May 4, 2011

Destination: Sonoma Valley

On Sunday, we continued our wine country adventure by heading into Sonoma Valley.  We began the morning stopping at a coffee stand we saw on the side of the road.  Bo’s Brew was a cute little trailer where we grabbed a couple of hot bevies and breakfast burritos.

Inside look at our breakfast trailer!

How could we resist this adorable coffee trailer?!?
After we finished eating, we headed to Korbel California Champagne. I mean, what’s wrong with sampling some “bubbles” first thing in the morning??!  Neither of us had been to a champagne winery, so we were really looking forward to learning the champagne process on the tour.  The grounds are spectacularly shaded by 200 year old redwoods and beautiful greenery.  Korbel offers a free tour a few times a day which includes free champagne tasting at the end of the tour.  We learned about the wide variety of champagne Korbel produces, a lot about the fermentation process (if you are squeamish, you may rather not know about what had been growing in your bottles), and how the bottles were formerly hand corked.  The Organic Brut was my favorite champagne we tasted.

200 year old redwoods

Such variety!

The Organic Brut was my favorite

We hit the road after Korbel and headed into the Russian River Valley.  This area is so luscious and green.  The windy roads reminded me of the Tuscan road trip we recently took.  Our first stop was Thomas George Estates.  They have the cutest guest cottages on the estate and plenty of shaded picnic areas to plop down, cork some wine and relax.  The girls in the cave were very knowledgeable about their wines and eager to help us stock up.  Their pinot noir is so INSANE that we brought home two bottles (not to discount the other three bottles we took to the car as well!).  I’m looking forward to heading back to Thomas George Estates as an overnight guest.
One lane bridge, we had to take turns crossing

Thomas George Estates

Wine cave

Picnic area

Hop Kiln winery was the last tasting we hit on Sunday. The grounds are beautiful and the old fashioned barn tasting room is so unique compared to the castle-esque and overly majestic tasting rooms at some of the wineries we visited in Napa.  The guys behind the counter were really nice.  The tasting room had a bunch of décor for sale and an entire mustard bar.  The Hop Kiln chef cooked up some brisket sliders to pair with their pinot noir sample we tasted.

Hop Kiln

Chef preparing sliders to pair with the tasting.  Notice all the mustard!

Pond behind the bar
Tasting area
Our last stop was Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar in Healdsburg.  I can’t say enough about the food we had there, so I’m going to post those thoughts and pics in my next post.  Stay tuned!!
Napa vs. Sonoma, which do you prefer?  Do you know why Korbel can call their sparkling wine Champagne??  I’d love to know your thoughts!!

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