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May 26, 2014 05:58 AM

Specific wine itinerary questions - I've done research!

I've read countless threads over the past few days, and now would appreciate specific advice on my proposed itinerary. I have three days, and I am considering whether to change it around (possibly making it busier) by spending the majority of one day on Spring Mountain, per your powerful recommendations. We love pinot and quaff rose like water during our long hot spring and summers, but in addition to those we'd love to learn more about other varietals. Also love a good cava/sparkler (we did Schramsberg on a previous visit). Propensity towards smaller producers when possible.

Wed night: coming up from San Fran around 4-5pm - too late for tastings. We are tentatively staying in Healdsburg and would like to check out the Wednesday wine maker dinner at Scopa (winemaker for our week is not posted yet).

Thursday the plan was Dry Creek Valley. I'm leaning towards a couple of producers that are close to each other where we can taste roses and red zins - was thinking Quivira, Mounts, Mauriston. Appreciate additional suggestions especially for good roses.

The rest of the day is open - we just need to make our way back to Napa where we're staying. I was thinking about hitting one or two tasting rooms in Sonoma - Patz and Hall was one.

We are actually huge foodies but this is one trip where we're willing to play it fast and loose because the wine comes first. I'm sure we'll do Ad Hoc one night, and fried chicken at Addendum another time. We're too poor for French Laundry and ate at Redd last time. Is there a moderate dining experience that we shouldn't miss? We can probably be happy with arepas from Oxbow and other non-sit downs if the food is good enough.

We have a barrel tasting the next day (Friday) near Stag's Leap at 11am. Originally we were going to go to Carneros that day, but I am wondering if we should spend the day or most of it at Spring Mountain. I'd like to try Paloma, Pride Mtn, and Smith Madrone - I find the idea of tasting a lot of different varietals from small producers appealing, and If the scenery is really gorgeous, that would be a big plus. And we could hit V. Sattui on the way back - bonus.

If we do Pride Mtn et al, that only leaves us Saturday for Carneros. I would really really like to do Saintsbury, Adastra, and diRosa for an art break. I'm also a sucker for international festivals, and I see Gloria Ferrer is having a Catalan Festival that day. Has anyone been and cares to comment? I know their wines are not favorites on this board, but I'm curious if the food is good - there's a lot to be said for plentiful sparkling wine, good eats, and Spanish music and dancing. We have a 10:50p red eye out of SF.

The current Saturday itinerary with the festival puts a lot of pressure on our last day, so I'm still unsure about spending Friday at spring mtn rather than doing Carneros in two days. Change my mind?


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  1. Highly recommend MacPhail in Healdsburg.. great Pinots and the do a nice Rose (need a reservation). We enjoyed the wine makers wednesday at Scopa in Oct, would recommend a reservation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: firecooked

      Thanks - just looked at MacPhail's website and am intrigued. Definitely going to check it out!

    2. I very much like your choices of Mounts and Mauritson for zinfandel -- I don't know if either does a rose. Limerick Lane (which is not too far a way) is currently a favorite for zinfandel. In downtown Healdsburg, Sanglier Cellars does some excellent Rhone varietals including a very nice rose. For dinner, you should look at Bistro Ralph -- they have winemakers in-house on a regular basis.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SFDude

        Thanks SFDude - I checked and they both do roses. Thanks for the Sanglier tip. Re: Bistro Ralph - do you prefer it to Scopa? We have just one dinner in Healdsburg. Thanks much!

      2. Ridge makes some of finest zinfandels around; I recommend their Lytton Springs tasting room in Sonoma:

        I have to say I find barrel tasting more of a gimmick than a way to appreciate any particular varietal or any particular winery.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dordogne

          Interesting - we don't really know that much about the stages of wine making. There's one particular Pinot we order every year and when we reached out the winemaker that's what he suggested. We'd be happy just to shake his hand and drink a glass with him!

        2. Not sure why you are excited for V Sattui.
          They are mostly just a tourist trap with mediocre wines and good picnic grounds with overpriced food.
          If you want a great winery near there, go to Heitz Cellars. One of the few tasting rooms that is still free, and they have a phenomenal rose of grignolino.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kungful

            I'm not - it was a joke. I think they're the most maligned winery on this board. Thanks for the Heitz tip!

          2. @edub: I haven't been to Scopa yet (it is on "the list", but it just hasn't worked out yet). So all I can say is that Bistro Ralph has always been good for me.