Monday, April 9, 2012

Sonoma and Russian River Valley, CA

Hello everyone!

We had it all planned out - we were going to San Diego. Seats looked great AND we would get in fairly early on Thursday. Well, as we were heading to the airport, I looked again and only 1 seat was open. WHOOPS! Frantic, I started looking for ANYWHERE that we could get to. Well, the only way we were getting anywhere was to first fly to Houston. Luckily when we go to Houston, we were able to make a 20 minute plane change and we were on our way to SFO! *Minor setback - getting thrown up on by a baby about 2 hours into a 3 hour flight. Sorry, but no kids for us any time soon.

Now, we've each been to San Francisco more than 5 times. Jason worked there during his E&Y days for a few months and it's probably one of my favorite cities in the US. I had actually been there 2 weeks before for work, so we decided to venture to wine country instead of hanging out in the city. We most recently went to Sonoma/Napa in July with John and Mallory and we absolutely fell in love with Sonoma.

Our first Golden Gate Bridge picture together

This time, we changed it up a little and went to Sonoma and the Russian River Valley. WOW. All I can say is that the Russian River Valley is THE place to go in wine country if you like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wineries are much smaller and the people are all very knowledgeable about wine. It's great for Jason and I since we love wine, but don't know much about it. It has a similar feel to Sonoma, but the views are much better. Napa is fine, don't get me wrong. There are a lot of great wineries there that we really liked (Mumm Napa, Cakebread, V. Sattui), but it's crazy expensive and everything just seems so commercial. 
The wineries we went to for those of you thinking about a trip:


St. Francis - Our second time here. One of our favorites. Great "French style" wine and friendly people.

Ledson - The wine was alright, don't know if we'd go back. The tasting room was in this crazy building.

Gloria Ferrer - Our sparkling wine stop of the trip. I'd skip this next time. Mumm Napa was WAY better.

VJB - Definitely a favorite. Good "Italian style" wine. A small, family-owned winery.

Russian River Valley

Gary Ferrell - Really good wine, great views of the river. WAY too expensive to ever buy. Known for their Pinot Noir's and Chardonnay.

Arista - Ok wine, great atmosphere. Only Pinor Noirs.

Matrix - Our favorite! The people there were SO great and the tasting was free! A Pinot house.

After the wineries, we spent some time in downtown Healdsburg (pronounced HEAL-dsburg) and then made our way to the beautiful coast. We had no idea that it was only a (very scenic) 30 minute drive away.

Overall, we had a GREAT time. We will be back again - I'm sure of it. There are so many more areas to visit. We've heard great things about the Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley areas as well.

As mentioned in my previous post, I'll be traveling a lot for work in the 5 weeks, so look forward to those posts as well! Thanks for reading :)

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