Friday, September 10, 2010

Wining in Napa, Sonoma and Lompoc...Part 4...

After a lovely day tasting in Napa, we packed our bags and headed to Sonoma. We stopped on the way at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. We've had Jacuzzi wines before - mainly their Chardonnay - and found it pleasant and drinkable. The winery itself is beautiful - a great place for a party. And, judging from the crowd on a Wednesday morning, it is clearly a popular stop for wine lovers. The wine list is long and diverse, with a lot of Italian varietals, and we were happy that our barista, Kerstin, offered us spit cups.

Jacuzzi Family
Highlights of the 12 wines we tasted include:

2009 Arneis - Floral nose with some peach and Mandarin orange. Very fruity with a soft, very dry finish. All stainless steel, clean and fresh. $22

2008 Aglianico - Earth and coffee in the nose, figs on the finish. Yum. $28

2007 Primitivo - Lake County - A new release; very fruity with coffee on the finish. A nice alternative to Zinfandel for $22.

2008 Lagrein - Paso Robles - YUM. Ripe red fruit, with a chocolate back. $28

A very pleasant visit with good service. Jacuzzi also has a great gift shop with every wine accessory ever thought of, including some great furniture made from old barrels.

We said goodbye to Jacuzzi, decided not to go across the street to Cline - we had drunk a whole lotta Cline wines at the wedding a few days before, and had had enough - and went on to our lodgings in Sonoma. We had stayed at the Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn several years ago, and were delighted to find that it was still a great value, and the rooms had been very nicely updated. We were able to check in early, unload the car, and walk into town.

I love Sonoma! So many great stores and restaurants on the square, along with local historical sites. We found an interesting wine shop/tasting room called Sonoma Enoteca right on the square, and jumped into a tasting with Trish, a very nice, not very knowledgeable barista. Her heart was in the right place, and she walked us thru 16 wines - none of which we knew. Highlights:

Brutocao Cellars Gewurztraminer - Mendocino - Really big, lots of tropical fruit, with pear and papaya on the finish. Not your usual Gewurz, but really tasty and fun. Didn't write down the vintage. Sorry.

2009 Stinger Chardonnay from Grieve Family - Carneros - All stainless, lots of citrus, and only $10.

2006 Seabiscuit Ranch Superfecta Meritage by Dreyer Family Winery - Mendocino - A big red blend tasting of cherry cola and anise, with big tannins. $28

It was a lot of wine to taste, especially after an already big tasting at Jacuzzi, the room was hot, and I was tired, so we walked over to Enoteca Della Santina's Wine Bar Next Door, climbed onto a couple of stools, and chilled out for a while. I had a glass of a Gruet NV Sparkling Brut Rosé from New Mexico, and JD had a glass of a Torrontés (I think). We chatted with the bartender, and finally thought to mention Thad, whom we had met a few weeks before at the California Wine and Cheese Company in Monrovia, and who had told us about Della Santina's. Well, everyone knows Thad! And I mean that in a good way! Suddenly, we were family. Nice!

We slipped into Della Santina's dining garden the back way, were seated immediately, and had a delightful and relaxed dinner. I had a scrumptious crispy half a duck in a mushroom risotto with fresh broccoli. We shared a bottle of the house wine, Citra Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, munched on Italian bread with olive oil, and people-watched to our hearts content. As we left, we met the young Robert Della Santina (son of the founders), and thanked him for a lovely experience. I want to go back. Soon.

Stay tuned for more Sonoma - D'Argenzio, Marimar, Merry Edwards, and more!


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