Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Top 10 List of Sonoma County Wineries


I am often asked for my list of must-visit wineries in Sonoma County. It's not that easy to put the list together. First, there are so many wineries. Second, not all wineries are open to the public. And third, everyone's priorities are different. Some people are OK with a lot of structure and don't mind making tasting appointments. Others want to be footloose and fancy free and want no appointments. And others might be looking to mix wine tasting with other things such as art collections, pretty gardens or a game of bocce ball. I have divided my top 10 Sonoma County winery list to address the three types of tasters. It's not an exhaustive winery list by any means, but it's a list I would give to any friend.

Experiences
J Winery: make a reservation in the Bubble Room for the wine and food pairings. A bit pricey but worth it. You can also walk in and taste in the tasting room. Cool building and good art.
Matanzas Creek: Go there less for the wine, more for the lavender. In June it looks like the south of France. They sell lots of lavender products in the tasting room year round.
De La Montanya: You can buy a bottle of their wine and have a picnic and game of bocce ball in the pretty garden.

Need an appointment
Siduri: Siduri makes a range of wines and their tasting room is a warehouse! Not your typical 'winery' experience but well worth a visit.
Talty: Good zinfandel, family run winery where the owner is likely to do your wine tasting.
A. Rafanelli: Good zinfandel.

Don't need an appointment
Lynmar: Very good (but a bit expensive) pinot noir. Nice tasting room and nice patio for tasting outstide.
Bella: Bella's wine caves are neat and they make good zinfandel.
Seghesio: Good zinfandel, bocce is available there too.
Rochioli: Most of their high-end wines are sold to their mailing list only. However, they do have a tasting room so it's a good opportunity to try their wines. They may only have a few wines to taste, but the tasting room is pretty, especially when the roses are in bloom.

Next up, some tips for wine tasting!

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