I just returned from my first trip to this small-town-turned-major-wine-destination. I was there to attend the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference, but I spent some time checking out a few of the area’s 120 wineries too.
On a stone terrace in the county of Cornwall, overlooking rolling hills blanketed with vines and fields, Camel Valley Vineyards founder Bob Lindo beams with pride as he shows off award after award to visitors sipping on the tasty fruits of his labor.
This winery is one of England’s most decorated, at the forefront of the country’s surging wine business. Producers here are winning plenty of awards, particularly for their bubbly, which has come out ahead of Champagne on enough occasions to make a Frenchman blush.
Note: The wineries in this post followed the common industry practice of waiving tasting fees for bloggers and other media.
Is a trip to wine country on your list of resolutions for 2018? If so, Sonoma County should be on your agenda.
Sonoma is sometimes an afterthought – nothing more than a quick stopover between San Francisco and Napa. But this diverse county is a worthy wine destination unto itself, offering everything from stunning tasting rooms with breathtaking views to flip-flop-casual samplings in out-of-the-way vineyards. Most importantly, though, Sonoma offers plenty of good wine.
In this post, we’ll explore three blockbuster wineries that hosted me for tastings on a visit to Sonoma last fall. Next time, I’ll unveil a few of the region’s hidden gems.
“I think people make too much fuss over winemakers,” said Christophe Paubert, standing in front of an elegant fireplace at Napa’s Stags’ Leap Winery on a recent fall evening.
Some might find his words counterintuitive, given his vocation. Paubert is Stags’ Leap’s winemaker.
He’s not the only one of his kind who advocated for minimalist techniques during a recent visit to Napa and Sonoma. It was a refreshing refrain in a region where heavy-handedness was once the name of the game.
Jordan Vineyard & Winery occupies a rambling French-style “chateau” in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. Since its founding in 1972, the operation has been almost as much about food and hospitality as it has been about its French-inspired wines. Each tasting experience at Jordan involves wine and food pairings, and the estate even has its own executive chef.
So when I ended up there last week, I felt a little late to the party. But it was definitely better late than never – especially since I was there during harvest!
I had just one day to hit the highlights of this beautiful and prolific wine region, so I chose four wineries to visit: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Ravines, Hermann J. Wiemer, and Standing Stone.
My itinerary spanned two lakes, with stunning vistas and early fall colors around every turn, and a wide array of grape varietals and winemaking styles.
The Finger Lakes have won national and international acclaim for rieslings, and the varietal remains the regional specialty. But the area has diversified into many other varietals too; and while I’m a huge riesling fan – I even hosted a riesling tasting at my house recently – I was even more captivated by some of those other grapes.