Tag Archives: Gloria Ferrer

Sonoma wine tasting is one of my favorite things

Ya like that title?  Yep, I tell it like it is.

First of all, I’m back in Cali and thank god because it freakin’ snowed yesterday in Denver (:?)!  Today I’m all about the 72 degrees, checkin’ back in with my fur babies, and getting a mani/pedi followed by girl time!

Before I jump into wine tasting, I think it’s pretty funny that so many of you hate white creamy things.  So who does eat that nast?

My good buddy Kurt and his wife came out last Friday to travel around my lovely state for the week and we wanted to catch up.  What better way than through wine tasting, right?  Kurt and I were both interns at 3M in St. Paul, MN the Summer of 2001 and have managed to stay in contact for 10 years!  Pretty cool, eh?

Anyway, here is the recap (click to enlarge):

Gloria Ferrer — One of my absolute favorite wineries because of its faboosh views (see above), awesome sparkling wines (most comparable to champagne that I’ve tasted), and it’s also the 2nd winery I ever visited when I moved to Cali (2002).  We all shared a bottle of Blanc de Noirs, but this was after getting a hefty free taste of the newly bottled Jose Carneros Pinot Noir.

Hawkes — This winery is located in the heart of “downtown” Sonoma off the square.  I had never been and liked it’s unique minimalist decor (not all that photo worthy, however).  Unfortunately most of their wines were Cabs, which I’m not a fan of, but they did have a Merlot and said I could just get a glass.  Wanna know the clincher?  3 people did 6 tastes and I had a glass of Merlot ALL FOR FREE!  Yep, they waived 4 tasting fees completely ($40 total).  Nice!  Kudos to Hawkes!

Eric Ross — A woman at Gloria Ferrer recommended Eric Ross for the Pinots (my fave), so surely we had to stop.  They definitely had an interesting rooster theme going on here (see above), and I swear the guy that was serving us was on something (and it wasn’t wine).  He was definitely nice, but super weird.  My favorite wine was called the Struttin’ Red, which is basically a red blen that could be hit ore miss.  It was a WIN!

Jacuzzi — How can you not go to a winery called Jacuzzi?  If you’re wondering if you taste while soaking in a hot tub, the answer is no.  BUT they offered olive oil tastings, which half the group tried, and free wine tastings (ding ding ding Score!).  Apparently everyone and their Aunt Myrna had the same idea because this place was packed to the max!  Overall, I found their wines to be okay, probably because I’m not a huge fan of Italian wines (too jammy).  But I did find a Montepulciano that was pretty awestruck and had flavors of coffee and vanilla.

Cline — Since we were being booted out of Jacuzzi, they recommended we head across the street to Cline, their sister winery that was open 30 minutes later.  Hah, way to maximize the wine tasting hours.  They were a little peeved to see a group of five come in so late, but ce la vie.  We immediately scanned the wine list and determined which ones we wanted to taste given our limited time.  Ultimately one of the best wines we had was an Oakley Five Reds that was only $11!!!  That’s unheard of in Sonoma.  I shall call it my Tuesday wine ;)

What’s your favorite winery?

How often do you get to see your far-away friends?

Have a great weekend :)


Filed under Reviews

Gettin’ Silly in Sonoma

I think you can tell from my last post that I was in a pretty good mood and had some awesome plans in store for the weekend.  Dare I say was drunk with happiness?

I chose to fortify my drunken oblivion with some wine tasting on Saturday!

Zach planned the whole thing.  Usually I am the one that takes lead on organizing all events, transportation, food, invites, destination points, etc.  It was more than refreshing for him to take the wheel and let me just come along for the ride. And by “ride,” I mean minivan.  Ohhhh yeaaaah!

Kelley and I proudly standing next to the superfly minivan

Though I adore pretty much every wine region in this area, I wanted to revisit Sonoma since it had been a couple of years.  Zach prepared in advance and scoped out the wineries that specialized in Pinot Noir (my fave) and also sparkling wine.  Score!

We started at Viansa:

Incredible iron work all over the estate

Gorgeous property, less than stellar wine.  Very meh.  The Italian varietals are generally not my favorite anyway, so at least expectations were low.  They did have cheese, mustard and tapenade tasting, which was phenomenal.  It wasn’t a total loss!

Next up was Gloria Ferrer, which is one of my absolute favorite affordable sparkling wines.  So tasty. I drink their wines often, but have only been to this vineyard once before — back in 2002 when I first moved to Cali!

But first, we had to pull over for this photo op:

This chair didn't look that big until I got in it!

Okay back on track.  We snagged a small table at Gloria Ferrer and decided to share a bottle of the Brut Rose, which is limited in sales and cannot be found in stores.  Loved it!  Crisp, light in fruit, not too sweet.  It was downed by all pretty darn fast ;)  Along with our champagne, we broke out the snacks: hummus, pita chips, maple smoked cheddar, salami, chocolates, carrots.  It was a healthy feast =)

Since we quickly snarfed down the champagne, we decided to get a bottle of Pinot to share as well.  This didn’t knock my socks off, but I wouldn’t kick it outta bed.

Kelley, Josh, and the DD ;)

Rachel, Me, Zach

Next up was a small little winery called Anaba, where the volume was loud and the atmosphere was fun.

Moving on, we headed to Schug because we heard that had Pinots.  I would summarize this place by saying it was rapid fire wine tasting.  The wines were good, but the tasting room was cramped and just didn’t have an atmosphere that screamed “stay! drink more!”  But I did end up buying a Pinot and snapping a pic of our group by the minivan turned hummer.

The driver didn't want to switch rides :D

Onward to Ravenswood.  This was the most mainstream winery we went to and while I do enjoy their Merlots, they were primarily serving Zins :P  Yick!  Zin is easily my least desired vino.  The others liked it though!  Win!

We had to end on a good note, so I convinced (severe arm twisting you know) to go Domaine Carneros, which also specialized in sparkling wines and Pinots.  AND it is modeled after the wineries in Eperney, France, birthplace of Champagne, and our vacay spot in 2007.

It’s safe to say I was silly at this point.

I will melt you with my mind

We had an incredible server who offered us a lot of extra tastes — surely a full 2 glasses more, including their premium $100+ bottles.  Nice!  I would have easily purchased a case of sparkling wine, but hubby isn’t much of a fan, so we went with a pretty spectacular Pinot.

One last group shot before hitting the road:

Domaine Carneros

When all was said and done, we only walked away with 3 bottles of vino.  2 Pinots for me and 1 Zin for the hubby.


I had a lovely and exhausting day and it was well worth the wait for my Birthday celebration.  Thanks friends :D

What is your favorite wine?  Least favorite?


Filed under Reviews