Ravenswood Winery

This was my final stop on my wine tour! It was a small but had some reds with big taste! Ravenswood was a “lil bit country” which I found endearing.  They are not trying to wow visitors with a large fancy estate, but capture drinkers who appreciate excellent reds (especially Zinfandels!!!). Ravenswood say’s they “stand by our love of old-vine varieties and our belief in traditional Old-World winemaking”.

Throughout Sonoma I saw very thin and long vines however at Ravenswood, the vines were “Ancient” literally that is what the vine is called. They appeared short, thick and wild! During February the grapes were already harvested so they were bare but these gorgeous bright yellow flowers surrounded the vines.

My favorites:

2014 Ravenswood Estate Zinfandel Sonoma Valley: Layered with flavors of raspberry jam, espresso, and supple tannins. Nicely balanced and mouth wateringly juicy.

2012 Ravenswood Bedrock Vineyard Barbera Sonoma Valley: Huge aromas of red cherries, strawberry, black currant, plum, and figs with flavors of chocolate, vanilla, licorice, toast and spice.

Visiting & Tasting:

Vineyard Designate Tasting: Rare, small lot Zinfandel gems!

$18 per person

Bordeaux Single Vineyard Tasting: Rare, small lot Cabernet Blends!

$18 per person

They have other tours and tasting information on their website

Sum it up:

  1. Perfected Zinfindels
  2. Country/hometown feel
  3. Small batches made at the winery and only sold there.

Nicholson Ranch

This was the second stop on my wine tour from SF. Located in Sonoma, this vineyard is a stunner for sure. The views from Estate are just breathtaking and are alone worth stopping for.

I honestly didn’t get the warmest feeling at this place at first but I was with a large tour group that was an eager bunch. However, the sommelier was knowledgeable and seemed passionate about the history of the brand.

We tasted two wines the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir. They pride themselves in that their grapes are grown naturally and sustainably, this was clear when tasting their wines. Nicholson Ranch also is only sold at the vineyard or online, so make sure to grab it when you visit!

My favorites:

2011 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay: The 2011 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is reminiscent of a spring wildflower meadow – floral aromas mingling with sunshine, cool fresh air and green grass. The blend of floral and fruit aromas combined with a creamy texture served in a cool glass deliver a comforting wine. Citrus and orchard fruit aromas blend with vanilla and hints of clove and nutmeg. The aromas of orange zest accentuate the peach and nectarine flavors in the wine. Rounding out the flavors are the taste of vanilla crème custard with a sprinkle of toasted walnuts. The texture of this Chardonnay is creamy with good structure on the finish.

2011 Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley Estate: Summer of 2011 experienced an extended cool season resulting in a late harvest at the end of September. Fruit flavors developed nicely in the berries with the benefit of extended hang-time in the vineyard. 2011 Sonoma Valley Estate Pinot Noir The Estate Pinot Noir – the first release from the 2011 harvest has aromas of fruit, tea and spice. Bright cherry and cranberry aromas mingle with vanilla and cinnamon and the seductive scent of hibiscus. The fruit flavors are of strawberry, cherry, raspberry and boysenberry. Displaying a well balanced acidity and a slight touch of tannins this wine tastes delicious now and I expect the 2011 Estate Pinot to get denser with time integrating the berry flavors with a smooth silky texture.

Visiting & Tasting:

Vintner’s Tasting – $15
Wine Makers Tasting – $25

Visit their website for more details on tastings and tours.

Sum it up:

  1. High-quality wine
  2. Gorgeous views of Sonoma
  3. Only sold at vineyard or online

 

Cline Cellars

Cline was the first stop on a wine tour I took from San Francisco. This was my first vineyard in California! Cline is located in Sonoma and is a MUST visit.

This winery has charm and really checked all boxes for me! I would 100 % visit Cline again.

Arriving we were greeted by warm knowledgeable staff members that were excited to tell us about Cline, the wine and get us tasting the goods.

Cline sells wine in most retail stores (I buy mine in Safeway, although the Rose is not available there) and is very affordable! My favorite wine at Cline is the Viognier and Rosé.

My favorites:

2015 North Coast Viognier: a rich, perfumed varietal, this wine has pineapple, peach, and apricot flavors, with accents of floral and citrus notes. Pairs well with Gruyere or Camembert cheese, sushi, or tarragon chicken.

2015 Ancient Vines Mourvèdre Rosé: Floral raspberry and vanilla aromas and user-friendly watermelon, cherry and spice flavor. Pairs with spicy foods, chicken Provencal, salmon and Teriyaki.

Visiting & Tasting:

“We offer complimentary drop-in tastings for groups of up to 6 people.” It doesn’t get any better than that people! Also there are other private tastings you can schedule through their website.

The grounds are quaint and modest, nothing lavish but definitely nice to walk around while tasting. They animals on site too if you decide to bring children.

Sum it up:

  1. Affordable wine
  2. Free tastings
  3. Warm staff