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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!

image

{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}

image

{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

I maintain a mental list of all of the things that I want to do during a Massachusetts summer, and I don’t think I could get to it all unless I had at least a month off. As I mentioned in last week’s post about day trips from Boston, we decided this summer to stick around, enjoy our new house and yard, and take day trips that brought us back home each night. We also took a few random Fridays off to ensure we had time to do this.

Last Friday, after a beautiful day in Westport, we finally got to one of the activities I have really been wanting to do, take in the Sunset Music Series at Westport Rivers Winery and Vineyards.

I’ve long been a fan of Westport Rivers wines, and I always try to include them on our Coastal Wine Trail travels. Their winery, paired with a visit to Travessia Urban Winery, makes for the perfect day of wine for me and always feels like a little vacation.

Westport Rivers Vineyards

The Sunset Music Series at Westport Rivers is an easy, laid back way to spend a Friday night. It’s $10 per carload, and you can bring in all the food you would like. Beer from Buzzards Bay Brewing and wine from Westport Rivers is for sale by the bottle or glass.

The concert is held out on the lawn in a stunning setting overlooking Westport Rivers’ vineyards. People had some serious setups with tables, chairs, candles etc. We opted for a simple sheet and some bug spray so that we could lay back and look at the sky while enjoying the music.

Westport Rivers Winery

Before we sat down, we wandered to the vines to check on the grapes. I love following the stages of grapes in various places. In Sonoma, veraison (change in skin color) has begun to take place and some grapes are already getting ready for harvest. Due to our climate we have a later harvest here usually. I love all of the little factors that go into winemaking, though I know it is very stressful for the vineyard owner!

Westport Rivers wine grapes

We arrived at Westport Rivers before setup and were able to go inside and taste their Farmers Fizz before buying a chilled bottle to bring outside. The Farmers Fizz is easily my new favorite sparkling wine. It’s made in the traditional Champagne method and is so full of yeasty brioche notes, great body, and features a beautiful golden color. This sparkling wine could, in my opinion, give certain high end Champagnes a run for their money. . . and it’s only $20 a bottle!

Westport Rivers Farmers Fizz

Since we had been out and about all day, we also opted to take advantage of all of the food offerings at the concert. Compton Clambakes were on site with lobster rolls, hot dogs, pulled pork, and stuffed quahogs, and Cuttyhunk Shellfish were shucking up littlenecks and some of the best oysters I have had. I polished off 10 on my own.

(Cuttyhunk Island is another day trip I want to get to. We need more time off in the summer or a longer warm season here! )

Cuttyhunk Shellfish Oysters

Westport Rivers is the perfect place for a concert. The lawn was full of happy families and friends, the wine and coastal food were flowing, and the music put smiles on everyone’s face. I would love to make this a weekly tradition, but since the concerts happen at 6:00 on Friday night, we’d be lucky to get there before they were over, with Boston traffic and all! It was nice to have a day off to be able to head down to experience this summery New England event.

Have you discovered any new to you summer events this year?

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Tags: events, Massachusetts, music, oysters, summer, Westport, Westport Rivers, wine, winery

The Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts is a place I lived for four years, and going back is always a little like going home. While we live in the city, I long to live out in the country (preferably near a coast, ahem, Sonoma). Weekends away in the country are so incredibly rejuvenating, and on our 4th of July trip to the Berkshires, we spent some time in Southampton and Northampton, Massachusetts.

While on a wine trail event a couple of years ago, I tasted wine from Black Birch Vineyards, fell in love with the wine, and have been thinking about it ever since. Luckily we had plenty of time for a slow ride back from Lenox, and we found ourselves gazing out at the Pioneer Valley countryside with glasses of wine in hand, wanting to spend the day there.

Southampton, Mass

Black Birch Vineyards is a small winery and tasting room, surrounded by rolling green hills, vineyards, and horses. The countryside around the vineyard is jaw-dropping, and the wines at Black Birch are as well.

Southampton, Massachusetts

Before and after our wine tasting, we stretched our legs and soaked up the sun by wandering around the area.

Black Birch Vineyard

Black Birch Vineyard

Once we decided to go inside the tasting room, we went straight for wines by the glass, which we took outside and enjoyed on the Adirondack chairs and while checking out the vines. Sipping wine in Adirondack chairs is becoming quite the habit of ours.

Traminette

I came to Black Birch Vineyards for their Cabernet Franc; it’s a favorite grape of mine, and it grows well in places like Long Island and areas of Massachusetts. The Cab Franc at Black Birch has the perfect amount of peppery spice and earthy funk, dried leaves, and a hint of dark berries. It is a beautiful wine.

A new favorite we discovered was the Traminette, a grape that I don’t think I have had before. I am simply in love with this wine. It’s full of rich honey notes but also has nice orange and pineapple notes, the perfect amount of acidity, and a weight that makes you want to swish it around in your mouth. It’s a great summer wine because of the acidity, but the richness means it would lend itself to going well with fall dishes.

Black Birch Vineyard

Black Birch Vineyard

Our visit to Black Birch Vineyards was pure bliss and another reminder that Massachusetts can make great wine. If you’re in the Western part of the state, I definitely recommend a visit!

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Tags: Massachusetts, Massachusetts travel, Massachusetts wine, tasting room series, vineyards, wine, wine bars, wine tasting, winery

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