Tag Archives: wine

Sonoma Through (All The) Food and Wine

I just got back from Sonoma for a friend’s wedding, and if you are what you eat, I am most certainly a grape right now.

I got busy/distracted and never adequately recapped my trip to Puerto Rico, so I’ll try to do some justice to Sonoma–partially for myself, partially for if you’re going there and want some recommendations.

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We took a 6am flight from NYC to SFO. We had breakfast before the flight, but once we landed it was time for second breakfast. Wandering around the square, we found Sunflower Caffe, a wine and espresso bar.

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I got the South of the Border omelet: it had chicken, jalapeno, tomatoes, onions, black beans, cheese and was topped with cilantro lime cream and avocado. Since that’s obviously a TON of food, I balanced it out a little bit by having the berries instead of potatoes. TOTO, I WAS NOT IN NEW YORK ANY MORE. These berries were so freaking juicy. I vaguely remember hearing at some point that the San Francisco area is known for its sourdough, so I went for that. (And did any other time it was an option on this trip!)

By the time we finished lunch, it was clearly time for some wine. I mean, we’d been on the ground for nearly four hours and hadn’t yet had any. I guess I didn’t take any pictures, but we stopped at the Hawkes tasting room, where I realized there are some Chardonnays that don’t suck. I’ve never really had a Chardonnay I really liked before, but I really liked their Gravel Bar Chardonnay.

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We met Emily and Justin (the happy couple) and their families and some more friends here, and sat outside and drank champagne flights.

Champagne flights. Friends. Sunshine. Warm Sonoma sunshine on our shoulders. There was literally nothing wrong with life that afternoon. My favorite wines here, which I bought, were the Blanc de Noirs (a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and the Royal Cuvee (also a blend of Pinor Noir and Chardonnay, but with a bit more Chardonnay than the Blanc de Noirs.)

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The grounds are gorgeous, and the wine is tasty. If you go to Sonoma, go here.

Somehow I didn’t take any pictures at the rehearsal dinner? But it was gorgeous and the Depot ff’s garden outside, which was around a beautiful pool.

I woke up the next morning itching to run and explore some more on foot.

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I covered about three miles and ran from our hotel through the square to the bike path (just by the Depot Hotel) and then through some residential areas when the path ended and turned around at about 1.5 miles. After all the travel, food and wine, it felt more like a shuffle but it was still nice to get some fresh air and see a bit more of Sonoma. It was in the 40s and super foggy when I ran, but…as I guess it does in the SF area…it warmed up quickly as the day went on.

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For breakfast, we found a place on Yelp called Community Cafe. The girls were sold on grilled cheese breakfast sandwiches in the reviews; I was sold on the eggs because I knew that much cheese in the sandwich would make my jerk of a stomach angry. The eggs, sweet potato fries and sourdough toast were amazing, though. (I should have gotten bacon instead of turkey sausage though.)

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We wandered back to downtown Sonoma and found ourselves with a few hours to kill before the wedding…so we decided to do a tasting.


We’d heard Sigh was great (hi, bubbles?) so we headed down this cute little alley to find it…but it didn’t open till 12, so we ended up at Bryter, across the way. It’s a family winery started by a couple named Bryan and Terin, and they specialize in small-lot wines. Our favorite, a rose, had a run of 125 cases, and that was a lot for them! The woman working the tasting room was really cool too – she’d lived in Australia her entire life, but she and her husband frequented Sonoma, dreamed about moving there…and then finally did.

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She poured us a cabernet that was still a bit cool, so Emily warmed it up for us. (We all split tastings here since we knew we had a full day ahead of us.)

I’ll write about the wedding festivities in a different post, but suffice to say here, it was a beautiful wedding, and I need to find a better waterproof mascara.

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Our last stop before heading back to San Francisco for our flight was the Artesa Winery in Napa. As you can see, it was really ugly.

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I mean, the views were just terrible.

Most of Emily and Justin’s friends that were still around met back up here yesterday afternoon before their flights or leaving to spend a little time in other areas of the region. I accidentally made my flight, which I’m really disappointed in myself for.

It was fun spending time with the very happy and relaxed just-married couple the day after the wedding before we all left, and we sat outside in the sun with our tastings. This tasting room/area was a huge building (where I’m sure they also have lots of events) with a big deck outside. The views were the best from here, but these were my least favorite wines. (Probably because I didn’t get any bubbly.)

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We drove back to San Francisco, walked around downtown by the Embarcadero and Ferry Building a bit to kill some time before our late flight…

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…had some In-N-Out…

…did a little time-travel overnight flying…and now I’m back in NYC with memories of a friend’s beautiful wedding and a fun trip with friends.

A few recommendations I didn’t get to take: Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi Wines, The Girl and the Fig, Bottega

Favorite wines/wineries? If you could go anywhere on a wine-cation, where would you go? Maybe I’ve mentioned I’m dying to go to New Zealand?

Also, someone please pass me a vegetable.

Touring the Hudson, One Wine at a Time

It seems a lot has happened in the world since I last updated. Thank god they found the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, and my Boston friends can have a bit more peace.

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Columbus Circle will never get old to me. I don’t know if it’s because it reminds me of the first “adult” experience I had in NYC – taking the train up from DC for the day when I was in college for the opening party of the Time Warner Center, where my cousin worked at the time – or if it’s that it evokes all the happy race and running memories from the park, but I love it.

I started out yesterday with a little run in the park. Although I used to primarily run on the West Side, heading up to the park on weekends for a run has become a nice little tradition. I met the Lulunatics ladies at the 66th Street Lululemon and did a little 5-miler in the park with the lovely Abby, Michelle, Jocelyn and Allison.

I ran home (not literally) to change and get ready for the afternoon’s fun activity: A WINE CRUISE! Yes, wine on a boat. Obviously I agreed to this in approximately 2.5 seconds.

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Lacey and I got quick manicures before grabbing the boat, and we both decided to go with ridiculous colors. (YOLO colors, as she called them.) I went with Where’s My Chauffeur? (No, really, where is my chauffeur?)

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The wine cruise was such an amazing way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. (Oh hey Lady Liberty!)

We went on a Classic Harbor Line wine cruise, led by Wendy Crispell.

She is both a sommelier and a fromagier. SHE GETS PAID TO STUDY, TALK ABOUT AND TRY WINE AND CHEESE. Can I be her when I grow up!?

We got the tickets on Goldstar (similar to LivingSocial/Groupon/etc.), and the session we ended up at focused on natural/organic/biodynamic wines. As you’d imagine, natural wines are made with the least possible use of chemicals and additives. I usually stay away from red wine because of sulfites, but I figured that this red wine would be a bit safer because there’d be less additives.

We started from a light, sparkling wine (OH YES PLEASE) and worked our way into darker wines.

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The fabulous Wendy also had a cheese pairing for each wine. Maybe the bubbles had already gone to my head, but I was so deliriously happy, that I couldn’t stop giggling and smiling on the boat. Wine? Cheese? Friends? Boat? Oh god, yes.

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We started with a Montinore Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris, Wendy explained, is a fuller grape than its buddy Pinot Grigio. We paired this one with a goat cheese, and I basically died and went to heaven.

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Next up was the Casa de Mourazo Encruzado, a Portuguese wine that was paired with Gallego cheese, a creamy cheese that had a similar texture to Brie but with a slightly more acidic taste.

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It was around this point where I stopped taking pictures of the wine and started taking pictures with my lovely friends.

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I’ll never let go!

Also cool about the cruise was that it started at Chelsea Piers and then circumnavigated Manhattan. Most other boats I’ve been on have just gone down to the harbor and turned around or up to the George Washington Bridge and turned around. Not this one!

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So, it was a little windy.

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The boat even went up to near where the Columbia team rows. Wendy told us a story of sometimes the Columbia dudes mooning us from on top of this cliff. Awesome. We missed that on our cruise.

The other three wines we had:

Claret de Centeilles Cotes Brian La Part des Anges (say that five times fast.): This was a slightly deeper rose that was a lot less sweet than typical roses.

Bonn Heure, Bourgeil, Cabernet Franc, a Cabernet Franc with hints of pepper. Because it’s been a while since I’ve been able to drink red without a reaction, I’m not very familiar with reds, but I liked this lighter one.

Dona Silvina Malbec, a Malbec that is a blend of young and old vines from two different vineyards. It could have been that this was the last one, and anything would have tasted good at that point, but I enjoyed this one a lot more than I expected, too.

After the cruise, we meandered around a bit and ended up at The Cabanas at the Maritime Hotel. It was too chilly for many people to be sitting outside, so we got a table outside right away and continued giggling and gabbing until the sun went down.

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And then we ended up at a pet store, where I played with this little muffin. LOOK AT HIM! Look at those furry little paws and snuggly face. And, um, don’t tell Bailey.

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This morning, I hit up a nice, gentle yoga class and then had brunch with Eileen, my high school buddy, at Rocking Horse Cafe, one of my fave brunch spots in the city. Breakfast burrito with steak, egg and avocado? Um, yes please.


And now Bailey and I are blogging and relaxing.

Happy Sunday everyone!

How was your weekend? What’s your favorite wine? My all-time favorite wine is Babich Sauvignon Blanc. It is one of my goals to take a trip one day to Marlborough, New Zealand and just explore New Zealand wine country, as all of my favorite sauvignon blancs are from there. Who’s in? Until then, I’ll settle for a weekend in Sonoma next weekend for a friend’s wedding, which I am RIDICULOUSLY excited for.