World Dinner Club

World Dinner Club
World Dinner Club

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sonoma Weekend

Since moving to the Bay Area from the East Coast, I've missed the scene of fall leaves brightening-up the woods.  I used to drive through DC's Rock Creek Park and along the George Washington Parkway and appreciate this every year.
Fortunately we were still able to experience some fall colors with a weekend trip to Sonoma County, north of San Francisco.
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The contrast and change of the vines may not have been the bright woods of Maine, but it was equally beautiful and scenic. Here are the delicious vines at Porter Creek, a biodynamic winery producing lovely pinot noir.  Nearby is the town of Healdsburg, where I ate the best Parmesan truffle fries of my life at the Healdsburg Bar and Grill. It's also know for having one of the best burgers in America, which I can confirm.  
Dinner was at Jack and Tony's Restaurant and Whiskey Bar where I had a delicious Manhattan and superb cornmeal crusted Rainbow Trout on wild mushroom-potato hash with bacon & molasses butter sauce. 

We found a superb value in the chenin blanc over at the very hospitable Dry Creek Vineyards.  This is destined to be our Thanksgiving wine.  Some of the most impressive wine was at Gary Farrell where I was wowed by the pinot noir and zin that expresses so much variation of terroir from Sonoma.
We also enjoyed a visit to Korbel, nestled among the Redwoods of the Russian River Valley.  

This structure built of Sequoias and free standing brick has stood for over a hundred years despite the series of earthquakes in that time.
One gets an appreciation of what it took to produce wine in the late 19th century seeing the oak casks that were shipped around Cape Horn from New England. The champagne, excuse me sparkling wine, was great.  The Korbel XS brandy was a fun surprise... very citrusy. 
These lovely golden hues are chardonnay grapes in front of Korbel on the edge of the Russian River.
In a miss-guided and eventually fruitless effort to find an out of the way winery called Hirsh, we saw a bit of wildlife and lots of sheep and cows.
However, on the bright side we managed to get to the Pacific Coast Highway and enjoy stunning views of the ocean.
It was a fun way to end whirlwind trip around wine country and the coast.  
It's easy to forget the abundance and agricultural productivity of California and refreshing to get out into the countryside and  feel it up close.

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