Thursday, January 3, 2008

Wine Country Tour, Part II

The December 17 post featured Wine Country Tour, Part I, should you prefer to read that first. If not, then proceed.

Day II


The following morning we headed northwest on highway 128 toward Mendocino. About 10 miles of highway is very winding and slow traveling, but enjoyable nonetheless, and in little over an hour we arrived in Philo and Navarro, a winery from whom we have ordered but not visited.

A charming tasting room, attentive and excellent customer service, very good wines and at reasonable prices, we were happy to have traveled the distance and selected an assortment for them to ship back home. By the way, we understand they have the oldest Riesling vines in Anderson Valley.

Santi and Geyserville

Upon return toward Windsor, we stopped in Geyserville. 'Gramella' happened to list Santi as the first restaurant we would approach, so we decided to take her advice and due to hunger, it was time to stop for a light lunch. (See Dec 16 post regarding Gramella.)

'A glass of water... no ice please', while we look at the menu. Atop the white linen tablecloth was placed a basket of bread sticks, long and very narrow pencil sized ones which tasted of olive oil and fennel... umm.

Spaghettini al Sugo Calabrese was my husband's choice... a rich sauce of beef and pork ribs, tomatoes and herbs topped with Pecorino Romano, and Cannelloni al Forno stuffed with chicken and pork with tomato and bechamel was my order. And as is our normal fare, we share one another's entree. Mine selection was outstanding, but my husband's Spaghettini was out-stand-ing! So much so that the table next to us, as they were listening and how could they not as I kept oohing and aahing, changed their order.

Homemade Italian cuisine with fresh ingredients begged of a fine glass of red wine, but due to the calendar of events yet to come, more wine tasting, we promised the next time to revisit and have the full deal! Who can have Italian without a glass of wine!

So if you happen to be close to Geyserville, try this charming restaurant for lunch or dinner, but call for reservations for they may be busy. (totally unsolicited)

We continued on highway 128 toward Healdsburg for a stop at Sausal, a winery known for it's Zinfandel wine. Years ago my thoughts of Zinfandel was something similar to a Rose, light and pink colored, but we have come to know them as something very different.

We tasted several of their wines and took away several, but one which caught me so off guard with it's nose and flavor was the Private Reserve Zinfandel, produced from dry farmed 90-year-old vines and aged for 17 months in French oak barrels. It was earthy, dense, and unlike anything I had ever smelled or tasted... so very appealing. We were told it would cellar for at least 10 years. Hmm... just writing about it makes me wish we had ordered more.

On to the next, and we have an appointment for a private tasting so we can't be late.

Garden Creek Ranch Vineyards Winery

Friends of ours who love and collect good wines told us we had to visit this winery, and so we did.

Karin Warnelius-Miller and Justin Miller, a delightful husband and wife team, greeted us in the vineyards and shared their story of growing up and now managing the family ranch and vineyard. They have just released their first wine, a 2002 and it is in limited quantity! A Cabernet Sauvignon blend, they call it Tesserae... a wonderful find for us.

Read their story: or better yet, contact them and order some wine.

We took our purchase with us and headed down the highway as we were very pleased with the day. Stryker for a quick stop... I mean, we were passing by, but I must say our palettes did not shout of outstanding, so we left empty handed.

Time to relax, and dinner tonight is a combination of leftovers from this day and the previous one, accompanied by a great bottle of wine we discovered today. Doesn't get any better than that!

We hope you have enjoyed the wine tour, and perhaps you can join us again on the next one.