As you might expect, we visited a few wineries during our two day trip to Sonoma.
Kunde Family Vineyards – this was on our lone wine stop on Thursday (i.e. the longest day of our lives) and we made it there about 4:30p. We had an enjoyable tasting but nothing really striking. Since we knew there was no corkage fee at Fig Cafe we bought a bottle of the sauvignon blanc to have with dinner that night. Also note that this was the only place we visited that didn’t refund the tasting fee with purchase ($15).
Loxton – our first stop on Friday, we walked into the building and found ourselves in a room surrounded by wine barrels with a small tasting counter. Lisa hosted us and provided fun commentary during our free tasting. Truthfully, we liked most everything they were making. Most memorable for us was the nicely balanced Chardonnay and the well-priced Zinfandel. We’ll definitely return to this small vineyard on future trips.
Wellington Vineyards– We’d previously tried Wellington wines due to a deal on wine.woot.com, and since it was right next to Loxton it made a good second stop on Friday. They were offering a tasting of 5 wines for $5 which would be refunded with purchase (a setup we approve of). Eric liked the Gewurztraminer, with a lot of stone fruit, best while Leandra liked the Pinot noir and Syrah. They were also pouring an interesting white port which had a light dessert wine style. Besides the wine, we enjoyed our conversation with the two guys running the tasting who also provided us with suggestions for San Francisco places to eat, plus a 6-pack shipper and tape to help get our wine home!
Chataeu St.Jean Winery – probably the fanciest of the wineries we visited, Chateau St. Jean featured beautiful grounds with a formal garden and fountains.
Tasting is normally $15 per person but was comped due to our Visa Signature card! Here again we enjoyed our conversation with Jim, the pourer. Eric’s favorite was the surprise wine of the tasting, the 2011 Gewurztraminer. The reds were all perfectly drinkable according to Leandra.
Cline Cellars – our last stop on the way out, which was clearly the first stop for a good number of folks on the way in to Sonoma for the weekend. Their tasting counter had free tastings for their larger production wines while the specialty choices were $1/pour (refunded with purchase). Eric didn’t find the white wines that interesting, but Leandra found some lovely reds and settled on the Big Break Zinfindel and Ancient Vines Carignane to take home.
As with our previous Sonoma trip we had a great time tasting a variety of wines and talking to the people who clearly love what they are selling, all of which makes this one of our favorite US spots to visit.