Eventually, we had to leave Timber Cove Inn. Next time we are definitely staying for at least two nights. There is really nothing like sleeping with the sound of waves crashing outside the sliding door and waking up to a foggy morning on the Pacific Ocean. Take me back now, please.
Often when we are visiting Sonoma and Napa, I overschedule our days. There are so many wineries to visit, and because of blogging, we ‘re fortunate enough to be invited to many. This time around I promised I wouldn’t overbook us, and for the most part, did a great job keeping that promise. On our first full day we had three things planned: a tasting at Flowers Vineyard, a tasting with the winemaker at Two Shepherds, and a night of live music at Garagiste.
After breakfast, we had plenty of time to wander the forests and hills of the Northern Sonoma Coast. It was while doing that we stumbled upon Fort Ross Vineyard. Fort Ross Vineyard was part of our original plan for the day prior, but our drive took longer than planned. We thought the tasting room was closed on Fridays, but luckily we were wrong, an we enjoyed a delightful wine tasting experience in a beautiful location.
Everything around the tasting room was incredibly lush. The drive up felt like a fairy wonderland, with tons of green and trees lining the road. It was simply magical.
The tasting room is brand new, and it while modern, it is also perfectly rustic, making the most of its natural surroundings. It’s cozy chic, warm and inviting.
The inside is just as nice as the outside, with simple furnishings and a beautiful stone tasting bar that has the option of underneath lighting that glows through at night. Fort Ross does evening events on the property; I can only imagine how beautiful those are. The best part? It’s hard to tell from this photo, but beyond the tree line is the ocean; it’s just spectacular.
We did our tasting with Dale, who was as sweet as can be. Our tasting including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinotage, which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. This Pinotage, a nod to the South African owners, is made from proprietary clones developed from bud wood brought from South Africa.
I was really on the hunt for Sonoma Coast Chardonnay on this trip, and the 2011 was exactly what I was looking for. I can’t say it better than Fort Ross’s tasting notes:
The hazy pale lemon hue is evidence of subtle stirring of the lees and bottling without fining or filtration. The decadent texture intertwined with electrifying acidity and stoney minerality expresses the high elevation and cool coastal climate. Aromas of lemon tart, butterscotch, clementine, mineral, and marzipan soar from the glass. As the wine touches the palate, Bartlett pear, wet stones and golden plum flavors wrap around the energetic, linear, nervy core. The wine is elegant, with supple texture and a crisp expansive finish. This wine is certain to evolve for years to come.
And I really can’t say how lovely and balanced this Chardonnay is. Yes, it has some butterscotch and notes of vanilla in it. It’s slightly creamy but also oh-so-crisp. There’s so much going on, and now there are a few bottles in my possession.
We were also fans of their Pinot Noir and Pinotage. Tasting their Pinot Noir was fun; it’s always great to taste different vintages and fruit from different vineyards side-by-side to compare and contrast.
The Pinotage was also fun and delicious. It’s not something you find much of in Northern California, and we loved the juicy and bold dark fruit flavors that were tempered with a bit of earth and smoke.
Fort Ross Vineyard is a little off the beaten path, and it’s a drive from the rest of Sonoma County wine country. I will tell you though, it’s entirely worth the trip. The views, wine and hospitality are the perfect addition to your trip. Once you visit, you will know why we keep going back.
The Northern Sonoma Coast might be my favorite place on earth right now.