We recently discovered Sonoma last October on a side trip after I ran the Nike Women’s half marathon in San Francisco. We love Napa Valley & the St. Helena neighbourhood especially but never took the time to discover the Sonoma wine valley until then. Always meaning to but Napa was the draw if for the name alone.
Even though the Napa wine region is renowned for great tasting wine and culinary delights it has become quite commercial and we find Sonoma very picturesque, friendly and the wine just as superior. So we’re back.
If you can visit only one winery in Sonoma my personal recommendation would be to go to Cline Cellars. For such a recognized winery it is remarkably quaint and charming, situated on lush property with super friendly staff who give a generous pour. It’s also pet friendly which is good right now and has an outdoor tasting area. They gave us their special Pendulum Club 20% discount even though as Canadians we’re not even able to join the club.
The winery specializes in Rhone-style varietals and Zinfandels. We knew only the Cline Zinfandel and the Ancient Vines Zinfandel (Don’s favourite before sampling the ’09 Heritage Zinfandel which is a winery exclusive) but nothing about Ancient Vines Carignane, Mourvedre or the Los Carneros Syrah among others. The cool climate Chardonnay was a pleasurable surprise too.
Side Note: Last night there was a convention going on at the hotel we stayed at in Redding. We were informed that it was for AA so the girl that checked us in said “don’t worry we’ll put you in a room far from the bar”. No worries; we still took our own wine in.