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!
For lunch, I ordered a cappuccino.
And a salad made with baby greens, candied walnuts, apples, and a herb goat cheese crostini. Both hit the spot.
Once our bellies were full, it was time to taste wine! Our first stop was Dutton Estate Winery.
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.
Our next stop was Hartford. It was gorgeous!
Of course, we took advantage of the beautiful location and took a zillion photos.
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.
Even still, I loved tasting them!
Clearly, Jenna and Anne enjoyed the tasting too!
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.
It was so delish!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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?
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.
Mmm! It was the perfect way to end the tasting.
A few hours later, we met Kath and her husband, Matt, for dinner at Syrah Bistro in Santa Rosa.
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.
As an appetizer, the table shared a cheese plate with three local (and stinky) varieties.
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.
The second was a cold celery-apple soup with a piece of skate. I really liked the unique flavors of both dishes.
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.
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!
Recap of today coming up next. It’s been a full couple of days for me!