Sunday, August 9, 2015

Russian River Wine Country - 27 Jul 2015

Robin and I had dinner with some of her conference colleagues last evening at Scalas in downtown San Francisco. Toby Trevarthen, a former Michiganian and current Northern Californian, was quite familiar with Sonoma Wine Country, and offered to send us some links to places to check out when head north over the Golden Gate Bridge this morning. We were so glad he did!

We checked out of the Hilton Union Square this morning at 6 am and planned to get breakfast somewhere after crossing the bridge. We stopped at the Bayside Cafe in Sausolito and had a wonderful pancake and sausage breakfast while enjoying the sunrise over the wharf. We then headed north on Hwy-101 to Healdsburg, CA, which lies at the junction of Napa (west) and Sonoma (east) wine countries. Expecting a 3-hr drive I was shocked to find us in Healdsburg by 8:30 am, so it was off to the Flying Goat Coffee for another cup of coffee and pow-wow to plan our day.

Toby suggested a stop at the Twomey Wine Cellar, so we drove there only to find out that their wine tasting didn't start for another hour. So we decided to drive around and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Westside Road drive was a lovely 2-lane, winding path through Russian River Valley that brought us past numerous vineyards and wineries. One such winery that Toby selected for us was Gary Farrell Vineyards Winery just a few miles down the road. It was tagged as his favorite, but pricey. Robin said to go for it, so we drove up the steep driveway to the top of a lovely, contemporary chalet overlooking the valley. We decided to call for lunch reservations, only to learn that they were already booked for the day. But we were lucky to get into a 10:30 am ''Sense of Place: A Russian River Wine Exploration" with their Wine Educator, Lydia.

We had 20 minutes to wait, so I grabbed the binoculars and walked down their drive to find a pair of singing Bewick's Wrens and to try and photograph a pair of Anna's Hummingbirds in the side garden. Robin and I then went into the vineyard courtyard and met Lydia, who was to be our host for the tasting. She took us into a small room in an otherwise small world, where we met two other couples who used to live in Allen Park, MI. On the table before each of us were six wine glasses with 3 Chardonnay and 3 Pinot Noir, a glass of water, and a personalized program with a description of each wine and recommended pairings. For the next hour we would learn about the Gary Farrell success story, and savor the wonderful wines in front of us.

I'll just say that I let Robin decide how much of how many selects to order, and I went off to look for Anna's Hummingbirds.

As we drove down the driveway I was able to get some nice pics of a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers on the fencing to my left. We then drove back to Healdsburg for some home style Louisiana muffulettas at The Parish Cafe, and later have dinner at Wilie's Seafood and Raw Bar.

1 comment:

Cathy Carroll said...

Everytime I see an Acorn Woodpecker I am always struck by how comical they appear.

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