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Friends, Guerneville, Russian River Valley, Sonoma

Fall in the Russian River Valley

On a brighter note, I had the most amazing Fall-infused weekend last weekend with my best friend, Heather. Last Saturday morning we started off early, but not before some ocean rolls, peppermint mochas and a quick drive to meet Rob to get my wallet {that I forgot}. Sort of need your ID to drink wine, right? {Oddly enough, I was never carded, now that I think of it. Funny how wrinkles can make you look older;)}. As soon as we got in the car we started blaring the Christmas music. No matter that it was November. It’s already that time of year for us. I put together a slightly flexible itineary for us for our stroll through the Russian River Valley of pinto noirs, chardonnays and sparkling delights. And of course took lots of pictures:


Our first stop was Red Car Wine, voted one of the best Pinot Noirs in West Sonoma. And it didn’t disappoint. The entire flight was incredible. Sonoma definitely has it figured out. Instead of only a flight of 4 tastings in Napa, you get like 8 in Sonoma. {That is said for all the wineries in Sonoma, in case you’re taking notes!} Makes for a lot of wine to drink though. Our curator at Red Car was heart-felt and inviting. The best way to start off our day, really. Their tasting room was so unique. A cozy couch full of printed pillows, fur chairs, handmade jewelry, cool light fixtures – everything. This is one wine club I would consider joining, next to Medlock Ames. If you ever go, definitely try the Roussanne.



Second stop was Dutton Goldfield, right across the way. They had the Zin I’ve been waiting for. Zinfadels don’t usually do it for me, but this one blew my socks off. Immediately bought a bottle. The tasting room was light and open, the charcuterie very tasty — I could eat cheese all day and these cheeses were delectable. We met a new friend, too.



Then things got awesome. At Iron Horse Vineyards. By then, the crowd was getting “bubbly” you could say. Lots of people at this one, and what a gorgeous vineyard and patio tasting bar. Breathtaking view of the fall colors in the vineyard.  By far the best atmosphere of the three. We decided on the sparkly flight and were in bubbly heaven. My favorite was the Rose Brut – I basically threw my debit card at them for 2 bottles for us. Saving it for New Year’s!



{Heather took these gorgeous shots!}


Even if you don’t go up for the wine, you should go to Sonoma in the Fall just to see the colors. Smell the smells. Take in the surroundings. Although I loved the wines we tasted, my favorite part might have been driving to and from everywhere. The vines and fields and farms and trees . . . so beautiful. I also loved our hotel! We found boon hotel+spa on TravelZoo {also read about them in one of my Sunset Mags}.  It was so wonderful catching up with my friend. I could have spent another night up there, exploring Guerneville and talking about anything and everything. Living so close to all this great wine reminds me why I love California so much. Sonoma forever.

Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg, Sonoma

Dry creek valley

The next two wineries we went to in Sonoma were just as wonderful as Medlock Ames. Ridge Vineyards has the best patio and Zinfandel in Healdsburg.We made ourselves comfortable, chatted with the wine narrator about frizbee golf and the Santa Cruz Mountains {the wine, too} and enjoyed each sip.





After Ridge, Rob was getting a little hungry so we stopped at a food truck {along the side of the road – how cool is that!?} and headed to the next winery.


Dry Creek was recommended to us by our friend, Olive. So enchanting! The whole ambiance and tasting room service alone makes you wish you were a member of their wine club. They’re so friendly and happy! The fresh-cut grass smelt so lovely. I’m a Michigan girl at heart and will stop and smell the grass before the roses any day ;)







If I wasn’t feeling as giggly, I would have hit up Bella Vineyard, too. I heard they had hula-hoping on their lawn! Next time maybe. . . Healdsburg coming next!

Alexander Valley, Healdsburg, Sonoma

Medlock Ames

I’ve always wanted to take a page from Sunset magazine and do everything it told me to do. So, I did, and dragged the husband along for the ride:). It also marked one more thing off my summer bucket list, {just in the nick of time, too}.

First stop of my Sonoma birthday was Medlock Ames. Now, before I continue, I just have to say that I fell madly in love with Sonoma as soon as we pulled onto Healdsburg Avenue. More lush than Napa; and much home-ier. I was so pleased with every winery I selected. No traffic – outstanding service – amazing wine – scenic landscape everywhere you turned – it all. I, without a doubt, agree with Sunset that Sonoma wins the face-off over Napa.

On to Medlock Ames. Their 2003 and 2001 Merlot was wonderful, and their planter of lavender! It was so much fun wine-tasting with Rob – I’m so fortunate to have someone who loves red wine as much as me:) We swirled, smelled, tasted and savored.











I highly recommend! Next, Dry Creek Valley and downtown Healdsburg.

Healdsburg, Sonoma, weekend

I’ll always remember the lavender

The husband and I drove up to Sonoma on Saturday for one last hoorah on the last day of summer, and for my birthday. I planned us an exciting day of wine-tasting in Alexander and Dry Creek Vally and an afternoon in Healdsburg. But the one thing I will always remember about my 29th birthday, other than my husband’s eyes and the 2001 Merlot, is the lavender. Our first winery had a planter full of blooming lavender. Even our mini charcuterie plate had a stem of lavender for garnish. I was in love… I’m a total smell person and now it’s a memory I’ll never forget: the smell of lavender on my 29th birthday, with my best friend.