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Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Evan Pontoriero
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#251 Post by Evan Pontoriero » May 11th, 2016, 7:33 pm

Hey Brian,

You need to include Warren's place BurtoNZ Bakery in Windsor. He was the viticulturist for the Hambrecht properties, Grist and Floodgate. I participated in his kickstarter after he left the industry and went back to baking school. Amazing pies(Steak and Mushroom is my favorite) as well as sausage bread, and NZ dessert favorites like Lambingtons. And that does injustice to the incredible bread he makes. It is next to the Safeway on the opposite side of the freeway from old town. Make sure to ask for the NZ "keeechup" with your pie.
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#252 Post by Brian Tuite » June 26th, 2016, 6:52 am

Evan Pontoriero wrote:Hey Brian,

You need to include Warren's place BurtoNZ Bakery in Windsor. He was the viticulturist for the Hambrecht properties, Grist and Floodgate. I participated in his kickstarter after he left the industry and went back to baking school. Amazing pies(Steak and Mushroom is my favorite) as well as sausage bread, and NZ dessert favorites like Lambingtons. And that does injustice to the incredible bread he makes. It is next to the Safeway on the opposite side of the freeway from old town. Make sure to ask for the NZ "keeechup" with your pie.
Sorry about the late addition Evan. newhere Got it though!
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#253 Post by Greg Smith » July 5th, 2016, 10:59 am

There is not a lot mentioned/recommendations about staying in Glen Ellen in the thread (one mention of The Gaige House). I was looking at Glen Ellen for its central location but is it not the best place to stay?

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#254 Post by Bryan Carr » July 11th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Wow, this is a great guide, thanks for compiling it! My wife and I are going to be doing 2 days in Sonoma 2 in Napa in August and so far day 1 is going to be Selyem, Carlisle, and Copain, maybe one more if we can swing it time wise, but not expecting to. Any suggestions for another group of 3 or 4 clustered together for day 2? Maybe the Plaza/Sonoma Square and do Girl & the Fig for lunch? I think we'll be doing Ridge LS on its own the afternoon we get into town (prior to day 1).
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#255 Post by Brian Tuite » July 11th, 2016, 3:51 pm

Greg Smith wrote:There is not a lot mentioned/recommendations about staying in Glen Ellen in the thread (one mention of The Gaige House). I was looking at Glen Ellen for its central location but is it not the best place to stay?
Glen Ellen is central to the Sonoma Valley, Santa Rosa central to the County. I live here so I don't have experience at any of the lodging locations. That's where I rely on suggestions and recommendations from other berserkers who have visited. I hear the Gaige house is very nice. Very expensive too.
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#256 Post by M. Sai » July 12th, 2016, 8:57 pm

Kenwood Inn & Spa and Gaige House would be your high end options for mid-valley. The Jack London Londge (I think) is on the low end of the scale - their bar is a favorite locals dive, but I've never been in the hotel. There's not much else mid-valley unless you go the VRBO route.
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#257 Post by M. Sai » July 15th, 2016, 2:52 pm

New addition for the Sonoma Square: Tasca Tasca - Portuguese Tapas and Wine Bar. I've always believed that La Salette doesn't get it's fair share of praise as one of the best restaurants in Sonoma, some of our most memorable meals in Sonoma have been there. We were excited to see the same owner opened a tapas bar on the other side of Sonoma Square so we stopped by last night.

La Salette has always had a tapas menu that we often ordered from for appetizers, and we were happy to see the menu at Tasca Tasca was basically that same thing in a new location. Anchovies, whole sardines, chourico, escargot, etc. We had seven items and all were great, paired with a fantastic Alvarinho from the wine list.

The vibe is much more casual than La Salette, but the food quality is just as good. They are also open until midnight - which makes it the only late-night option on the square after Girl and the Fig closes their bistro menu at 10pm.
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#258 Post by Arv R » July 18th, 2016, 9:19 pm

Thanks all for the suggestions in this thread (as well as some that were sent privately)

We visited the commercial yet charming sites of Ch. St Jean, Rodney Strong, and Kunde while enjoying great food at Spinster Sisters (in Santa Rosa), and the above mentioned La Salette, in the square. I wouldn't go raving about the DoubleTree, but its consistent, and given that weekends in wine country don't get discounted much in the summer time, it was fair enough value. (Not much Diamond level amenities for Hilton guests surprisingly)

Also stopped in at Siduri's warehouse/tasting room, where we learned a lot from their knowledgeable staff. The SO and I thought that was the best visit, in terms of both the wines we enjoyed, and what we experienced, perhaps because we had called ahead and were the only ones at the appointment.
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#259 Post by Diana E. » August 20th, 2016, 11:15 am

Taking our 25 year old daughter with us to Napa/Sonoma. She has recently acquired a taste for wine and pretty much is open to anything. She does like lighter reds, but will drink a zin. Thinking she might like Rhone wines. We are members at Tablas Creek, but that's a bit too far to go for a tasting.

Any similar style wineries in the area? Would prefer drop in.
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#260 Post by Brian Tuite » August 20th, 2016, 2:29 pm

Diana E. wrote:Taking our 25 year old daughter with us to Napa/Sonoma. She has recently acquired a taste for wine and pretty much is open to anything. She does like lighter reds, but will drink a zin. Thinking she might like Rhone wines. We are members at Tablas Creek, but that's a bit too far to go for a tasting.

Any similar style wineries in the area? Would prefer drop in.
Imagery has a broad assortment of wines to offer.
On the lighter side there is Wind Gap, lots of Rhones. Check hours and days open.
DaVero is fun as well. Carignano, Sangiovese, Primitivo, Albarińo etc...
Fogline is drop in also. Pinots, Syrah, Zin, Chard, Rosé
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#261 Post by Steve Gautier » August 20th, 2016, 6:17 pm

Brian,

Thanks for all the work you put into this. Two quick updates. Big 3 Diner is listed as closed. I would add Sunflower Caffe to Sonoma Square. We had a great brunch there.
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#262 Post by Sean Devaney » August 21st, 2016, 7:09 am

Diana E. wrote:Taking our 25 year old daughter with us to Napa/Sonoma. She has recently acquired a taste for wine and pretty much is open to anything. She does like lighter reds, but will drink a zin. Thinking she might like Rhone wines. We are members at Tablas Creek, but that's a bit too far to go for a tasting.

Any similar style wineries in the area? Would prefer drop in.
For Rhones and a great view visit Frick in Dry Creek Valley. As a bonus none of the wines are over $30.

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#263 Post by Brian Tuite » August 21st, 2016, 11:18 am

Steve Gautier wrote:Brian,

Thanks for all the work you put into this. Two quick updates. Big 3 Diner is listed as closed. I would add Sunflower Caffe to Sonoma Square. We had a great brunch there.
Thanks, I updated the OP!
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#264 Post by Bud Carey » August 21st, 2016, 11:26 am

+1 on the Sunflower caffe!!!
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#265 Post by tthornton » September 6th, 2016, 7:43 am

I have some time at the Barlow later this week and we can go to Marimar or La Follette - anyone care to be a tiebreaker? Have heard good things about both, but we only have time to visit one that day due to other appointments.

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#266 Post by Jane Crabill » September 10th, 2016, 11:16 am

I would add more detail about John Ash & Co. under Santa Rosa places to eat. They offer breakfast on weekdays and brunch on Sat. and Sunday. Dinners can be pricy but they sometimes have special "hamburger" or "pizza" nights. The décor and atmosphere is very nice and they have a lively bar and lounge scene. A fun place to dine.
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#267 Post by Brian Tuite » September 19th, 2016, 7:18 am

Did some editing and additions to places to stay, non wine related activities, Farmers markets. Always under construction. Really need to update restaurants and add new wineries as that landscape changes so often. All in due time. Please send me PM's with recommendations, additions, critiques, removals etc so I can do bulk updates. Thanks everyone!
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#268 Post by Evan Pontoriero » September 19th, 2016, 8:54 pm

A couple of adds and a change.

Fulton/Wikiup/Santa Rosa

Robert Rue was sold to Venge. Will be renovated and re-open probably next year.

Criklewood for Prime Rib. Long time locals joint. Stick with Prime Rib.
Blue Beagle Coffee - Near Molseburys Market. Way excellent coffee. Wine industry favorite.
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#269 Post by Evan Pontoriero » September 19th, 2016, 9:06 pm

Oh gotta represent Petaluma for food.

Twisted Vines - like 4 tables in a tiny wine store, pre fix. Hidden secret. Hard to get in but worth it. When it is not a restaurant it is a wine store.
Sauced - I wasn't sure of this place but DAMN. Brisket to die for.
Wishbone - Low country hip
Pub Republic - Best Shepherds Pie ever
Pongos - Thai fusion, excellent locals joint with live music.
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#270 Post by Abbie S. » October 20th, 2016, 5:09 pm

We are going to be in Sonoma next weekend and are looking for a cool place to watch our Indians in the World Series. Any suggestions? Santa Rosa area or Healdsburg area. A great beer selection is a plus!
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#271 Post by Brian Tuite » October 20th, 2016, 7:44 pm

Abbie S. wrote:We are going to be in Sonoma next weekend and are looking for a cool place to watch our Indians in the World Series. Any suggestions? Santa Rosa area or Healdsburg area. A great beer selection is a plus!
Ausiello's 5th Street Grill is a popular hangout for watching games. Located in Downtown Santa Rosa. This is where the hip young crowd hangs out.

On the West Side stuck in the back of a strip mall is the Westside Grill which is more of a hard core sports bar complete with pool tables and lots of beer on tap. Probably a better place for a sports fan to enjoy a game. Just depends on the atmosphere you are looking for.
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#272 Post by Brian Gilp » October 24th, 2016, 6:48 am

I have to make one huge endorsement for Sonoma Canopy Tours. What a well run operation and a huge rush. Everyone should take half a day away from the wineries and go zip lining. The nature is beautiful as well once you remember to look around. Just don't look down.

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#273 Post by Roger Ouellette » November 9th, 2016, 5:13 pm

Brian, planning our March trip to your neck of the woods and just showed the CFO all that you've done here. "Wow" and "that's a lot of work, really excellent" were just a few of her comments. Looking forward to catching up with y'all again!

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#274 Post by Abbie S. » November 11th, 2016, 2:49 pm

Highly recommend adding Cooperage Brewing Co to your Santa Rosa list of breweries. Great beers and great atmosphere.
http://www.cooperagebrewing.com/
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#275 Post by Alan Rath » December 5th, 2016, 10:28 am

Carlisle brought in Franchetti's to make pizza for their pickup event this past Saturday. Gotta say, as good as Rosso is, these pizzas were at least as good, if not better. Need to add Franchetti's to the Santa Rosa dining list!

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#276 Post by Lili Dunford » December 8th, 2016, 1:43 pm

Great post Brian, thank you. An old article I know... but I was drawn to it because I am planning to do some traveling in the RV next year to Sonoma County to taste and drink lots of nice wine! :)
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#277 Post by Bryan Carr » December 13th, 2016, 11:22 am

Once again, great post, one update for the winery list:
Westerhold in Bennett Valley has pulled up all of their syrah vines and grafted chardonnay in their place (which makes me want to cry) so their entry should be updated probably (and they should get their heads examined).
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#278 Post by etomasi » December 17th, 2016, 8:38 pm

Love, love love, this list. Super helpful!!

I'm setting up an appointment in a couple weeks at Castelli Vineyards. love their Nebbiolo. I didnt see them on the list. Maybe I missed them. They have done Berserkerdays the last couple years, I think.
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#279 Post by Bryan Carr » December 23rd, 2016, 11:56 am

Lauren and I will be joining her parents for Winter Wineland next month, besides Siduri, Ridge, and Holdredge, are there any suggestions for some high quality places on the tasting pass that might satisfy us (irrational dislike of zinfandel, love pinot/syrah/chard) AND her parents (irrational dislike of pinot, love zin/cab/syrah)? It's their anniversary and I'm super happy to let them run the show, but if there's a "can't miss" winery that comes to mind they'd probably let us pick one or two places. If there's a Zin place that might make us converts or a Pinot place that might do the same for them I'd love to go.

https://www.wineroad.com/events/winter- ... ngwineries
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#280 Post by Brian Tuite » December 24th, 2016, 7:49 pm

Bryan Carr wrote:Lauren and I will be joining her parents for Winter Wineland next month, besides Siduri, Ridge, and Holdredge, are there any suggestions for some high quality places on the tasting pass that might satisfy us (irrational dislike of zinfandel, love pinot/syrah/chard) AND her parents (irrational dislike of pinot, love zin/cab/syrah)? It's their anniversary and I'm super happy to let them run the show, but if there's a "can't miss" winery that comes to mind they'd probably let us pick one or two places. If there's a Zin place that might make us converts or a Pinot place that might do the same for them I'd love to go.

https://www.wineroad.com/events/winter- ... ngwineries
Limerick Lane - Great Zin, great Syrah.
Porter Creek - Syrah/Pinot/Grenache
Calluna - Bdx Blends

On the participating winery list:
Ridge
Papapietro Perry
Medlock Ames
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#281 Post by Bryan Carr » December 27th, 2016, 10:49 am

Brian Tuite wrote:
Bryan Carr wrote:Lauren and I will be joining her parents for Winter Wineland next month, besides Siduri, Ridge, and Holdredge, are there any suggestions for some high quality places on the tasting pass that might satisfy us (irrational dislike of zinfandel, love pinot/syrah/chard) AND her parents (irrational dislike of pinot, love zin/cab/syrah)? It's their anniversary and I'm super happy to let them run the show, but if there's a "can't miss" winery that comes to mind they'd probably let us pick one or two places. If there's a Zin place that might make us converts or a Pinot place that might do the same for them I'd love to go.

https://www.wineroad.com/events/winter- ... ngwineries
Limerick Lane - Great Zin, great Syrah.
Porter Creek - Syrah/Pinot/Grenache
Calluna - Bdx Blends

On the participating winery list:
Ridge
Papapietro Perry
Medlock Ames
Thanks, Brian!
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#282 Post by Jeff Fish » January 5th, 2017, 9:34 am

This has really developed into an excellent reference. Thanks for the hard work.
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#283 Post by Marlo M » January 10th, 2017, 11:49 am

I should have posted this earlier but, about 3 weeks ago, my wife and I went up Healdsburg way. We have been going to Sonoma since the 1980's [we were staying at a small B&B on Trenton Road during the great Valentine Flood in '86] and are always looking for wineries we have not yet visited. We decided to include Porter Creek and Limerick Lane based on Brian's suggestion. At Porter Creek, there was only one other couple tasting and the pourer (Jonathan? Pre-alzheimers or dementia on my part) was as friendly and cordial as could be. We had an extensive tasting of their pinots and picked up half a case. We enjoyed the tasting room, the vibe, and the wines. Later, after lunch, we went to Limerick. I guess I should read reviews better because I had not realized that their strength are zins. There was no one there but the staff. Andy poured the wines and provided us with a history of the winery. He pointed out the hillsides, explained the different locations and types of vines planted on the property and the different soils. He was a friendly, informative and just great all around guy. On this Saturday, there wasn't anyone out tasting [no one at Rochioli but us] and I asked him whether it was normal for this time of year or whether it was atypical. He said it was usually slow but had been very slow during the past couple of weeks. We picked up one of the Rocky Knoll zins and a few other zins. I felt fortunate to have been given so much time and attention. We had a wonderful dinner at Scopa and stayed overnight at Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza which is on the square. A great short trip.
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#284 Post by Tom Gibson » January 11th, 2017, 10:44 am

Marlo M wrote:I should have posted this earlier but, about 3 weeks ago, my wife and I went up Healdsburg way. We have been going to Sonoma since the 1980's [we were staying at a small B&B on Trenton Road during the great Valentine Flood in '86] and are always looking for wineries we have not yet visited. We decided to include Porter Creek and Limerick Lane based on Brian's suggestion. At Porter Creek, there was only one other couple tasting and the pourer (Jonathan? Pre-alzheimers or dementia on my part) was as friendly and cordial as could be. We had an extensive tasting of their pinots and picked up half a case. We enjoyed the tasting room, the vibe, and the wines. Later, after lunch, we went to Limerick. I guess I should read reviews better because I had not realized that their strength are zins. There was no one there but the staff. Andy poured the wines and provided us with a history of the winery. He pointed out the hillsides, explained the different locations and types of vines planted on the property and the different soils. He was a friendly, informative and just great all around guy. On this Saturday, there wasn't anyone out tasting [no one at Rochioli but us] and I asked him whether it was normal for this time of year or whether it was atypical. He said it was usually slow but had been very slow during the past couple of weeks. We picked up one of the Rocky Knoll zins and a few other zins. I felt fortunate to have been given so much time and attention. We had a wonderful dinner at Scopa and stayed overnight at Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza which is on the square. A great short trip.


I was at Limerick Lane in September and I experienced the same. I wasn't charged for the tasting for two after buying only one bottle. The 1910 Zin was incredible and I wish I had bought more and shipped them home.

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#285 Post by Brian Tuite » January 14th, 2017, 7:33 am

This morning I performed a long overdue update to the OP adding all of Evan's Petaluma Dining selections. Also added Vérité Wines, Castelli Vineyards, Franchettis' Wood Fire Kitchen and updated Westerhold to note the Syrah changes.

Evan, when am I going to need to add the Petaluma Gap AVA?

I'm sure there's more to do. Places come and go. If you notice an omission and/or needed change please PM me or mention it in the thread. Thanks for the feedback. I intended this to be of value so I am happy to see it provide that to some of you. [cheers.gif]
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#286 Post by Bryan Carr » January 17th, 2017, 9:57 am

Just want to say we visited Holdredge on Saturday based on the recommendation from this thread and wow, good stuff!

Also, maybe another edit, Arista is now appt only and their tasting fee is $35, which they didn't tell us until AFTER we had tasted AND the guy talked us out of sharing when we walked in, the SOB [swearing.gif]
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#287 Post by Evan Pontoriero » January 17th, 2017, 9:34 pm

Brian Tuite wrote:This morning I performed a long overdue update to the OP adding all of Evan's Petaluma Dining selections. Also added Vérité Wines, Castelli Vineyards, Franchettis' Wood Fire Kitchen and updated Westerhold to note the Syrah changes.

Evan, when am I going to need to add the Petaluma Gap AVA?

I'm sure there's more to do. Places come and go. If you notice an omission and/or needed change please PM me or mention it in the thread. Thanks for the feedback. I intended this to be of value so I am happy to see it provide that to some of you. [cheers.gif]

Oh those wheels of government grind slowly. For all intents and purposes we are an AVA they only need to write the final ruling which could take a few months. [scratch.gif]
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#288 Post by Brian Tuite » January 18th, 2017, 6:15 am

Bryan Carr wrote:Just want to say we visited Holdredge on Saturday based on the recommendation from this thread and wow, good stuff!

Also, maybe another edit, Arista is now appt only and their tasting fee is $35, which they didn't tell us until AFTER we had tasted AND the guy talked us out of sharing when we walked in, the SOB [swearing.gif]
Do they waive the tasting fee with a purchase?
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#289 Post by Bryan Carr » January 19th, 2017, 1:06 pm

Brian Tuite wrote:
Bryan Carr wrote:Just want to say we visited Holdredge on Saturday based on the recommendation from this thread and wow, good stuff!

Also, maybe another edit, Arista is now appt only and their tasting fee is $35, which they didn't tell us until AFTER we had tasted AND the guy talked us out of sharing when we walked in, the SOB [swearing.gif]
Do they waive the tasting fee with a purchase?
Half a case
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#290 Post by Brian Tuite » January 19th, 2017, 5:46 pm

Bryan Carr wrote:
Brian Tuite wrote:
Bryan Carr wrote:Just want to say we visited Holdredge on Saturday based on the recommendation from this thread and wow, good stuff!

Also, maybe another edit, Arista is now appt only and their tasting fee is $35, which they didn't tell us until AFTER we had tasted AND the guy talked us out of sharing when we walked in, the SOB [swearing.gif]
Do they waive the tasting fee with a purchase?
Half a case
[swoon.gif]
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#291 Post by Tom Gibson » January 19th, 2017, 5:48 pm

Artista was $35/pp and waived with 2 bottles in Sept. no appt. I didn't think it was a good tasting then. Def don't now.

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#292 Post by Bryan Carr » January 20th, 2017, 9:53 am

They've had a lot of organizational and ownership upheaval in the last couple years according to one of the employees, I think their new owners must be trying to go upmarket, looks like I got to be the test case
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#293 Post by Marlo M » January 23rd, 2017, 1:23 pm

The San Francisco Chronicle had a section Sunday on Healdsburg and included an interesting story about Joe Rochioli, Jr.. http://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/artic ... 869634.php I had not realized the connections between Rochioli and Davis Bynum and Gary Farrell. The section of the paper included places to visit such as Porter Creek and Arista. They included a photo of Arista and listed the pricing for tasting at $20. It's been a few years since I last visited the winery [a member of Wine Berserkers had recommended the Longbow Pinot] and I remember the Owner of the winery at the bar and talking to visitors. If they are going upscale with $35 tastings, it seems a shame.
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#294 Post by Kurt B e i t l e r » January 30th, 2017, 10:23 am

Brian, update from Freestone/ Occidental area:
Our wonderful neighbor, Joseph Phelps Freestone, has unfortunately closed their Freestone tasting room. Their wines are as good as ever and their tasting room & excellent staff will be missed!!
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#295 Post by Brian Tuite » January 30th, 2017, 11:19 am

Kurt B e i t l e r wrote:Brian, update from Freestone/ Occidental area:
Our wonderful neighbor, Joseph Phelps Freestone, has unfortunately closed their Freestone tasting room. Their wines are as good as ever and their tasting room & excellent staff will be missed!!
FIFY! [cheers.gif]
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#296 Post by JesseC » January 31st, 2017, 12:20 pm

Have been meaning to post a little info about a trip we took to Sonoma/Napa over the MLK holiday weekend, we stayed 3 nights in a farmhouse halfway between 101 and 128, so it was a good jumping off point to both valleys.

Where we ate:

Schellville Grille (Sonoma) - BBQ spot for lunch, pretty good sandwiches and a few craft beers on tap. Meat was tasty, we tried pork, brisket and chicken between our group. This would be a great place to throw a party or event at.

Bosko's Trattoria (Calistoga) - fun laid-back vibe, food was pretty good. Wine list was reasonably priced and a few good beers on tap.

Chalkboard (Healdsburg) - excellent small plates, 4 of us shared about 6 or 7 dishes and we enjoyed everything. Service was a little spotty but it was a busy time and we weren't in a rush so not a major issue for us.

Willow Wood Cafe (Graton) - neat spot in a town we'd never visited before. We were there for lunch so our table had a few sandwiches and a chicken pot pie, all of which were excellent. Pickled veg on the side of the roasted pork tenderloin and grilled steak sandwiches were a nice touch!
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#297 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » January 31st, 2017, 9:38 pm

Quick question for the Santa Rosa folks - how realistic is it to get uber or taxis between Guerneville and Santa Rosa? Have a couple of events in Santa Rosa, but thinking of staying in Guerneville.

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#298 Post by Brian Tuite » February 1st, 2017, 6:24 am

Clayton Wai-Poi wrote:Quick question for the Santa Rosa folks - how realistic is it to get uber or taxis between Guerneville and Santa Rosa? Have a couple of events in Santa Rosa, but thinking of staying in Guerneville.
No problem at all.
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#299 Post by Rich Salsano » February 14th, 2017, 7:54 am

Currently out here now so I thought I would add a few points (not sure if previously mentioned).

Scopa in Healdsburg is closing in April. Get there while you can. Killer meal last night.

Acorn Winery is under the radar but producing some fantastic terroir driven field blends. I had not heard of them before this trip.

Visa Signature has a program of participating wineries that cardholders get free tastings and or discounts at a number of places. You can lookup the list online.
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#300 Post by Bryan Carr » February 14th, 2017, 3:19 pm

Bryan Carr wrote:They've had a lot of organizational and ownership upheaval in the last couple years according to one of the employees, I think their new owners must be trying to go upmarket, looks like I got to be the test case
Quick update on Arista: I wrote them an email re: the tasting-fee debacle and they were completely apologetic, refunded our fees, and have updated their tasting sheets to note the tasting fee amount to avoid confusion in the future.
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