Dry Creek Valley

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Rosé is always in season in this house. While I curse the weather outside, I can sit by the fire with a glass of summer, cozy, warm, and dreaming of boating and wine country. It doesn’t hurt that Rosé is so good with food. This past long weekend we made tuna steaks with a delicious ginger sesame sauce (recipe to come) and I thought a bottle from the Dry Creek Valley would be a nice throwback to our last visit to Sonoma County.

Martorana Rose of Zinfandel This 2014 Martorana Family Winery Rosé of Zinfandel was the perfect pairing for the tuna. Dry, with lots of fresh mineral/stone notes and a hint of strawberry, for me this was the perfect style of Rosé. Not only was it delicious, but it went really well with the hearty tuna steaks and the spice and saltiness of the marinade.

The wine also brought back great memories of visiting their friendly tasting room on a scorching hot late summer day, a day where we also visited Truett Hurst for a glass of wine by the river. Bliss.

Healdsburg Truett Hurst Martorana wine tasting Sonoma County wine country

For other Dry Creek Valley wine posts:

Lambert Bridge Winery

Amista Vineyards

Dry Creek Valley (a VERY old post!)

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Tags: Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, Travel, wine, wine of the week, wine tasting

Sonoma’s hidden gem was a little bit hard to find, but as we wound our way through the Dry Creek Valley, we had not a care in the world. Lambert Bridge was a recommendation from Erica, and it was an awesome one. I love getting winery recommendations from wine-loving friends; it’s the best way to plan your trip!

For some of my wine country experiences, please do visit my Travel Blog Posts page!

We visited Lambert Bridge on Labor Day, and it was the perfect start to a day of wine tasting. We left our little wine country home and headed to Dry Creek Valley, one of my favorite wine regions I have visited.

Dry Creek Valley

California was in a drought when we visited, so everything was dry. Aside from the water emergency, the landscape looked cool in its sun-baked state, with green grape vines taking up huge swaths of landscape. The earth and the vines and the harvest process, crush, all of that, filled the air and smelled so good.

Dry Creek Valley

Northern Sonoma Countywine country foliage

It took us a while to find Lambert Bridge as our GPS lost signal and we went the wrong way. We opened an old fashioned map and luckily didn’t give up. The journey was well worth it.

Lambert Bridge has a gorgeous winery tasting room, with lots of dark wood and stone. The tasting room reflects their wines, big, high quality, with a lot of attention to detail.

Lambert Bridge Winery

The tasting room staff was great; they were very informative about the wines, letting us know how winemaker Jennifer Higgins is incredibly hands on, spending lots of time with the grapes and on the land and doing a ton of the winemaking prep process by hand. Lambert Bridge makes small lots of wine that involves lots of hand-picking and sorting grapes berry-by-berry. There’s clearly a lot of love in the wines, and while that is also reflected in the cost, a few bottles for a special occasion are just the souvenir.

wine tasting at Lambert Bridge

We tasted a bit of this and that from each of the tasting options, starting off with the most refreshing 2013 Bevill Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, THE perfect wine for the hot dry Sonoma County day. With citrus and clover notes, this wine tasted like Northern California in a glass. Crisp acidity made it really enjoyable.

Zinfandel and Cab Franc were center stage in the tasting for us. Despite the heat, these reds were perfection.

2011 Sonoma County Cabernet Franc was a treat, with that characteristic Cab Franc spice, funk, and berry notes. Cab Franc is like a an autumn walk in the forest, smelling crunchy leaves and smoke from fireplaces, mixed with super ripe berries. It’s such an amazing grape, and I love tasting Cab Franc from coast to coast.

2011 Forchini Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel was another favorite, big and bursting with jammy raspberry and blueberry notes, along with vanilla and spice, balanced, with a long and lovely finish. I love Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, and this one is definitely top of the list.

Lambert Bridge Winery  Lambert Bridge has a lovely property, ideal for a wander or  a seat outside with a taste of wine. It is really a top-of-the-list winery, and if you will be in Northern Sonoma County, I recommend a visit.

Lambert Bridge

Will you be celebrating Wine Wednesday today?

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Tags: Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Travel, wine, wine blog, wine lover, wine tasting, wine travel, winery

If you missed part one of our Savor Healdsburg Food Tour, you can check it out here.

After SHED, we headed to the Williamson Wines tasting room on the Healdsburg Plaza. We had tasted here before, but I was excited to sit down and taste wine with our fun group. I always love tasting wine with new people; it’s fun to discuss what we get from the wines as well as likes and dislikes.

What I love most about the Williamson tasting room is that they have a food and wine pairing experience. Each wine is paired with a little bite, which you are meant to try alone and again with the wine to see how the flavors are brought out in each. It’s really fun, like a little food and wine pairing light bulb goes off with each taste.

Williamson Wines

In total, we did six food and wine pairings at Williamson, and while I loved them all and could write about them all, I’ll share the highlights to hopefully keep your interest. Smile  Maybe I should start doing wine tasting “outtakes” to include those I loved but didn’t feature? Blog writing for days!

A few Williamson Wines pairing favorites:

Chantilly Chardonnay with a Mango Stilton Cheese – the gentle butterscotch notes and lemon meringue-y notes in the wine were great on their own. The fruit in the cheese brought out more fruit notes in the wine, and as with all the cheeses, a little saltiness made for a memorable (in a good way) contrast.

Enchant Trinity GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) – The wine is fruit and spice and luxurious texture, a fireplace wine for sure. It was paired with pure heaven: Dubliner Irish Cheddar, Balsamic Garlic Jam, and Truffle Salt. How good does that sound?! The spices in the wine and the earthiness of the little snack were perfection. This wine is recommended for big dishes like pot roast and short ribs, which I plan on mastering this winter.

Seduce Cabernet Sauvignon – This Dry Creek Valley Cab is fruitier than its Napa Valley counterpart and lacks those sometimes over-the-top mouth-drying tannins. The pairing was a piece of Dubliner topped with blue cheese, pecan, and honey. Since the wine had such nice fruit, the nuttiness and saltiness of the blue cheese was a tasty contrast, and the honey brought out the natural juiciness of the fruit. Yum.

wine and food pairing

We didn’t want to leave Williamson; it’s a great, comfortable tasting room on Healdsburg Plaza, well worth a visit. It turned out to be a good thing that we moved on though, as our next stop may be my new favorite Healdsburg restaurant.

 

Bravas Healdsburg

Bravas Bar de Tapas is so much fun. They have a gorgeous outdoor seating area and bar and space for making huge pans of paella. We kicked our time at Bravas off with their white sangria; it was well into the 90’s, and this drink was pure refreshment. I loved the little hint of bitter from the grapefruit!

At Bravas things got even more festive! We shared plates of Cider Braised Chorizo and Padron Peppers, a Watermelon and Tomato Salad, and a Tostada with Onions, Raisins, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic, which is basically the best thing ever. Crunchy, salty, creamy, sweet, this tapa had us all swooning. Everything was so delicious, and the California sun did not hurt! I can already tell each Healdsburg visit will include time at Bravas.

Bravas Healdsburg

Bravas Healdsburg

Our final stop was Moustache Baked Goods for our choice of a sweet treat to end the food tour. We were all stuffed from the goodness we got to try throughout the afternoon, and I think every last one of us got dessert to go.

meyer lemon cupcakes

maple spice and bacon cupcakes

Moustache Baked Goods

I decided to go with the Dry Creek Peach because I love the Dry Creek Valley, and the peaches were in season and perfection. The cupcake was pretty amazing and left me wishing we had left with a box. This is another place I will visit again.

I love how this food tour opened our eyes to so many Healdsburg businesses we hadn’t met before. Savor Healdsburg Food Tours offers a couple of different options, and I will be taking the other tour on our next trip.

Many thanks to Tammy for hosting us and making our day so delicious and special!

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Tags: Bakeries, Caliornia, Dry Creek Valley, Food, food tour, Healdsburg, Healdsburg food tour, Restaurants, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Tasting Room, wine country, wine pairings, wine tasting, winery

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