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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

I’ve been going on and on for years about how great some Massachusetts wines can be. Longtime readers and friends know I recommend Travessia every chance I get, and I have also enjoyed many trips to Westport Rivers; their Farmer’s Fizz was our bubbly of the summer last year!

I knew little about Connecticut wine though, and this weekend while visiting Mystic and dining at the Harbour House, I learned CT is making some excellent wines.

 

Saltwater Farm Vineyard

We spent part of Sunday visiting two Connecticut wineries, which included a relaxing stop at Saltwater Farm Vineyard. Surrounded by salt marshes and countryside, the vineyard was beautiful and serene, a lovely place on a cloudy spring day, so I can imagine it would be gorgeous in the summer.

 

Saltwater Farm Vineyard

The winery building is an old airplane hangar with high ceilings, beautiful wood, and lots of nice little touches. A wedding the night before had left their lights strung up, and it added a twinkly magic to the afternoon. Or maybe that was the wine? :)

Saltwater Farm Vineyard

We did a tasting of all of the available wines. After our night at the Inn at Mystic, I was very familiar with the Saltwater Farm rosé of Cabernet. This wine is right up my alley, super dry and crisp with fresh strawberry notes.

 

Saltwater Farm rose

Other favorites included the Gold Arc Estate Chardonnay, barrel aged for toasty coconut notes with a lemony background. Connecticut, like Long Island, can be great for growing Chardonnay grapes.

Saltwater Farm Chardonnay

Ever being a lover of Cabernet Franc, I was a huge fan of Saltwater Farm’s Cab Franc – Merlot, mixing spice and earth with juicy berries for a beautiful wine and new favorite. You better believe a few bottles were tucked away for us to add to our collection.

wine tasting at Saltwater Farm Vineyard

Saltwater Farm is a great stop along a Mystic getaway, and the wines, scenery, and friendly staff make it well worth the visit. Cheers to #WineWednesday!

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Tags: chardonnay, Connecticut, rose, rose wine, vineyard, wine, wine travel, Wine Wednesday

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is the unofficial closer to the summer in Sonoma, though all of us who have been there after Labor Day know that the weather remains absolutely gorgeous, and there’s some sort of fun event happening all the time.

We didn’t purposely book our Healdsburg trip for Wine Country Weekend, but we ended up there at the same time and decided to take advantage of one of the many winemaker lunches happening in the county. On our first full day we headed to Healdsburg for lunch with Zazu Kitchen and Farm at Davis Family Vineyards

Davis Family Vineyards

Davis is right on the Russian River, not far from where we picked up our canoe trip, and their space is marked by a beautiful garden area and outdoor dining pavilion, perfect for a winemaker lunch.

It was a warm and humid day, and we were excited to try Davis Family Vineyards wine, so we were thrilled when we were welcomed with their  2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

Davis Family Vineyards Chardonnay

We fell in love with this wine in a sip. Apple pie and lemon notes presented themselves first and faded into a warm, caramel-y richness that comes from being aged in French oak. We had time to take our wine and wander the gardens before being seated, and I was pretty much in heaven.

Davis Family Vineyards Chardonnay

Davis Family Vineyards garden

Our chef for the day was from Zazu; we loved their old restaurant in Santa Rosa and they have taken off since, moving to The Barlow in Sebastapol.   Zazu is known for their snout to tail approach to food, and their meats are always exquisite.

winemakers lunch with Zazu

Lunch was served at long communal tables, and we had such a fun group of neighbors! By the end of lunch, we had exchanged business cards, along with lots of wine country stories. I love sharing food, wine, and laughs with good people!

winemaker lunch at Davis Family Vineyards

When we weren’t chatting, we were served some pretty incredible food and wine and warmth from both the winery and Zazu. It just kept coming!

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{Macbryde Peach + Star Anise Pork Belly Salad}

Guy Davis

{Winemaker Guy Davis}

Somewhere during the meal, owner and winemaker Guy Davis stood up and talked a little bit about the winery, harvest, which had just started, and the lunch wines we were thoroughly enjoying.

Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

{Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir}

 

Davis Family wine

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

{Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir}

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{Liberty Duck Sausage, Bean + Farro Salad, Fennel Confit}

Davis Family Vineyards

fruit cobbler

{Plum + Blackberry Cobbler, Ginger Gelato}

The winery was beyond generous with the wines they shared with us, and I was so a bad blogger, so busy having fun that I didn’t photograph all of them. But I do remember them, especially their incredible Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and the Cuvee Luke, a blend of Marsanne, Rousanne, and Viognier. The Cuvee Luke is my kind of white wine; nice body and slightly heavy mouthfeel, floral notes leading into rich baked peach and pear notes with some minerals on the finish, a wine that stays with you for a long time. I did my best to sample and pour out some of the wines, but the Cuvee Luke, I definitely finished.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend can be crowded at times, but we did not see that at all. Our choice of this lunch was perfect; it combined beautiful outdoor dining with delicious food from one of our favorite Sonoma County restaurants, and new-to-us wines that we loved. It was perfect.

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Tags: events, gardens, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, Travel, travel blog, vineyard, wine, wine blog, wine blogger, wine country, wine lunch, wine tasting, winemaker, winery

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