Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day of Long Flight, Great Bubbles, Downtown Sonoma

SONOMA, CA. - There remains something a bit magical, pleasing, and special about Sonoma and Napa Valleys. One can lose that feeling, perhaps, after visiting vineyards/wineries in other parts of California, France, and Italy.

But for many American wine lovers the Mecca has and probably always will be this area an hour north of San Francisco.

We tasted through about two-thirds of Ferrer's lineup
I'm here for the week to do a little writing but mostly as a vacation. Wabash College senior Drew Casey is along with me to further explore his interest in wine and, luckily for me take photos. Check out the few shots he took at our one brief stop last night here.

We arrived in San Francisco shortly after lunch, took the BART train into downtown, picked up our rental and headed north. We made a brief stop at the Golden Gate Bridge, which was a big foggy, but we'll return there Friday.

We had one planned stop and that was Gloria Ferrer's just outside the town of Sonoma. I have been in the area twice before but had never made the stop. From now on I'll repeat the advice of regulars in the area and recommend the Gloria bubbles as the best place to start or end a wine country visit.

Ferrer's sparkling wines are available in all 50 states and around the world. They are very well balanced, with elegant fruit and just the right amount of bubble. And by that I mean, many sparkling wines can be almost effervescent - not to my taste. It's also important to note the price points for Ferrer's sparklers are affordable, ranging from $15 for the widely available Brut, to her most expensive bottle of Carneros Cuvee, aged 10 years, for $50.

We wrapped up a short afternoon with a walk around Sonoma Square. Today its off to Napa Valley to Joseph Phelps, Robert Mondavi, and Chateau Montelena - might as well start with the real Napa wine.

Two "wine writing" stops of note this week. Tomorrow morning we'll venture north of Santa Rosa and join Eric Miller and members of his wine club to see a wine barrell made from start to finish. Miller is owner of Kokomo Winery wines and is, indeed, from Kokomo, Indiana.

Thursday afternoon will include a visit to Ted Klopp, who graduated from Wabash College in 1967, to his Pinot Noir vineyards.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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