• Adventures in Wine Country

    November 8, 2010

    I joked that yesterday was the third best day of my life, behind my wedding day and last year’s adventures to wine country. Ok, the day that Mal and I closed on our new house was pretty epic too, so maybe yesterday was the forth best day of my life! ;-)

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    When Jenna, Anne, and I arrived in Santa Rosa (via bus), we headed straight to lunch at Bruno’s on Forth, a cute neighborhood restaurant that serves tradition American cuisine.

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    For lunch, I ordered a cappuccino.

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    And a salad made with baby greens, candied walnuts, apples, and a herb goat cheese crostini. Both hit the spot.

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    Once our bellies were full, it was time to taste wine! Our first stop was Dutton Estate Winery.

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    I liked all of the wines that we tasted at Dutton Estate, but my favorites were the 2008 Vine Hill Chardonnay and 2008 Thomas Road Pinot Noir.

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    Our next stop was Hartford. It was gorgeous!

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    Of course, we took advantage of the beautiful location and took a zillion photos.

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    In addition to snapping a ton of pictures, we did a tasting at Hartford. I loved all of the wines that I tried, but I especially enjoyed the Stone Côte Chardonnay and Fanucchi-Wood Zinfandel. I loved them so much, I actually debated buying a bottle of each, but, sadly, they were out of my price range. :-?

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    Even still, I loved tasting them! :-D

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    Clearly, Jenna and Anne enjoyed the tasting too! ;-)

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    Our final wine tasting of the day was at Kendall-Jackson. (FYI: Kendall-Jackson has a new wine blog. Be sure to check it out! :-D )

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    We had worked up quite an appetite wine tasting, so we snacked on some freshly made pizza as soon as we arrived. Pizza + wine = my heaven.

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    It was so delish! :mrgreen:

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    Then, Anne and I each participated in a wine pairing. I went with a wine + cheese pairing, while she went for the wine + food pairing.

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    The wine + cheese pairing included six Artisan Cheeses from Sonoma and Marin counties, paired with six food-friendly wines from Kendall-Jackson. Each cheese was paired with a different wine that complemented its flavor and texture.

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    Check out the pairing menu!

    • 2008 Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc + Délice de la Vallée, The Epicurean Connection
    • 2008 Jackson Hills Chardonnay + California Crottin, Redwood Hill Farm
    • 2008 Vintner’s Reserve Riesling + Carmody, Bellwether Farms
    • 2006 Grand Reserve Syrah + Estero Gold, Valley Ford Cheese Company
    • 2005 Highland Estates Trace Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon + Capricious, Achadinha Cheese Company
    • 2006 Late Harvest Chardonnay + Point Reyes Blue, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

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    My favorite pairing was the 2008 Jackson Hills Chardonnay + California Crottin, which was a goat’s milk cheese with a sharp, meaty flavor and earthy aroma. It was both dense and fluffy in texture. The combination of the two was outstanding.

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    In fact, I raved about the pairing so much, the nice folks at KJ sent me home with a bottle of the 2008 Jackson Hills Chardonnay. Sweet! I can’t wait to break it open! :-D

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    Happy camper! :mrgreen:

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    The wine and cheese pairing concluded with a refreshing palate cleanse, which was basically a Jello shot made with Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir. Interesting, right?

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    I thought the tasting was over after the wine Jello shot, but the chef sent out a few squares of dark chocolate, which was paired with a small glass of port wine.

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    Mmm! It was the perfect way to end the tasting.

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    A few hours later, we met Kath and her husband, Matt, for dinner at Syrah Bistro in Santa Rosa.

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    We enjoyed a nice Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner. It was bold, complex, and a little “juicy,” which is exactly how I like my reds.

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    As an appetizer, the table shared a cheese plate with three local (and stinky) varieties.

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    Before our entrees arrived, the chef sent out a couple of tasting plates for each of us to enjoy. The first included sweet potato, bacon, and blue cheese.

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    The second was a cold celery-apple soup with a piece of skate. I really liked the unique flavors of both dishes.

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    For my entree, I ordered the gnocchi, which was served with brussels sprouts, bacon, and shaved Parmesan. I loved it and ate every last bite.

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    After eating all day long, I wasn’t sure if I had room for dessert. But, the table ordered the Fig Tart with Latte Ice Cream and the Chocolate Puddle to share, so I made room for a few bites. And I’m so glad that I did because the Chocolate Puddle was chocolate heaven in a mug! It basically tasted like partially cooked brownie batter. We devoured it!

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    Recap of today coming up next. It’s been a full couple of days for me!

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    { 42 comments… read them below or add one }

    Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] November 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    You can totally see why this was the 4th best day of your life!

    Sonoma is breathtaking time of year & y’all are pretty cute, too ;)

    Reply

    Kelly November 8, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Haha, this is a post full of gorgeous pictures- I can see why this was SUCH a great day :)

    Reply

    Lindsey @ Morningstar Project November 8, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Your photos make me miss Napa so much! I love it there – food, wine, country side, what is not to love. Cheers to more fun days!

    Reply

    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) November 8, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Really beautiful photos Tina! What an amazing day you lucky duck!! :)

    Reply

    The Wife of a Dairyman November 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Definitely a busy weekend for you! But glad to see you’re enjoying your time in Sonoma County. A friend owns Dutton Estate, I’ll have to tell them to check out your blog:) Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply

    Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Yeah… that would pretty much be my dream day. Amazing.

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    rebecca lustig November 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    this post IS epic. your pictures are absolutely STUNNING and i am so envious of your wine tasting adventures. it’s something i’ve been dying to do since i turned 21.. which was only 1.5 years ago… ha

    Reply

    Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I can definitely see how that would be an amazing day!! That brownie batter dessert sounds absolutely heavenly. Glad you enjoyed your time in California, I hope you had a safe trip home as well!

    Reply

    Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I love the action shots, and honestly, the photos in this post are positively exquisite!

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    Hannah November 8, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    I thought I couldn’t want anything more than the cheese, but then you talk about coffee-flavoured ice cream? Oh, heaven!

    Reply

    Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) November 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Wow, you’re making me so jealous and ready to hop on a place right NOW. Absolutely gorgeous photos! What a great way to wrap up the trip!

    Reply

    Sana November 8, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I love how well bloggers become friends with each other. It is amazing.

    Reply

    Alaina @ The Jogging Concierge November 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Oh that looks like such a fun trip! My husband and I went to Napa for our honeymoon. Can’t wait to go back!

    Reply

    holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    What a fun day! I would love to go wine tasting all day like this — maybe one day :)

    Reply

    Amanda (Eating Up) November 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    That dessert sounds soooo good. And I love that last picture! So clever!

    Reply

    Annette November 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Wow, those cheeses looked so good! Not to mention that dessert at the end….. Glad you had fun!

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    Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 8, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Definitely looks deserving as the 4th best day of your life :) It’s all so gorgeous!

    Reply

    the salty girl November 8, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Aww! What a fun time! I love wine country. The air is better over there!

    Reply

    Erin November 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    What college ring is that!?!

    Reply

    Dee November 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Ahh, it looks like you guys had such a blast!

    Reply

    kate November 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I love that we get to share your 4th favorite day with you via photos!

    Reply

    Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow November 8, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    A most perfect day if ya ask me! :)

    Reply

    Lynn (The Actors Diet) November 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    yay wine country! abe and i really wanted to go this year but we got such amazing deals on virgin we decided not to drive.

    Reply

    Michelle (The Runner's Plate) November 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Amazing pictures! I need to go there some day!!

    Reply

    susan@MomSwimBikeRun November 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    This post is making me thirsty! AWESOME pics!

    Reply

    Katherine November 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    fig tart?! I have to go to wine country.

    Reply

    Jessica @ The Process of Healing November 8, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I am SO jealous of you it’s not even funny…
    The wine, the cheese, the BROWNIE BATTER…

    Reply

    jenna November 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    hi!

    Reply

    Krystina November 8, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    That really DOES sound like the perfect day.

    Reply

    the blissful baker November 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    oh sounds like you had a great time! all of the food looks amazing, especially the chocolate puddle!

    Reply

    dahli22 November 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Your photos look like they’re from a magazine. good work.

    Reply

    J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) November 9, 2010 at 3:08 am

    That pizza looks amazing! Everything does, actually. :)

    Reply

    Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday November 9, 2010 at 8:26 am

    That Kendall-Jackson winery looks pretty gorgeous!

    Reply

    Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 9, 2010 at 8:53 am

    This day looks pretty epic! I can see why it’s the 4th best day of your life. :D What could be better than wine, friends and food food?

    Reply

    Mary November 9, 2010 at 10:17 am

    @Erin: I was thinking an Aggie Ring, but was wondering the same thing.

    Reply

    Chicago Cuisine Critique November 9, 2010 at 10:47 am

    It looks like an awesome day!

    Reply

    Ali (food, fitness, fashion) November 9, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Yeah, that does look like a pretty amazing day! That pizza looks so awesome, I love when they are “well done” and the cheesy gets a little brown. I wish we had more time and could have gone and done some wine tasting- there is always next year :)

    Reply

    Tracy Dutoon November 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you for stopping by Dutton Estate and we hope you visit us again soon. All of your pictures are amazing. West Sonoma County is a hidden gem; an enjoyable discovery experienced by you and your friends. Cheers!

    Reply

    Lacey @ Lake Life November 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    LOVE the little shot of milk that comes with the Chocolate Puddle :-)

    Reply

    Walnut Lovers November 10, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    The photos are incredible! Thanks for sharing this amazing journey. Happy Walnut Wednesday.

    Reply

    Kelsi November 12, 2010 at 12:41 am

    this looks like such a fun day! i need to make it out to wine country asap. beautiful pics.

    Reply

    Taryn April 8, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I love all the silly pictures of you and your girlfriends! They made me laugh! What a beautiful area.

    Reply

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