California Sunshine… a day in Wine Country…

I have been saving this story for a little while… In August of 2014, I went to California for the first time…on vacation. For my traveling companion, Silvia, it was her first time in the United States. I refer to it as the “California Adventure”. Silvia is also in the wine business, she and her family own a vineyard in Italy. Her job requires her to travel all over Europe and Asia to represent her family’s Winery. We agreed that this trip would never feel like work, and it never did…We spent 9 days sight seeing and going to the beach… We drove the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Francisco passing hundreds of Vineyards along the way. It was a beautiful and relaxing drive. We spent our last day with friends in Sonoma, and on that day, we visited 3 very different wineries. It was a perfect day, and the perfect way to end our vacation. Our friends Sean and Liz used to work together here at the Lucerne Inn, now they are married and loving life in California. Silvia and I meet them at their house in Windsor in the morning, from there it was a short drive to our first stop… Iron Horse Vineyards in Sebastopol. Iron Horse makes both still and sparkling wines. When you go the “tasting room” there, you are offered the choice of a “still” wine tasting, or a “sparkling” wine tasting, we choose sparkling. That is what they are known for. They make 6 different Vintage sparkling wines at Iron Horse, and we tasted them all. Wedding Cuvee, Classic Brut, Russian Cuvee, Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blanc, Brut X, and Brut Rose’. They were all delicious, and certainly lent credibility to Iron Horse’s reputation as one of the premier sparkling producers in California. The “tasting room” is open air, where you stand on dirt, overlooking the vineyard. No spit buckets here, you are encouraged to spit or empty your glass on the ground. Very casual here, very cool people, great first California Winery experience. Next stop Healdsburg and the Seghesio Family Vineyards. Seghesio is a little more formal. They have been in business since 1895, 120 Years and 5 generations. You immediately are reminded of their Italian heritage when you walk into the tasting room. Our host greeted us with a board of cured meats, made at the vineyard, and a bottle of wine. We took this with us as she gave us a tour of the entire winery. She gave us the complete family history, and then brought us to an intimate dining room where Chef Peter Janiak hosted us for lunch. The food and wine pairing lunch was amazing! 2011 Peter’s Pinot Noir with Duck Confit & Warm Frisee Salad, Roasted Figs, Fig Jam, and Duck Cracklins… 2009 Venom (100% Sangiovese) with Spice-Rubbed Yellowfin Tuna, Cranberry Bean & Summer Squash Ragout, and Salsa Verde… 2004 Old Vine Zinfandel with Hand-Cut Egg Fazzoletti, House Garden Marinara with Pecorino Romano… 2007 Aglianico with Zinfandel Braised Shortrib, Herb-Roasted Fingerling and Pt.Reyes Blue-whipped Creme Fraiche… This was by far the best meal of our trip. After lunch we visited the tasting room, Silvia bought some wine to bring back to her parents and we said goodbye to the wonderful people of Seghesio… Now, we were on to Sean’s employer… Jordan Vineyard & Winery. The Jordan Winery was established in 1972 and known for it’s beautiful French Style Chateau in a breathtaking country setting. They are also known for their award winning Cabernet and Chardonnay. Jordan is not open to the public. They give tours by appointment only. So, Sean gave us the tour, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It felt really nice to sit in the sun, on the stone patio overlooking the vineyard, sipping wines in Sonoma. Thank you Sean and Liz… It was a perfect ending, to a perfect day in California Wine Country…