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It’s a Northern Sonoma County must-visit! Wine, gardens, views for days, Quivira Winery, in the Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg, California, has all of the above and more. This property had just so much life peeking out  from every corner that you could spend an entire day checking out flowers and chickens and vegetables, not to mention stopping back in the tasting room for a sip of wine here or there.

We visited Quivira on the same day we visited Lambert Bridge and Truett Hurst, a hot, dry, perfect blue sky day, where splashes of cold Sauvignon Blanc went down a treat.

Quivira Winery, Healdsburg

Quivira is in a beautiful location in the Dry Creek Valley, surrounded by vineyards and trees, and there is something super calming and soothing about their property. The way it is laid out, with gardens all around and farm animals not far down (piglets!) is made for wandering, and the welcoming staff definitely encourage it.

Quivira Winery

summer flowers in wine country

The tasting room is bright and airy, and there were a couple of small, fun groups tasting wine and enjoying the day. There was such a nice vine in the room. As I said above, we went in and out of the tasting room, bringing our tastes out in the garden to soak up the sun. I think I maybe stored enough to get me through to January?

I was really loving mineral-y Sauvignon Blancs on this trip, bursts of lime, hints of grapefruit, mouthwatering acidity but also balance, like in Quivira’s Fig Tree Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. I’m also loving Mourvedre more and more and am excited to see it appearing on more California tasting lists. Like the tasting notes say this wine offered juicy dark cherries and more importantly, those pepper notes that I seek. I love when a wine hits my tongue and there is an immediately recognizable spice.

Quivira Winery tasting room

As you probably know, I will never turn down a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, and despite the heat (or maybe because of it) the 2011 Quest Zinfandel was amazing. A texture like velvet, and again, that spice, a bit of jam, yum.

The Wine Creek Ranch Dry Creek Valley Rosé wasn’t on the tasting we chose, but we got to have a taste anyway and ended up taking home a bottle of this GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blend.  It was perfect perfect perfect with the warm sunshine and dusty air. Strawberry notes dominated with subtle spice on the finish. This wine is sold out for a reason. It is the perfect summer wine.

Quivira practices biodynamic farming which is interesting, a little mystical sounding, and something I’d like to learn more about. Biodynamic farming involves the entire ecosystem of the vineyard and  results in the smallest carbon footprint possible. Their site offers a good bit of information on what biodynamic farming means and how each living thing on their property contributes to that.

Quivira Winery gardens

I probably sound by a broken record at this point, but we have visited a LOT of wineries in our travels, and Quivira is definitely one I would put at the top of your list for spending at least an hour at. The vibrancy of the property, its people, and of course, the wine all draw you in and make it so that you don’t want to leave. Then again, that’s Healdsburg for you.

Quivira Winery Quivira Winery gardens

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Tags: Healdsburg, Tasting Room, Travel, travel blog, wine, wine blog, wine country, wine lover, wine tasting, wine travel, Wine Wednesday, winery

There are a few repeat travel moments that give me butterflies just by thinking about them. One of the major ones is stepping out of customs in Shannon Airport after a Boston to Shannon flight, seeing family for the first time, and then stepping outside for our airplane-dried skin to be bathed in a fresh, light misty early morning air. The smell of turf and rain and jet fuel is etched in my memory, and it always makes me think “home”.

Another favorite moment is when we get to this crossroads on the way to Napa and Sonoma and make a left toward Gloria Ferrer and all of wine country. I feel like a world is opening up to me, like I close a door behind us for however long we are away. So much waits beyond that crossroads!

napa sonoma On our last Sonoma County trip, we decided to check out Cline Cellars as our very first winery. You may know how much we love Cline wines, especially our house Viognier, but somehow we always missed visiting the winery. Boy, was I glad we took the time to stop (And we were their first guests at 10:00 a.m.! Blame it on #EastCoastTime)

Cline Cellars

Cline is beautiful. The whole area of Sonoma County is stunning, but from the road it is impossible to tell how involved and lovely Cline’s property is. If visiting Cline Cellars, give yourself an hour to wander around before you taste.

Cline Cellars

Sonoma County vineyards Sonoma County vineyards

In addition to being surrounded by beautiful vineyards, Cline has exquisite gardens and ponds, one where you can even feed some very aggressive, large fish. I was like a kid again feeding them and the turtles around them. Cline also has a variety of interesting birds on property.

Cline Cellars property

 

pomegranates

Cline’s gardens are gorgeous. I loved all of the fruit and flowers and became more inspired for my next season of gardening. Their gardens were both wild and groomed, creating a perfect space of natural beauty, surrounded by the bigger beauty that is Sonoma County.

Cline Cellars garden

Of course, Cline’s wines are as beautiful as their gardens, and their staff is wonderful as well. Days before we arrived, Cline lost quite a bit of wine to the Napa earthquake, and they also had some bottles with damaged labels for sale.

Cline Cellars Earthquake Wine

It was their Ancient Vine Zinfandel, with a  gorgeous, intense burst of fruit and cocoa with a hint of pepper. Ancient vines are one of those things that make Cline so amazing. Kelli recommended I try the 2012 Ancient Vine Mourvedre which is seriously AMAZING. This wine is so rich and concentrated, lots of dark fruit and again those cocoa notes, which offer so much depth, slight sweetness, roasted flavors. Heavenly.

Peppery Syrah also made its way to my favorite list; we do love Cline’s white wines, quite obviously, but the morning we visited was before the fog lifted, and those deep dark reds were perfection. Cline Cellars tasting room

Cline Cellars is an iconic winery, one of those spots you could easily visit again and again for the scenery and people and to check out the latest vintage. Now that we know what resides up that long vineyard road from the highway, we will find it impossible to ever pass again on a Sonoma trip.

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Tags: Cline Viognier, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Sonoma wine, wine, wine tasting, wine travel, Wine Wednesday

 

Rodney Strong wine

Our recent trip to Sonoma and Napa included the chance to plan get togethers and have some random run ins with some of the very friendly people we have met on past trips. Since it was Sonoma Wine Country Weekend and an early harvest, the county was buzzing with busy people, but one evening event brought lots of people out to Rodney Strong Vineyards for some of their great wine, an excellent selection of beers, and a band that I can now count in our favorites.

Rodney Strong Vineyards

While the light and heat of our day of canoeing on the Russian River faded, we caught up with old friends and met new ones while listening to the Big Bang, an incredibly talented group of musicians who I wish toured on the East Coast! Pliny the Elder

Rodney Strong wines are always favorites, but the selection of beers at the event was pretty phenomenal, and we had the opportunity to sip Pliny the Elder, a sought-after beer that many East Coast friends were excited to see on my Facebook and Instagram feeds.

peach salad

A simple, excellent dinner of fresh salads and wood-fired pizzas provided the perfect bites to go along with the beer and to prep us for dancing. With the Big Bang in the house, you couldn’t NOT dance.Rodney Strong Vineyards events

A break between music sets and chatting found us on the cool lawn behind the winery with more local beer, this time from Lagunitas, the sun setting  on the vineyards behind us, and lots of grateful silence and being in the perfect moment.

Sonoma sunset

The sun said its goodbyes most gracefully, meeting the dark and twinkling stars on their way in. Temperatures dropped, and we moved closer to the fire for a couple of last songs before we were on our way. What a beautiful way to spend a summer weekend night in wine country!

Thank you to Rodney Strong Vineyards for having us by. We can’t wait to visit again soon!

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Tags: beer, events, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, wine, wine country, wine tasting, winery

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