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Sonoma Food and Wine Suggestions, Please

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A girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Sonoma in mid-April and are looking for winery and restaurant suggestions. For food we are hoping to go to the girl + the fig but are open to other suggestions, and we are definitely visiting The Ridge winery but have no other definite plans. Any suggestions for smaller, single-production wineries are greatly appreciated! We are hoping to avoid the more commercialized, Kendall Jackson-esque places and are hoping for something more intimate.

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  1. Hm. There are a lot of recent threads about this. A few thoughts.

    1. Girl + The Fig is in Sonoma the town which is very, very far from Ridge which is in Dry Creek (e.g. 40 min. drive without traffic). Healdsburg or Santa Rosa are much better options for a meal (unless you are staying in Sonoma the town?).

    2. What type of wine do you want? What price points? Dry Creek (with some exceptions) is mostly Zin. Russian River Valley (with some exceptions) is Pinot and Chardonnay. Ridge is close enough to Russian River Valley that you could do both with no issue.

    By Ridge I like:
    Papapietro Perry
    Zichichi

    Please check out these threads and do come back and post again if you have more specific questions:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831904
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834840
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/799567

    4 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      Thank you for the information - the links you provided were very helpful. My primary goal is to have a unique experience that balances tasting room atmosphere, setting, and wine quality. We will likely stay in the Dry Creek area, and are considering biking between vineyards, so suggestions for closely-situated vineyards would be great.

      1. re: sw79

        Ok. So from nearest to furthest from Ridge (I haven't been to all of these, but they are on my list of wineries I want to try):

        Zins unless otherwise noted:
        Mazzocco - Decent at lower price points to good at higher price points.
        Mauritson
        Unti - Need appt. Syrah
        A. Raffaneli - Need Appt. Cab
        Mounts - Syrah + Zin
        Papapietro Perry - Pinot. Really enjoy their wines. Lots of small wineries here sharing a location

        ----

        Significantly further up:
        Talty
        Zichichi - Good fruit forward zins. Low acid.
        Preston - Lots of varientals. I'm not a fan, but many people on the board are
        Bella
        Sbragia - Cabs. Really like their cabs. Fruit forward but well balanced.

        1. re: goldangl95

          I will add while Dry Creek is beautiful and you will see lots of pretty vineyards along the way, none of these wineries (that I've been to) provide much in terms of tasting room atmosphere or well-manicured grounds. They don't even provide much atmosphere period beyond good people and good wine.

          Preston is in a barn. So, I guess that is something.

          Ferrari-Carano may be worth the stop to see a place with fountains, well-manicured gardens, etc. Also has awesome views. Wine is fine. Not a stand-out but not bad either.

          1. re: goldangl95

            >Preston - Lots of varientals. I'm not a fan, but many people on the board are<

            I like Preston a lot for their place, country atmosphere, outdoor picnic areas, wonderful bread, but alas, not their wine.

      2. Try Woodenhead for pinots and zinfandels, as it's definitely more intimate and a boutique winery. You will be able to chat with some very knowledgeable people in the tasting room. You will take the River Road exit off of Hwy101.....west. Also, you will pass Martinelli on your way to Woodenhead, and you will enjot it if you stop and taste there, even though it will not be quite as hands on as Woodenhead. I had dinner Thursday night at the girl + the fig, and it was good enough, so go ahead and I think you will enjoy it. I have always felt like Healdsburg had the best restaurants after knocking around Sonoma county all day tasting wine. Willi's is probably the best combo of fun, setting, and food. But Scopa and Barn Diva also excel, along with plenty of others. Also, you might call Scherrer Winery and see if they'll agree to a visit, they have great pinots, chards, even some outstanding Sonoma cabernet.