Sonoma (Aug 23)

Normally we head home right after a race, so it was nice to have some extra time to unwind and enjoy Sonoma.  After yesterday’s caloric excess, we decided to give breakfast a miss and just get coffee.  We drove to Petaluma for lunch and ate at a tiny restaurant called the Wild Goat.   It was a totally random choice but it turned out to be awesome.  I’m starting to think it’s impossible to get a bad meal in Sonoma.

We stopped at Kendall-Jackson for a wine tasting after lunch.  It was on our route, it’s a big name vineyard and they have a very impressive facility, so I figured it was worth a stop.  They comped the tasting and it included some pretty pricey wines ($50 and $80) but I wasn’t really impressed with any of them.  The $25 wine we tried at Ravenswood was better.  Tim did send an oversized (3 L) bottle to his sister for her birthday, so it was a worthwhile stop from that perspective.

Our main objective for the afternoon was a personal tour of the Dry Creek Olive Co. and Trattore winery.  Tim Bucher called my cell just as we arrived to say he was running 15 minutes late but that we should check out a tasting room right across the parking lot.  Awsome Pinot Noir, according to him.  Hell, yeah!  We tried 2 Pinots and 2 Zinfandels and they were all outstanding.  Not cheap, but they blew away the even more expensive wines we tried at K-J.  We ordered 6 bottles each of the two we liked the most and they will be shipped to Phoenix in November.  So if you come to visit this winter, you might be lucky enough to get a glass or two.

Tim gave us a great tour of his olive milling facility and did an olive oil tasting with us.  You can use bread but we drank it straight.  It’s not as gross as it sounds.  We also tasted the vinegar by soaking a sugar cube and sucking the vinegar out.  It gives you the flavor without killing you with the vinegar taste.  Then he drove us out to the vineyard and took us through the vines in an ATV.  It was an amazing and highly educational experience.  It was a rare opportunity to get an inside look at the wine business from someone who has lived it for his entire adult life.  (He bought his first two acres of vines at age 16)

We finished off the day with dinner in Healdsburg.  I swear I could taste Dry Creek olive oil in the sauce with my sea bass.

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