wine travel

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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

More snow and epically cold temperatures mean more wine. It’s just the way it is. And since here in New England we are unlikely to see the grass (or sidewalk, in many cases) for weeks, it’s time to stock up on good wine, good food, and entertainment that pairs well with both.

Cartograph Wines

On a particularly blue winter blues sort of evening recently, I decided to stop moping around went into the kitchen to work on something delicious. Less than an hour later I had a turkey meatloaf, speckled with spinach and garlic and parmesan cheese, served alongside a variety of roasted seasonal vegetables. It was the perfect cozy dinner, and it was even pretty healthy!

Of course we dug into our wine fridge for the perfect wine to go with it, and since Cartograph wines always bring us back to warmer days and vacation and wandering around Healdsburg, we went with the Cartograph 2012 Sangiovese.  It turned out to be a great choice for a cold night. It’s rustic, with notes of dried leaves and earth along with cooked berries, nice and dry, and great with food. This is Cartograph’s first Sangiovese  and comes from an extremely small lot that comes from the Redwood Valley’s Upton Vineyard.

We finally also sat down to watch the movie Somm, which I thought was really good but might have been even better as a several part reality series. The movie follows four sommeliers attempting to pass the Master Sommelier exam. As someone who has studied wine a little and found there to be a LOT of information to remember and process, I can’t even imagine getting to this level of expertise and the stress that candidates undergo both preparing and then going through the exam. I found some of the cast a little arrogant, but overall I liked the film and would recommend it to those interested in wine and wine education.

All in all, a great wine, hearty winter dinner, and great wine movie cheered up an otherwise dreary winter night.

We also watch The  Hundred Foot Journey recently; I love movies about food and wine. (We have watched Bottle Shock 100 times just to see Sonoma and Napa.)

Do you have any favorites?

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Tags: Cartograph, red wine, Sangiovese, Sonoma County, trave, wine, wine travel

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