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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

Our weekend in Mystic was short, and we wanted to cram in as much sightseeing as possible. Despite this. we managed to fit in two really great wineries, both which offered beautiful scenery and impressive wines. First there was Salwater Farm Vineyard, where we enjoyed a tasting and beautiful views. We also visited Jonathan Edwards Winery. a unique property in that is makes wine from both estate grown Connecticut grapes as well as grapes from Napa Valley. Out in the country, surrounded by land and horses, the area that Jonathan Edwards in is absolutely stunning.

Jonathan Edwards Winery

Our visit was on a cold and cloudy day, yet plenty of people sat outside with their wine, enjoying the view. I can imagine that the winery is really spectacular in the summer!

Inside was just as beautiful, with lots of light and wood and traditional country touches.

Jonathan Edwards Winery

Jonathan Edwards CT Chardonnay

We loved the space, but the wines truly wowed us. We tasted through seven wines. Most notable was the back-to-back tasting of their Connecticut Chardonnay and Napa Chardonnay. The wine made from CT grapes won me over! Notes of citrus and bakes pear make this wine both crisp and luscious, creamy, with a hint of oak, ideal for Connecticut coastal cuisine. We also loved the Napa Valley Merlot, with grapes from Yountville, for its earth, tobacco, berries, and spice. I was hoping to try their CT Cab Franc, but they weren’t pouring it yet, giving me another reason to return!

Jonathan Edwards Winery

The winery was welcoming and encouraged us to take our glasses out to explore. Always happy in the country, especially where there are vineyards, we bundled up and braved the early spring (really felt like winter) to breath some fresh air and soak in the beautiful quiet.

Jonathan Edwards offers some elegant and flavorful wines from two very different regions, along with excellent hospitality and a relaxing space just perfect for a little getaway. Add it to your Mystic weekend itinerary!

Jonathan Edwards Winery

wine and John Deere

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Tags: vineyyards, wine, wine of the week. CT wine. New England. Travel, wine tasting, winery

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

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