Welcome to California Wine Country!
There is just something about this area that keeps me wanting to come back for more. I know, I've said that before, but... it's true! Last time we were there it was for a full week which was really the perfect amount of time. Well, actually, it's never enough time but we were able to do & see quite a bit with a week. I am so looking forward to another quick visit coming up in September, but for now, I can share what I've seen so far. Hope this post entices you to visit if you have not already been! :)
Although the Redwood National Forest is a hefty 5 hours away from the Valleys you can still spot these majestic beauties if you take a drive towards the Coast. For a day trip make your way from the Alexander to Anderson Valley towards Mendocino then take the 101 back down to Jenner to cruise through Guerneville, Sebastopol, and the Russian River Valley.
Enjoying the drive.
Oakville Grocery just off the historic town square of Healdsburg. Absolutely loved this place! Where else can you get a sandwich and a local glass of wine to go?!? Shop here for picnic supplies and tasty gourmet grocery items. When you have made your selections you can find a spot to sit outside.
Next stop: Taste of Terroir now located at Deloach Vineyards. This was a fantastic experience recommended to us by some good friends of ours. The concept is more or less a "tête-à-tête" using the pinot noir grape. We blind tasted pinot noirs comparatively, having to guess which ones were from their California property and which were from the Boisette Winery in France. Very fun for a wine nerd like myself.
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), St. Helena. The first time I visited this place, I completely fell in love. A Culinary school in the middle of California Wine Country? Yes, please! This place is beautiful and offers the Wine Spectator campus Restaurant, an Illy Bakery Cafe, and the fantastic Spice Islands Marketplace for all your cooking and baking needs. Awesome.
Healdsburg is an artsy little town with lots of class. If you like art AND wine, then you will like it here.
Displays of soil samples for different grape varietals at Studio Barndiva, Healdsburg, Sonoma.
Chateau Montelena's prized bottle of Chardonnay. This bottle signifies an epic event that helped shape the California wine industry into what it is today. If you don't know about this event you can watch the movie Bottle Shock. A fun little film, just make sure you're drinking some wine while you watch.
The beautiful swans of Chateau Montelena.
The casual dining scene at Auberge Bistro & Bar. Until I can afford to stay at this resort I will "settle" for dining at its bistro. Fabulous cocktails and great food. The resort also has a fine dining restaurant adjacent to the bistro. Make it there for sunset!
View of the valley from Auberge du Soleil.
Bistro Jenty, Yountville. Having worked at Disney I thought this place was so cute. If you have been to Yountville, you would probably agree that the whole place has a very Disney feel to it. Disney for Wine Lovers, why not? :)
Sushi sampling at Morimoto, Napa. These tempura shrimp with asparagus rolls were the best!
Go big or go home... I went for the whole roasted lobster "épice" with garam masala and lemon crème Fraîche and was so glad I did.
Vineyard views from Cuvaison Estate Wines, Carneros, Sonoma. Since I met the President of this estate back at a California wine event 4 years ago I have been a big fan of their wines. I had a fabulous time on the terrace of their brand new Carneros tasting room overlooking the vineyards. There is a second tasting room at the historic winery location in Calistoga as well which also offers a shaded picnic area.
If you are planning on visiting the area and would like some recommendations for where to eat and where to stay please see my other site here.
Happy summertime everyone! :)