Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#LaurelGlen What a Way to Begin the Most Wonderful Vacation 2015

 Laurel Glen Vineyards Tasting Room, Glen Ellen, California

Friday morning we jumped out of bed, enjoyed the views with breakfast, and waited for our driver, John Burdick, to arrive. He has to be the funniest guy in Sonoma, and very talented to say the least. Don and John go way back to the early 2000's when Don started bottling wine in Sonoma. 

So John arrives; we introduce him to our friends and the first thing out of their lips is that their daughter and son-in-law live in Napa! John gave them a hard time for saying the 4-letter word that should never be mentioned while in Sonoma! It was pretty hilarious! Check out my friend Linda's blog! She's a foodie blogger and travels all over the US to attend conferences! 

Our first stop was in the little town of Glen Ellen, a quaint village steeped in Sonoma wines, local dining delights, and a just a small place or two to stay if you'd like. We headed for Laurel Glen Vineyards tasting room and what was about to be our very best tasting ever!

 Upon arriving, Bettina Sichel welcomed us and jumped in our limo to head to her vineyards. She was so interesting to listen to as we learned how the business all begin and continues to grow today. I learned that it must be a lot of hard work and not all that glamorous. Personally, I could listen to her soft voice all day. She was so passionate about her wines and her German heritage. After seeing her vineyards, walking among the rows of vines, and experiencing what it must be like through her story, we jumped back in the limo and returned to the tasting room!

We began with 2014 Laurel Glen Crazy Old Vine Rose' ($25), "a juicy, flavorful tasting room exclusive, from a row of vines planted in the 1880's." Only 168 cases were produced and we bought 4 bottles and drank one while there! Bettina said the Rose' is 50% Cabernet and 50% of obscure red varietals that they can't even identify for certain! Let me tell you this Rose' is the best I have ever tasted, no matter what the other 50% might be!

 The 2013 Laurel Glen Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon ($40) was fabulous. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and producing 2,128 cases. We bought that also! This wine just "bursts with aromas of raspberry compote, plum, blond tobacco and creme brûlée. The wine presents layer upon layer of ripe currant flavors, licorice and smoky, spicy oak. The finish is fresh and bright with a focused minerality and tannins that are firm, round and delicious.” 
 - Randall Watkins, Winemaker 

We tasted her 2011 Laurel Glen Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($65), their flagship Cabernet! Watch the winemaker's video about this delicious wine!

Our driver purchased this amazing lunch from the Glen Ellen Village Market and we dined on the patio of the tasting room. Of course, we had a bottle of Laurel Glen Rose' with it!

Bettina, thank you so much for your kind hospitality! Your staff was great and made us feel so welcomed! We love your wines and will continue to sing their praises!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#DellaSantinas on Napa Street, near Sonoma Square!

Our starving tummies took us to Della Santina's in Sonoma, right off the town square. I love this place. It reminds me of what the tasting room in Bottleshock might have looked like when it was filmed. (You've gotta see that movie please!)

This is such a romantic place that opened in 1990. You walk through old ornate iron gates, down a brick-lined path to the entrance of restaurant. We dined on the back patio under stringed lights, grape vines, wisteria and other flowers hanging everywhere. It was a beautiful evening with Italian comfort food and great wines.

  Before being seated for dinner, we had a bottle of 2012 Gumphof Pinot Nero ($18). This is a dry red wine from the Alto Adige appellation of Italy. Very nice wine. While sitting in the Enoteca Della Santina, we noticed a note stapled on the wall among others that was extremely interesting. 

It turns out that it was a note written to the owners of the restaurant by George M. Taber, author of Judgement of Paris, California vs. France and The Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine! 
The note reads that "it was a great day for wine, and I was there!" George was the only journalist in attendance at the judgement in 1976. 

Don and Linda had been reading book and now I am about to begin reading it. I want to know the truth behind the judgement, not a Bottleshock presented it! 

We were seated for dinner on the patio. Lauren and Tyler, Linda's daughter and son-in-law brought a bottle of their wine for us to share. 

2012 Merryvale Pinto Noir ($38)! Thank you Lauren and Tyler! A dark ruby red color, complex aromas of black cherry, earth, graham cracker, and cassis. On the palate soft tannins to balance a nice acidic backbone.

We also had a 2012 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($60).
Intense, smoke-accented aromas of cherry and blackcurrant, with Indian spice and floral notes adding complexity.  Juicy and precise on the palate, offering energetic dark fruit flavors and a hint of chewing tobacco.

- Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May 2014

Don and I, Linda on the left; Tyler, Lauren and Dan on the right!

We had a wonderful time! More to come of Sonoma 2015!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Headed to Sonoma Rental, Sweet William, Gorgeous 3 Bed/3 Bath Panoramic View Home on Acreage


After leaving Napa with Dan and Linda, we headed to our rental for the next three nights. It was located near the top of Sonoma Mountain, 10-15 minutes away from the two square. We saw many deer every time we left or returned home.
Sweet William, our home away from home in Sonoma with sweeping views of the valley and the SF bay area.

Gourmet kitchen, fully loaded with everything my friend Linda, the food blogger, loved!

Plenty of dining inside, but who wants to eat inside when you have views like we had!

Three decks, one off the kitchen/dining, one off the lower den, and one off the master bedroom!

It was quite a trip up the steps to the top landing to reach the front door!

We totally enjoyed this place and recommend it to any group of three couples! Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, 2 dens and views beyond your wildest imagination!

VRBO #429814   

Click on the link to check it out! You won't be disappointed! Wineries are not far away either!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

#scribewinery Tasting Before We Find Sweet William!

One winery we had to stop by and let Dan and Linda enjoy the wines was Scribe! We had been there in 2013 with some other friends and loved it! The sign is unassuming as it sits on the ground by the dirt road. You could possibly miss this wonderful wine unless you just happened to be looking for it.

Here we are after having a sip of their fabulous wines. We are so happy to be on vacation together! This is a first for us EVER!

My favorite Scribe Chardonnay is their Estate Chardonnay ($45). And I hear they host some pretty wild parties in the old hacienda on the property with great food and wine right from their barrels. How fun would that be! Cool California summers at night, beautiful views,  great cookout and Scribe wines. Nothing gets better than that!

Now, onto our hacienda for the weekend! Sweet William!