After spending a relaxing week in Sonoma and Napa Valley, where the wine flowed freely, the evenings passed coolly, and time ticked by just a little slower, I’m back to real life here in Chicago. Although I usually don’t post photos of my trips (e.g. Hawaii), I did ask the blogging community for suggestions on where to go/where to stay/where to eat while in Wine Country, so I had to share. Here are some highlights!
Gundlach Bundschu Winery hosted the GunBunFunRun, the main reason for my trip. The race start was on the winery’s property (in the distance) with a wine station set up 100 yards from the starting line (just to the right of the foreground)!
Although I did manage to bake one thing: Fine Cooking’s heirloom tomato and cheese pie made with homemade biscuit dough.
Sonoma ended with dinner at the girl & the fig. A special thanks goes out to Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva, who sent me a bundle of helpful information and recommendations for my Sonoma trip, including recommending the girl & the fig!
Robert Mondavi Winery. By far my favorite winery during this trip. I’m a pretty big nerd, so I loved taking the specialized educational tours and tastings.
This is Doug. He conducted our wine tastings basics class. Although I’m pretty familiar with how to taste wine, it’s always good to learn other methods, as he encouraged us to do. Doug and the class were informative and entertaining. I mean, it’s wine. How is it not entertaining?
This is David. He hosted our exclusive cellar tasting which was held in one of the two tasting rooms in the cellar itself. This tasting included a cheese and charcuterie accompaniment. David was very knowledgable of the wine and the area. One of wines, a 2005 cabernet sauvignon reserve, was so impressive that a couple of investment bankers bought a case to ship home to New York. Because of Doug and David, my friend and I both joined Robert Mondavi’s wine club. We’ll be receiving special Mondavi wines four times a year starting in September!
This is Richard Miami, a native Napton. He lead our signature tour and tasting. His energy and excitement made you want to spend the rest of the day at Robert Mondavi. Although our tour was supposed to feature only three wines, he threw in an extra tasting of Mondavi’s moscato d’oro! I highly recommend requesting Doug, David, or Richard Miami as one of your guides.
And how do you spend time in Napa without stopping off in Yountville for some of Thomas Keller’s cuisine? ad hoc for dinner.
addendum for a picnic lunch featuring his famous buttermilk fried chicken.
Bouchon Bakery for a pain au chocolat, a chocolate chip cookie…
There were so many other stops we made, including Cakebread Cellars, Oakville Grocery, B.R. Cohn Winery & Olive Oil Company, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards & The Olive Press, and approximately 36 hours in San Francisco that I didn’t cover here. But, overall, it was an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to go back!