California 2016 Part 2 Sonoma/Napa

After all the fun and adventures of SF we spent the weekend of our amazing trip to California exploring the wineries and towns of Napa and Sonoma valleys.

Heading out early Friday morning we were chillin’ in the Mercedes, driving over the golden gate bridge like we owned that merde! Sonoma and Napa valleys are just as beautiful as any pictures you have ever seen, featuring rolling green hills, patchwork fields of vines, quaint towns and beautiful wineries. Though I found it added to the layers and beauty of the scenery, I am reminded by the abundant dry yellow underbrush that there remains a serious drought.

We started our Friday with a stop at Jacuzzi Winery. It was such a beautiful setting that I had to wander around , take in the beautiful scenery, and breathe that sweet California air. The belles were quite taken by the chocolate shot offered at the end of our first tasting!

Our wonderful hosts, B and L, are members of Gloria Ferrer Winery and they arranged a private tasting in this very beautiful setting. The winery was elegant casual and the tasting featured four sparkling wines paired to corresponding bites. Our  informative and attentive hostess was the very lovely Jessie. It was a delicious experience for all the senses.

From there we went to Landmark Winery where the ever-attentive Barry pulled out a picnic to accompany more wine tasting . As Barry set out the china and laid a beautiful table of cheese and charcuterie in the middle of this serene garden and as the wine was poured I just had to sit back and soak it all in. The weather- perfect, the scenery- perfect, the food and wine- perfect, the company- perfect,  it doesn’t get any better!

As the day wound down we went to our little vintage mid-century rental cottage in Sonoma where we ended the evening  enjoying ribs and zydeco at a neighborhood bbq joint.

Recognizing yesterday’s mistake of neglecting to line the stomach early (I’ll just leave that there), we started our Saturday with a delicious brunch at Community Cafe in Sonoma, then headed to another  private tasting at a very exclusive winery called Jarvis Winery. We drove through that gated entry like bitches in charge and wound our way up to the gardens leading to the massive entry. We entered through the huge doors in the hillside into a curved hallway leading further into the cool depths of the cave featuring an underground spring and waterfall.

Our guide Tom was very informative and explained the basics of wine-making as we walked though the production areas. We saw the huge stainless-steel vats where the grapes are processed and admired the beautiful symmetry of the barrels lined up to age. As we passed, I couldn’t resist touching the barrels and musing about the mystery developing within.

We first tasted a Chardonnay that was unbelievably buttery and delicious and I don’t even like Chardonnay! The other four wines we tasted were reds and were quite expensive (for my budget-$200ish) and also quite delicious. It was fun to taste wines that I’ll certainly never purchase but, honestly, I just don’t have that discriminating a palate. I do know there are a lot of good $20 and less wines out there and that’s good enough for me. However the beautiful setting, the  magical feel of the cave and the opulence of the wines we tasted made for a truly memorable experience!

From there we went to Chateau Domaine which is a very hip setting full of beautiful people. As the day wound down we sat on the lovely terrace, soaked up the scenery, and enjoyed the people watching as we sipped champagne and nibbled on appetizers. I lifted my face to the cool breeze and allowed the moment to just be. I often struggle with letting things just be ,but I remind myself there are moments of perfection in large and small ways all the time. We just have to lift our faces to them and let them be.

Back at our retro bungalow we called it an early night because Melanie, Betty and I had an amazing early morning adventure awaiting to kick off Melanie’s birthday!

To be continued…

Lift your face, Cindy




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