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Upcoming Healdsburg trip

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Going to Healdsburg for a couple of days this week and I'm wondering if anyone has any comments/suggestions on our itinerary.

I think we're pretty set for food...we booked the "Bon Appetit" package for Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza so we got a $50 gift certificate per day for some local restaurants (choices were Baci, Charcoutrie, or A Divine Affair). We already have reservations for Cyrus for dinner on our second day, so thinking about getting Italian food at Baci for our first night dinner to change it up. Will prob use the other $50 for lunch at Charcouterie either the second day or before we go home on the third.

As far as wineries, we are thinking about the following:

Day 1:
- J Vineyards: It's on the way during our drive up, and I always like to start wine tasting trips w/ some bubbly
- Ridge Lytton Springs - We're members and we've been to Monte Bello many times (probably my favorite winery of all), but first time at this location
- Mazzocco - Very close to Ridge and has had good reports, especially for zin. Seems like they have a picnic area so we'll probably bring bread/cheese/meats for a late picnic lunch

Will probably check and relax at the B&B after, and maybe hit one (or two) of the local tasting rooms within walking distance from the plaza...any suggestions?

Day 2:
- Silver Oak (Geyserville): My hubby just gotta have some cab
- Preston: For Rhone varietals
- Quivira: For zins, seems like a nice chill small winery
- Mauritson: Maybe, unless we are "wined out" from the first 3

I initially wanted to go to A. Rafanelli, but my hubby wasn't really too keen on going to places that require appointments. Is it really worth the trouble to make an appointment?

Are there any must-go places that I've missed, or any of the above that you would skip? We may also visit a couple wineries on Day 3 before driving back to the Bay Area. We are mainly red wine drinkers and love cabs, pinot, zins, and rhone varietals. For calibration, some of our favorite wines are cabs/zins from Ridge and pinot from Merry Edwards (I like "big" Pinots).

Thanks!

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A Divine Affair
330 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Baci
336 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

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  1. I would list C. Donatiello Winery as a "must-go" pinot house. It is beautiful, welcoming, and a maker of "big" pinot, particularly their Floodgate vintages. Chris is a terrific host and a great guy. Their Chardonnay is also wonderful, and although I am not a fan of that varietal in general, his recent offerings have been delicious. Along the Russian River, near C. Donatiello, there are some other worthy destinations, and among them I would recommend Moshin.

    I have been to Mazzocco many times, and participate in their wine club (one of the few) and I heartily endorse their Zins, in particular their reserves.

    As for dining, Zin in Healdsburg is always fun, but our recent trips to Geyserville, to Diavolo, have been nothing short of fantastic.

    The Farmhouse Inn in Forestville is a great fine dining choice, by the way.

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    Farmhouse Inn
    7871 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

    1 Reply
    1. re: rruben1

      We also belong to Mazzocco's wine club--it's a small, unpretentious winery that makes some great zins. We also like Sausal, another family-owned place with excellent zins. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/684686

    2. HIGHLY recommend checking out Papapietro Perry in Healdsburg area. Incredible vino.

      1. We were just in Healdsburg this week on vacation. Rafanelli was one of the best wineries we went to - it's appointment required because it's a small space, but it's very low key with fantastic wines. I thought they were the best zins we had. If there wasn't a one-bottle-of-zin per person, I would have bought a case. The cab and merlot were also great there, plus they have free dark chocolate to snack on while enjoying their wines. Lovely people.

        Also went to J and enjoyed it very much - I am dying to try their Bubble Room with food pairings, but that's only available on weekends. Other winners for me were Merry Edwards (make an appointment, best Chardonnay ever is available now (she makes it only ever 4 years or so, when she runs out of white in her personal cellar), along with their gorgeous pinots) and Lynmar (everything was very good, and a gorgeous setting/room). Also good were Porter Creek (dress warmly, the tasting room is a small cottage), and Unti. I wasn't thrilled with Lambert Bridge. Despite liking their Russian River Cuvee, I was not impressed by Iron Horse. I've been to Quivira on a previous trip and enjoyed it as well. I am unfortunately not familiar with the other wineries you mention, but my SO did the planning and he's a huge pinot fan, so you may find some illumination in where we went.

        I owe a report to the board regarding our meal at Dry Creek Kitchen - one of the best meals I have ever had. In sum, I enjoyed it almost as much as the tasting menu at the Ritz in SF, and more than Meadowwood. Potentially scandalous words, I know. Every single thing I ate there was truly excellent, and there is no corkage for a bottle or two of local wine. After our experience there, it's hard for me to imagine spending more than twice as much at Cyrus, though that would surely be a spectacular meal.

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        Dry Creek Kitchen
        317 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA 95448

        Lambert Bridge
        4085 W Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA

        1. Second the vote for Papapietro Perry . We also really enjoyed Mauritson and Zichichi.

          1. if you enjoy beer, go to the bear republic brewery - good tastings available. food is very good but nothing destination-worthy