adventure Sonoma


Rodney Strong is one of those brands thats been established for a long time, and the Merlot is on most everyone’s wine list. They snubbed me at the winery, could be just one angry tasting room employee thinking I was there for some free wine, which I was. What wineries like this sometimes forget because they are so high on the horse, is how many people I recommend wines to at the restaurant. I stopped at the winery with an open mind, never thought their wines were that great, but now because I tasted the mediocre Sav Blanc and stood there for 15 minutes unattended and left, can’t recommend much. They did have a huge check in the tasting room from the state of California for going solar and selling back energy, $21 million.    

Wine Adventure Sonoma


This is a shot from the Gloria Ferrar property on the Sonoma side of Carneros. Just over that ridgeline is Napa. They make some real nice sparkling wines, although it’s the only tasting room I visited that didn’t offer tastes of wine. You had to purchase glasses of wine to enjoy on there patio overlooking the property. As a representative of their product I didn’t have to pay, but they were pretty difficult about it.    

Wine Adventure Sonoma

This is a shot of Martinelli Winery, well really the underbelly of the winery. I was really excited to try their wines having had the Guiseppe and Louisa Zin in a blind tasting back in Sommelier class. 16.6% alcohol, don’t remember the vintage but I think was the 03. Monster of a wine, didn’t seem out of balance, there was just so much going on you didn’t detect the heat of the alcohol.
I tasted the 05 in the tasting room, 16.9%, wow, another monster, austere, young wine with a lot of power. The Lady in the tasting had a hand pump aerator, it works, if you don’t have one, decant everything you drink.    

Wine Adventure Sonoma

Way out there, in the one road Alexander Valley, emerged a California wine legend, Jordan. I bet if you polled a million wine enthusiasts, and I bet you might like to, more than half would say Jordan is located in Napa, and they would say it’s their third favorite, behind Caymus and Silver Oak. That’s called great marketing, and I need to learn a thing or two about that. Story goes this wealthy oil guy loves Bordeaux, but the French won’t let an American whatever buy a great house in Bordeaux. So a knowledgeable Sommelier in San Fran tasted Tom Jordan on a great Bordeaux blend from California. Awesome winery, this photo reflects the oil refinery magnitude of the place focused on cleanliness. But seriously, this is not hand crafted. Intelligently marketed, but often lacks depth of complexity to be as highly praised as it is. I have had wines from Jordan that I thought were exactly what I wanted from Cab Sauv, but often am not that thrilled. To make a dent in the world market you need to produce a serious amount of wine. The trick is having everyone like that wine.    

Wine Adventure Sonoma

I stopped into this winery because it was in a little village of boutique winery’s most notably Pappapietro Perry. I thought all the Bradford Mountain wines killed it, but the Gravity flow Syrah stood out the most. Dark, meaty, full of smoked bacon, and very well balanced. I thought at the time that it would be cool to blind taste this with some of the stand-out Syrah’s from Washington. I think it would surprise a lot of people. Certainly not cheap, but the quality is there. I haven’t heard back from the winery if they have attained distribution here in Washington. Seek out their wines.    

Wine Adventure Sonoma

This is a shot of a gnarly 90 year Zinfandel vine that sits 15 feet from the door to the tasting room of Ridge Lytton Springs. Our guide at the winery said these vines want to be put out of their misery, but they keep on milking the little bit of concentrated fruit the vines offer every year. In the tasting room, among several Ridge wines, we tried three different vintages of their York Creek, a Napa vineyard, up on Spring Mountain. Planted to 27 acres of 25-34 year-old Zinfandel, and 9 acres of 8-72 year-old petite sirah. It’s rare I get to try 03,04,05 single vineyard Zin and Petite Sirah blends. 04 was really muscular, which seems to be a trend, versus the sexy and elegant 05. They are extremely hospitable at Ridge.