Sonoma Day 1: Drinking Begins

After a good nights sleep, Su and I got up relatively late(7am) and put on our workout gear. With surprising little prodding I convinced Su to go for a jog. It’s really quite odd that Su likes (or at least is more amenable) to go running on vacation than other times. Anyway, they (Vintner’s Inn) have a nice 2 mile jogging path that goes around some vineyards. The temperature was cool and it was a great morning for a run. You may be thinking Dave, why would you run on your vacation? Short answer is that we do consume quite a bit of calories between eating and drinking and this is but a small price to pay for all the yummy stuff.

Anyway, we had a lot of time to kill that morning because the appointment at Jordan wasn’t until 11 (even factoring in a half hour + 15 min wait time). Most wineries open their tasting room at 10 so not too bad considering.

I haven’t really had much Jordan wine so I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised with both their Chardonnay and this aged dessert wine. Funnily enough they are known for their Cabs but those really didn’t blow me away at all (Su agreed). What did amaze me was the length of the tour and how much they were trying to sell the image of the winery. I kept thinking when will the drinking part of the tasting actually begin?

When it came to the decision time, Su and I stuck to our guns about buying later. After all, we only have about 30 free slots in our wine chillers so space was precious.

The next winery was Sausal. I wanted to turn in when I saw their sign: olde vine Zinfandel. For those who don’t know, older vines yield less but give much greater flavor. A lot of the bigger producers will change their vines after 20-30 years. This place had ages between 50 and 130 (vines not people). There is a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about the flavor of the old vine zin that I love and Su hates but we always find some middle ground. We decided to buy 2 bottles (90 and 100 year vines) to try out before buying more. Yeah I know I said we would wait but the price was reasonable and I really like Zins.

Next on the list was a recommendation from one of Su’s co-workers called Hanna. Let me cut to the chase and say we bought a lot of wine from them(3 cases). Just about everything the lady poured (and she poured a lot) was just plain fantastic. Maybe the alcohol was getting to me but it really was delicious. Suffice it to say that I am now a member of 7 wine clubs.

We spent enough time at Hanna that we had to skedaddle to head south to Petaluma for the 3pm brewery tour at Lagunitas. Due to traffic we were a little late, but since we were the only ones the lady didn’t seem to mind. In what I think is a non traditional tour we started at the bar. I drank everything at the bar and parts of several bottles. A beer called Little Sumpin’ took the prize in my book. Su is not much of a beer drinker but I give her credit for trying everything and agreeing that my top beer had a certain something (pun intended). The tour was interesting in two ways: 1) I felt like I was at the beginning of Lavergne and Shirley with all the bottles moving around in the assembly line 2) these two 6ft5 guys showed up later than us for the tour. They missed the bar time but were allowed to each bring a free bottle (750 ml) of their choice on the tour. I was also carrying beer so you can imagine I wasn’t driving to our next destination.

Due to traffic and a desire to not have a big drive post dinner and the fact that we only had a small continental breakfast we decided on a early dinner and going to eat at a different place (although it also began with Willi’s). Dinner was unfortunately kind of bland and uninteresting. And I drank too much which had me asleep way too early. But hey, this means I can blog at 3am and not mind the iPhone keyboard too much.

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