We took the Beloved-in-Laws (who are visiting) up to Sonoma this past weekend for a little touring and wine-tasting. There was a lot of good wine and good food. The other thing there was a lot of: rain. Pretty much from our arrival on Saturday afternoon until we left on Monday, it rained. Fortunately, it didn’t really dampen our spirits or our enjoyment of the weekend – in fact, I think the dreary conditions underscored how beautiful some parts of the area are. Some highlights:
The countryside. Traffic on the roads and in the wineries was pretty light all weekend (bad economy – rain combo?) so it was fairly easy for us to drive around and enjoy the different parts of Sonoma wine-country (the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley) and have at-ease conversations with the folks that work there. We learned a lot about what used to be grown there including apples, prunes, and hops for breweries in San Francisco. In fact, the Hop Kiln Winery has an old, well – hop kiln – from the mid-1800s that is now a state historic landmark.
Siduri-Novy. My favorite stop of the trip was to the Siduri-Novy (Siduri = pinot noir, Novy = everything else). They don’t have their own vineyards but choose grapes grown from up and down the west coast. And their “winery” is in an industrial park in Santa Rosa – no vistas of grapevines, no oak-paneled rooms with classical music or soft jazz, just great wines in a warehouse. We had a great conversation with our guy, Jeff, and were really pleased when the owner, Adam, came in with his family. This guy looked like every other schlubby guy I went to grad school with. It was great to get to meet him – we talked science wine-nerd things, we talked football, we talked more science-wine-nerd things. The Beloved was aghast when she found out that they had produced a very well-reviewed Susan’s Hill Syrah that I had neglected to buy for her – and which was already sold out. Adam piped up and said, “You know, I think I have the 2007 vintage here – its not labeled or been registered but let’s open one up so you can taste it.” And so we did. It was so good. And then he gave us the rest of it to keep as a present. How sweet is that?
Coast drive. We were heading back to the airport on Monday and decided to take a leisurely drive back through the coastal hills and over to the coastline, intersecting with the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) and following that down from the mouth of the Russian River down past Bodega Bay before heading inland again. It was a wonderfully grey, rainy and windswept day and the ruggedness of the shore was easily appreciated.
Sometime, we'll have to come back when it’s warm and sunny to compare!