Our second day in heaven was spent running (drinking) through wineries in Sonoma. Because the wineries are a bit more spread out than they are in Napa, we hired a driver to take us around. I’ve included our entire itinerary below.
The first winery we visited was Joseph Phelps, located in Freestone, about 6 miles away from the Pacific Ocean. Note: there is a Phelps vineyard in Napa as well so when making reservations, make sure you clarify which one you want to visit. We met Steven at the winery who helped us along in our tasting. He was wonderful, even opening up the 2012 Cabernet Backus which retails for about $250 a bottle. While some wine tastings and tours can be focus more on the structures that sit on the land (Castello di Amorosa) rather than the product, Phelps is not that kind of place. The winery is no frills, adorned with picnic tables for tastings it’s all about the wine here, which is spectacular. We left with several bottles of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and our friends even purchased the Backus (they were later told that in a few years the bottle would pay for their kids college tuition).
Next up, Michael Schlumberger. While the winery was beautiful and the landscape was stunning, the wines were just ok. We grabbed a charcuterie board and noshed on olives before buying a bottle and taking a short hike up to the properties’ lake. There we sat and enjoyed a glass of white. Don’t get me wrong, the experience was lovely but the wine was my least favorite on the trip. I would recommend this winery just for the views.
After Schlumberger my stomach was rumbling and I was a bit (very) intoxicated. So our driver took us to the Dry Creek General Store. Like everything in Sonoma, the place was charming as all hell. We grabbed a few sandwiches and snacks (salt and vinegar chips) and then headed over to the final stop on our Sonoma itinerary, J. Rochioli.
The tasting room at Rochioli is tiny with large windows that overlook the vineyard. Rochioli was another no frills experience. The wine here is great. So great that Rochioli supplies the White House with wine for many of its luncheons and dinners. Inside of the tasting room is a fascinating book showcasing all affairs at the White House where Rochioli was served. If it’s good enough for POTUS it’s good enough for me. We ran through our flight pretty quickly and purchased a few bottles of their Pinot. Then we headed over to the picnic area and noshed on our sandies from Dry Creek which paired nicely with the $60 Pinot we purchased. It truly was relaxing just sitting at the tables looking out at the beautiful rows of grapes.
Our driver took us back to the Fairmont where we showered up and got ready for dinner at one of my favorite places in Napa: Bottega. It’s Chef Michael Chiarello‘s restaurant. Remember his show on the Food Network? Soft lighting, handsome chef, delicious pasta, not sure why it was cancelled or no longer plays. I may start a petition to bring Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello back to TV. This is the second time I’ve ordered the Ravioli di Uovo and it did not disappoint. So damn good. My mouth just started watering thinking about it. I don’t think it is possible to have a bad meal here.
It was cold when we were there so I’m wearing tights but the dress (tunic) I’m wearing is by Free People and is on sale here, here is another pattern, and another. When we went to Bottega I wore Lily Lashes in Miami.
9:00 a.m. depart Fairmont for Joseph Phelps (1 hour commute)
10:00 a.m. arrive at Joseph Phelps http://www.josephphelps.com/ we have a 1 hour terrace tasting reserved $35/pp
11:00 a.m. depart Phelps commute (1 hr) to Michael Schlumberger
12:00 arrive at https://www.michelschlumberger.com/ $45/pp
1:00 (ish) depart and head to J. Rochioli (22 Min)
1:30 http://www.rochioliwinery.com/ $20/pp refundable if you purchase wine