Sonoma County

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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

Labor Day weekend is an amazing time to visit Sonoma County. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend PR and social media was something I worked on this summer, for full disclosure, but blogging about it is not part of the job at all. I just happened to find Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Estate Vineyards so impressive, beautiful, and filled with delicious food and wine opportunities that I had to share.

As the name suggests Taste of Sonoma takes place at MacMurray Estate Vineyards, also often referred to as MacMurray Ranch, the former home of actor Fred MacMurray. And it is stunning. The property is only open to the public once a year, for this event, so that in itself makes it special. Since I was traveling with the media, I got to tour the house, and it was so charming and lovely that I may have to write a post about it.

Taste of Sonoma is truly that, a place where you can sample the wine and food of Sonoma County all in one place. Wine and food are organized in tents by appellation so you can visit your favorites and discover new ones, comparing and contrasting grapes and characteristics between AVAs.

Taste of Sonoma runs from 11:00 – 4:00, which is a good thing, because there is so much to see, do, taste, and learn. I was impressed at the number of seminars and experiences available in addition to the tasting tents, which could keep you occupied for the entire day on their own. It’s all incredibly organized, and the layout is spacious and aesthetically pleasing. You can’t go wrong with spending a day surrounded by vineyards and redwood trees

Below, you can take a trip through Taste of Sonoma with just a few of the hundreds of photos I captured on this beautiful day. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend happens every Labor Day weekend; start planning your travel now!

 

heirloom tomatoes Sonoma

Sonoma County Marketplace features some of the high quality ingredients Sonoma County chefs love, with the opportunity to taste and purchase on site.

Taste of Sonoma

Grape to Glass was one of the educational seminars that was a huge hit. Attendees learned about sustainable winegrowing and winemaking in Sonoma County and also got to taste fresh-from-the-vine grapes along with grapes in the glass as wine. Pretty neat!

chilled corn soup

Food samples were in serious abundance, and with the hot summer weather, chilled soups were popular. Corn soup and gazpacho (from Woodfour Brewing Company, which I will have a separate post on) were both popular choices, as was the pork belly served up by the Jimtown Store. What made the sampling at this event so fun were the suggested pairings in the tents; planners took the guesswork out so that tasters could maximize the deliciousness of the wine and food. What grows together goes together!

Woodfour Brewing Company
Jimtown Store  pork belly Peloton CateringTaste of Sonoma

 

Those who opted for the Grand Reserve tickets had access to Club Reserve, a quieter area set off to the side where winemakers were pouring some of their limited production wines, a rare treat and a space that was buzzing with conversation and tasting throughout the day.

Reserve tentpaella

 

The Main Stage at the event was devoted to some of the amazing chefs in Sonoma County including Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Culinary Chair Mark Stark owner of, among others, the beloved Willi’s Wine Bar, the must-visit Bravas, and soon-to-be-opened Bird & the Bottle, which I can’t wait to try on my next visit. The Paella Guy Chef Jose Castaneda was also one of the Sonoma Stars on Stage, in addition to having a tent where he was cooking massive pans of paella.

 

 

Taste of Sonoma

wine pairing with Kendall Jackson Pairing with the Pros by Kendall-Jackson showcased their great food and wine pairing program, one that I got to experience at their estate when I visited in June. The sensory garden at Kendall-Jackson is incredibly beautiful and alone a reason to visit. Taste of Sonoma offered a nice peek into the garden experience with an area devoted to the beautiful herbs, food, and flowers that is grown on the property.

food and wine pairings

 

Kendall Jackson Sensory Garden Kendall Jackson Garden

 

There was so much more to Taste of Sonoma than I could capture in one blog post. Guests were welcomed with a Gloria Ferrer Bubble Lounge featuring oysters and caviar. There were Wine Tours with Sommelier Stars, Wine Talks in the Wine Barn, and so much more, truly a splendid way for a wine and food lover to spend the day.

If you’re unfamiliar with Sonoma County, Taste of Sonoma would make a great first day of your visit, allowing you to check out 200 wineries at once and to decide which ones you want to make a visit to.  If you have any questions about the event or other events over Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, feel free to let me know!

 

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Tags: events, Food, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Travel, wine, wine country, wine tasting

I can’t write a post about wine tasting in Northern California without first sending my thoughts and prayers to everyone affected  by the devastating wildfire in Lake County. It’s hard to imagine the destruction, the fear, and the loss happening there, but it has also been amazing to see the community rally around those who have lost everything. If you’d like to help, you can visit this website for information. In the meantime, let’s hope that they get some much-needed rain.

Fog Crest Pinot Noir

My eight days in Sonoma were action-packed. For the most part, I was working for Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, but we also had a few days to ourselves for wine tasting and mostly soaking up sun. One place on my to-visit list for years was Fog Crest Vineyard. The theme of my trip was drinking beautiful wine in beautiful places, and Fog Crest was one on my list of sought after patios to taste on.

We visited on a scorching hot day, but it was that dry, California heat that feels so incredibly good to me. I swear my muscles felt looser, I felt more awake yet relaxed. I crave that sort of heat. Fog Crest, which is located atop the Laguna Santa Rosa, is worth the visit for the views alone. Never-ending mountain and valley vistas are the perfect backdrop as you taste some really delicious Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

Fog Crest Vineyard

While the chilled Chardonnay was perfect for the heat we enjoyed, my wine of the week is the 2012 Laguna West Pinot Noir. Fruity, bright, and with a mouthwatering acidity, this Pinot Noir is an excellent fall wine, making its way easily from a warm, blue sky day to chilly evening, paired with grilled chicken and veggies.

Another wonderful aspect of the Fog Crest experience was the tasting room staff. The woman who welcomed us, whose name I unfortunately didn’t get, was incredibly sweet and knowledgeable. She also gave me an amazing recipe for miso creamed kale. I can’t wait to make it.

Fog Crest Vineyard  vineyard

Fog Crest Vineyard is a must-visit on your next trip to Sonoma County. It’s in my top five for beautiful location and I would imagine is gorgeous any time of year. Can I go back now?

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Tags: Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, Travel, vineyard, wine, wine country, wine travel, Wine Wednesday, winery

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