Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wine Country

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So first off, Happy Anniversary Baby! Today is 25 years of wedded bliss. So to celebrate, we did the wine country thing. We started in San Fran and dinner at Boulevard. Very good, the company was exceptional! The next day, a hike in Muir Woods with a few hundred of our closest (not) friends, and then to Sonoma.

First meal was at a girl and a fig right on the historic Sonoma square.
Delicious from top to bottom. Seasonal, beautiful, and we dined outside. So besides the annoying flies (which are everywhere) it was lovely. The next day was a biking adventure. Getaway Adventures was our tour operator. We met at the Napa River at 10 a.m. and biked, drank and ate until 5 p.m.
We hit Etude, Domaine Carneros, Madonna, Boon Fly Cafe and Adastra. We counted 24 tastings of wine and I seriously was ready to go home afterwards. And I mean home, like Tennessee. I was so over wine. But...nothing a good nights sleep can't help you shake.

So back at it again, but this time in a car. We decided to head up to the Healdsberg and Geyersville area. We stumbled into a coffee shop along the Healdsberg square, and the young girl recommended Bella. Looking at the map this winery was way out, so off we went. We first hit the Dry Creek General Store which was pretty cute.
Then along the winding roads to Bella, which was the highlight of the trip.
Charming and small, lots of bikers, great wine, charming caves, and the crush pad is right there and you could watch it in action.  We could have spent hours at Bella, and wish we had picked up a lunch to picnic there. But then we would have missed Diavola.

It is a pizzeria and salumeria on the "main street" in Geyserville. They start with a picardie glass of long, fresh made grissini. Oh my. We shared the roasted romaine salad with grilled shrimp, and our pizza was the Sonja. It was prosciutto (made there) marscapone, arugula and tomato. Delicious. On the table is an olive oil infused with hot Calabrian peppers, much tastier than crushed red pepper on a pizza. Then we ordered dessert. Scott had a root beer float with Salted Caramel Gelato and Brown Butter Gelato, Malted Chocolate Cookie and Caramelized Rice Crispies. The pastry chef recommends stout instead of root beer, but Scott wouldn't go there. He loved it with the root beer. I had Italian S'mores. Caramelized White Chocolate Gelato (an unnecessary component) Gianduja Chocolate, Hand Made Sambuca Marshmallows (be still my heart) and Hazelnut Cocoa Nib Short Bread.
It came with a little cauldron of hot coals from the pizza oven to toast my marshmallows. I soooo loved this. I ate both of them. And to no one's surprise, I could not take another sip of wine all day. Which was fine, since we went to Frances Ford Coppola Winery.

We affectionately called it the Disneyland Winery. I am glad we didn't miss it. It is a stunning place with a pool, cabanas, gorgeous setting and lots of movie memorabilia. It was fun to see the awards, the photos and there was even some stuff besides wine for sale. The wine is okay, but we weren't crazy about it. There are lots of people here.  My favorite wine is the Sophia Prosecco in the little pink can. I am a total sucker for packaging, and I love a little sparkle but cannot drink an entire bottle on a whim. 

Then we drove and drove. It was stunning countryside and we mapped out the next day's adventures. I really wanted to see the petrified forest, but $32 for the two of us to walk in the woods was a little steep. I could get a nice Pinot for that!
We stumbled upon the Culinary Institute of America, where I spent more time than anywhere else thus far, and Jimtown Store which to my dismay was closed.
 Back at the hotel a little Campari and soda settled my stomach, and a good nights sleep was on tap so we can start it all over again.  Next up, dinner at Bottega.  I am a huge Michael Chiarello fan...


  1. WOW what a fantastic Anniversary! Congratulations, it is great to see you celebrating in such style.
    I am super impressed you rode bikes everywhere while sampling the wines. Your meals sound divine, I'm still trying to wipe the drool from your desserts.

    Looking forward to the restaurant review!