Tasting Room

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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

Happy. Friday. This week has started off with a 15 hour video shoot day and was hectic from then on. I have to work at 8 am on Sunday for another shoot; all of the work is fun and exciting, but it still means I don’t sleep well and am the worst at exercising and eating. I am psyched for a Saturday of sleeping in and iFest fun!

It feels like our Healdsburg vacation was a lifetime ago, but we’re still reminiscing on one of the coolest experiences, getting a  peek at Sonoma harvest 2014. Due to the weather, harvest came very early this year, and it unexpectedly occurred during our visit. We were fortunate that some of our favorite winemakers, the owners of Cartograph Wines, allowed us to tag along on a 4:00 a.n. pick.

We set our alarms for 3 the night before, but neither of us slept, both excited and afraid we would sleep through it. We got dressed silently and then drove the short drive to the Floodgate Vineyard, where lots of beautiful Pinot Noir grapes would be plucked off of the vine by a lightning fast and incredibly hardworking crew.

Sonoma County Harvest 2014

I didn’t feel tired at all, and it was much warmer than we expected. Once everyone had arrived, we headed down to the vineyard and followed along as the grapes were picked and dumped into big bins. Our way was lit by a tractor light and headlamps, which were super handy. It didn’t feel very dark at all; somehow I expected it to be a little scary, being out in a field in the middle of the night. Instead. it felt lovely and cozy, and the stars were absolutely stunning.

We were allowed to help out by picking out leaves and sticks and grapes that had turned into raisins or were suffering from botrytis. It was amazing how quickly the lot was picked (no thanks to us!) and what a long day everyone had ahead. Once the grapes are transported to the crush facility, the winemakers wait for a time slot to further sort their fruit and get it ready for crush. We were done before 6 am and immediately went back to bed; the winemakers, on the other hand, had about a 14 hour day ahead, between getting these grapes started and doing other winery and tasting room work. A LOT goes into those beautiful wine club wines we love to drink, and after this glimpse into that work, we will cherish each sip a little more.

Sonoma County Harvest 2014

Cartograph has a beautiful new tasting room in Healdsburg. It’s airy and chic yet super comfortable, and their staff is awesome. We may have talked their ears off on more than one occasion, our excitement plus their wine making us a little chattier than usual. We couldn’t help it; it’s a great place that people want to be, filled with great wines and the friendliest winemakers you could meet.

Cartograph tasting room

We have some club wine coming soon, which I will surely be reviewing. In the meantime, you can read about Cartograph wine in this Wine I am Loving Lately post. Cheers to Sonoma County Harvest 2014 and to the weekend!

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Tags: Healdsburg, picking grapes, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, Sonoma harvest, Tasting Room, wine, wine tasting, winemaking

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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