Oddly before I went to Ledson winery I have not yet heard of it. Upon arrive I realized what I’ve been missing. The winery grounds are stunning, acres of grapes surrounding this massive estate reassembling a castle. Who knew Sonoma had so many Castle like wineries. We didn’t have a reservation so we headed to the wine tasting room which was very rich with ornate wood and crown molding all around. We decided against doing a tasting and opted to purchase a few bottles and have a picnic. There is a store within the winery that has tons of picnic snacks and other fun wine related goodies.
In the back of the estate there is more vines, big trees that shade a few picnic tables. We sat there for over an hour eating, drinking and enjoying the fresh air.
As for wine I tried their:
2014 REDWOOD VALLEY ‘RICETTI LANE’ ZINFANDEL: $32
Stunning aromas of fresh ripe blackberry and raspberry draw you in. The palate is broad with warm blackberry, notes of vanilla, and a hint of cocoa, reminiscent of a delicious homemade berry pie. Leather and peppery spice give it a robustness with a unique, bold, and velvety finish.
2016 SONOMA VALLEY ‘FREY FAMILY VINEYARDS’ CHARDONNAY -$28
Brightly colored, it exudes pronounced aromas of Meyer lemon and white peach. Guava and green apple spill over the palate with a pure, bright mouthfeel and lengthy, refreshing finish of green apple and nectarine with a hint of biscotti.
Ledson for me was a hidden gem. It’s definitely a place I will visit again and bring friends and family so they can have their jaw drop too when arriving and seeing its beauty.
Visited Chateau St. Jean to try their morning bites pairing where they pair their wines with croissants, breakfast cheeses and chocolates. It was different than from what I’m used and I appreciated the change and the fact I could drink wine with breakfast. As our party arrived we were greeted with sparkling rosé and was escorted into our private tasting room.
The tasting was $30 for 4 wines and that included the bites. We were able to choose between 6 wines to accommodate those people who “don’t like whites” and “especially don’t like Chardonnay”. I picked 2 whites and 2 reds.
The whites were:
2015 Le Soul Chardonnay
2014 Reserve Chardonnay
The reds were:
2015 Le Soul Pinot Noir
2014 Cinq Cépages
I truly enjoyed the reds both the pinot noir and the cinq cépages stood out as excellent quality and balanced wines.
The service we received was great. I felt at first impressions the chateau seemed like it would come with people that had an air about them, however they were all far from it. Everyone was very welcoming and it was a relaxed atmosphere at the Chateau.
Chateau St. Jean makes you feel like your in a storybook with it’s perfectly manicured gardens and ivy covered buildings fit for a princess. It is worth heading a little north of Sonoma for this gem.
Yesterday on my company offsite we ventured a few miles away to Treasure Island for a wine tasting. I have pasted the exit maybe 100 times and never realized there was a whole wine world on the little island.
We went this little rustic tasting room called Vie Winery. Vie’s limited-production Rhone varietal and zinfindel-based wines grapes come from Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Napa, and Lake County vineyards.
We did a blind tasting of 4 reds their Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The wines were a bit lighter and jammy than one would expect from Cab or Zin however they were tasty. I enjoyed their Zinfandel most. I didn’t do so hot on the blind tasting scoring a whopping 25%, yes I am not proud but it was a good time.
They place is situated just feet away from the water and has outdoor bocce ball courts. We had a friendly bocce competition and it was good size for a large private group.
Check out this post on a few other hidden gems on the island worth visiting.
My husband and I headed up to the sleepy quaint wine town, Calistoga, only a day before the fires broke out. We stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast in town. As we were walking around town I was mesmerized by Romeo Cellars.
They have a rustic gate lead you to Jasmine and Rose adorned arches lead to the 1800’s Carriage House – Romeo’s tasting room. They had wonderful staff members who were very kind and happy explain or let us try which ever we wanted since we were just buying a glass. The tables outside are shaded by century old Giant Redwoods and Cedars.
Choose from a selection of tastings from $20 for 5 x 1oz pours – the purchase of wine compliments the price of a tasting.
Check out their current wine selection
We just decided on two wines:
2012 Malbec-$45- Blueberry and raspberry notes rise out followed by cedar and vanilla
2014 Reserve Chardonnay- $38- I truly felt like I learned how to taste and smell the buttered popcorn that everyone talks about in Chardonnay. Given that I am a popcorn advocate it was weird enticing. However I can see why people don’t care for it. Although it was buttery it had a refreshing finish which was nice.
To Sum it Up:
- Most romantic gardens
- Quite expensive wines
- Grown and produced in Calistoga
Our last stop was at Peju because we knew it was open until 6 pm. That is late in Napa time as most winery’s close at 4 pm.
Peju is always packed. Everytime I’ve gone it’s a mad house and for good reason. Peju has a wide variety of great wines ranging in all prices. There is also no reservation needed for less than 7 but with that being said it’s always a bit of a wait for you to be ushered to one of 4 tasting counters.
Peju’s outside decor is memorable. It’s a pink stone building and has impeccable trimmed gardens surrounding the vineyards. The most memorable aspect is the 40 ft tall sycamore trees that line the entrance as you drive in.
It was probably 100 degrees that day and this was my last tasting. So basically I wanted the most refreshing thing they had.
2016 Carnival ($18)
Made with French Colombard
Aromas of dried apricot and honeysuckle complemented by flavors of green apple, passion fruit and lychee.
Peju Province ($23)
Aromas of herbs, violets, nutmeg and tart plum. Plush tannins give Province structure while bright acidity refreshes the palate with flavors of cranberry, ripe raspberry and Queen Anne cherry.
We did the classic tasting for $35 but guess what military is free and we had a bunch of military members!
We first were served both the Sauvignon Blanc and Province before selecting three additional wines that we would like to explore. If you favor reds or whites or maybe both you can make the tasting based off your palate.
Sum it up:
- All varietys with prices for everyone
- Unique grounds & estate
- No reservations required for less than 7 and military is free classic tasting!!!
We arrived to Bell 2nd in our trip and we were feeling mighty fine from the many wines at Paraduxx. Bell had a complexly different feel, it was a dark entry way into where all the barrels are stored and a small tasting counter. It was cool, muggy and dark. Which was nice on the 103 degree day.
We had a reservation at Bell for a Cheese and wine tasting with a mini tour of the vineyard and the winemaking process. Our tour guide seemed a bit irritable but this place was much quieter and reserved then our group. Didn’t feel entirely welcomed however she did give a good explanation of the history of Bell Winery and the winemaker, Anthony Bell’s past.
The outside grounds are beautiful and I recommend if going sitting outside on the patio area near the vineyard. Also there is a Bocce Ball court if you would like to sip and play.
We did the following tasting:
GRAPE TO GLASS TOUR & TASTING
Enjoy the ABC’s of winemaking from grape to glass. Stroll through our Yountville vineyard exploring our farming relationship with terroir and climate, followed by a tank and barrel discussion, barrel tasting, and finishing with a seasonal selection of five wines paired with artisan cheeses.
- Available promptly at 10:30am, 1pm and 3pm daily, by appointment.
- Fifty dollars per person.
- Groups of 8 people or more, sixty dollars per person. We require a credit card to hold appointments for groups of 8 or more guests. Due to our limited available appointments, all group tastings fees are charged 48 hours in advance of your visit and are not refundable after that time.
- Two for the price of one for Carillon Club members.
By appointment daily ONLY, 7 days a week, from 10:00 – 4:00pm
To Sum It Up:
- Beautiful grounds
- Quiet and cozy place for either a small group or an older crowd.
- Wines are expensive to purchase but they have tons of affordable tasting options to find the one for you.
Paraduxx was the first stop in our Napa outing this past weekend. I arrived with 8 of my friends who also thoroughly enjoy wine and were new to Paraduxx. We had a reservation which was needed due to the high influx of visitors around 12 pm. 1 hour into the tasting it was a full house.
For those who may be unaware of Paraduxx, may know or have drank its sister wines, such as Duckhorn, Decoy, Goldeneye, Migration and Canvasback. Paraduxx is part of Duckhorn Wine Company which has wineries across Napa, Sonoma, Russian River Valley and Mendocino County. The wines of Paraduxx come from several vineyards in the valley which delivers a unique taste for each.
The staff was awesome, Jeffery was our server who was more than welcoming and knowledgeable. He seemed passionate about finding wines that suit the individuals taste buds. Overall great visit at Paraduxx, makes me excited to visit all the wineries of Duckhorn Wine Company.
Composition 50% Cabernet Franc, 47% Zinfandel, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon Aging & Oak 18 months in oak 95% French oak, 5% American oak 60% New oak, 40% Second Vintage
Aromas of herbes de Provence, Bing cherry and strawberry pie. On the palate, a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon adds to the lovely structure of this wine, while good acidity brings firmness and focus to flavors of raspberry jam, dried berries and holiday spice.
ENHANCED TABLESIDE WINE TASTING – BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
$35 a person
1 welcome wine and 4 tastings in the red selection. All wines in the tasting were $50 and above.
All club members receive complimentary wine tasting experiences for up to four adults.
Sum it up:
- High dollar but worth price! Exceptional reds, so smooth!
- Dog friendly, great indoor and outdoor space!
- Warm & knowledgeable staff, welcomed with a complementary Rose tasting as soon as we entered.