California Wine Country: Day 2

Hi! Today we’re continuing our wine country adventure with Day 2 of our trip. (If you missed Day 1, feel free to catch up here)

After a quick trip to the gym in the morning (we had to burn off a little of the first day’s wine and eats to make room for Day 2) we started the day with a similar plan: winery, snacks, winery, lunch, winery:

Ledson Winery, Sonoma:

Ledson Winery Approach Journey Inspired

Recommended by the guidebook

Let’s start the description of Ledson by saying that the wines here are fabulous. We were impressed by So good. Our tasting guide was Guy, who was very knowledgeable and had a fun little aeration technique we had never seen before: he would roll the body of the wine glasses on the counter before handing us each taste. (Note: I think you have to have a particularly shaped glass for this to be possible without spilling wine all over the counter…just saying if you wanted to try this at home…)

The grounds at Ledson are beautiful, and the building is enormous. It looks a bit like a castle with roses and grape vines growing all around it. The winery produces 60-80 small production wine varieties each year, which is a bit different from many wineries. They had 51 wines to choose from on the tasting menu, but we had Guy choose for us since we figured he knew what was best!

Our tasting was inside, in a room covered with intricate woodwork. We really enjoyed this tasting because each wine was very unique and we could both taste distinct flavors in each of the wines. It was so fun trying to guess what notes we were tasting and we actually got pretty close to the official tasting notes on a few of them!

Here’s what we tried:

  • 2012 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc: apples, citrus-particularly grapefruit, tart with subtle finish  |  rating: √+
  • 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay: ‘cooking smell’, caramel popcorn, silky mouth feel, great finish   |  rating: √+
  • 2011 Anderson Valley ‘Three Vineyards’ Pinot Noir: jam on the nose, hickory smoke, fruity taste, light tobacco finish   |  rating: √+
  • 2009 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: fruity nose, blackberry, chocolate, campfire, leather   |  rating: √+
  • 2009 Lake County Petite Sirah: dark plum color- opaque, very slow legs, blackberry cobbler, smoke, chewy mouth feel, vanilla finish   |  rating: √+
  • 2011 Dry Creek Valley ‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel: cedar and savory spices nose, dark fruit, cherry, pepper, vanilla, dry and buttery finish   |  rating: √+

Our Favorites from Ledson:  Sarah –  2011 Zinfandel   |  Ben – 2011 Chardonnay and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Ledson Entrance Journey Inspired

Ledson Garden Journey Inspired

Ledson Roses Journey Inspired

Ledson with Ben Journey Inspired

After eating some snacks, we headed over to our next winery:

Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma:

Chateau St Jean Journey Inspired

Recommended by Dominique

This winery had me at hello. The gardens were incredible and I absolutely loved the design and styling of the whole grounds of Chateau St. Jean. Everything looked so ‘French’ and there was even a boule/petanque court. The staff was so welcoming and accommodating, and the wines were great!

Dominique, our Navigator, had recommended we try this winery and she had gotten us free passes for a special tasting (thanks, Dominique!) We were directed through the tasting room, down a garden path and into a sunroom overlooking the patio and lawn to begin our tasting. It was magical 🙂

Garrett H was our tasting guide, and he was relaxed and fun to talk wine with. Here’s what we tried:

  •  2011 Fume Blanc: creamy, simple syrup notes, tart   |  rating: √
  • 2010 Chardonnay Reserve: very interesting! creme brûlée notes, custardy finish   |  rating: √+
  • 2011 Pinot Noir Reserve: smoke, fruit, light mouth feel, slightly acidic, dry finish   |  rating: √
  • 2010 Cinq Cepages: wood and whiskey nose, slow legs, red fruit, mellow finish   |  rating: √+
  • 2009 Cinq Cepages: dark fruit, chocolate, spice, round mouth feel, subtle finish   |  rating: √+
  • 2009 Merlot Reserve: spice, vanilla, garlic, velvet mouthfeel   |  rating: √+

Our Favorites from Chateau St. Jean:    2009 Cinq Cepages +  2010 Cinq Cepages

Chateau St Jean Garden Path 2 Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Path Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Garden Path Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Palms Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Table Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Patio and Lawn Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Lawn Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Petanque Court Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Umbrellas Journey Inspired

Chateau St Jean Tasting Room Path Journey Inspired small

Chateau St Jean photo compare journey inspired Chatuea St Jean wine bo Journey Inspired

After eating a little lunch, we headed over to see Michael, the brand manager for B.R. Cohn that we had met at The Lodge tasting on Day 1!

B. R. Cohn, Sonoma

BR Cohn Winery Journey Inspired

Recommended by: Michael

The B.R. Cohn winery had a few very unique aspects that made it stand out. First, the owner is the manager of the Doobie Brothers, so music plays a huge role in the culture of this winery. They have an outdoor stage and host lots of live music throughout the summer. Also, the winery is home to a grove of hundred year old olive trees (which you can see in the picture below) The winery produces their own line of olive oils, which are delicious (we bought the garlic-infused one.)

Instead of the classic tasting, Michael and his pup, Kona, took us on a tour of the grounds, filling our wine glasses with different wines as we went. We all ended up sitting on the patio talking for awhile, where we met another couple from just outside Richmond, Virginia (how cool is that!?) It was so beautiful and fun! We didn’t write down any of the wines that we tasted, but they were all very drinkable and perfect for sipping on the patio with our new friends!

We did end up buying a bottle of the Riesling (which is very unlike our usual heavy red wine preference!) It was quite tasty and we plan to serve it when Ben’s parents come to visit in August- his dad loves Rieslings.

We really enjoyed ourselves at B.R. Cohn! Michael was such a great host and the atmosphere at the winery is so relaxing.

BR Cohn patio journey inspired

BR Cohn Us Journey Inspired

Our next stop was back to The Lodge just in time for the daily tasting. Today’s guest winery was Bryter, offering three of their wines. We enjoyed talking with the owners and their sparkling wine, which I believe was called Stelle, was tasty!

For dinner, we headed to the Sonoma Town Square to The Girl and the Fig, which was recommended by my friend Christie. It was delicious! We started with a cheese plate called ‘The Works’ which offered 3 cheese varieties of choice, cured meat, fig cake, apples, fig compote, seasoned nuts, baguette, and mustards. Guests can choose the cheese varieties, but since we know nothing about fine cheese, we left it up to our waiter. He picked a cheese from each animal for us (cow, goat, sheep) and they were all very good! For entrees, Ben got the duck confit and I got the flounder with spinach and potatoes. Both fantastic!

We were seated next to these two very sweet ladies that we chatted with for most of the dinner. When their dessert came, they let us taste some of their lavender creme brûlée, which was so nice of them and so tasty! To  mix things up, we ordered the blueberry almond tart for dessert, which was good, but I’d get the creme brûlée if we go back 🙂

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to sip on some more of our gift wine and relax (since we hadn’t been doing THAT enough, haha.)

Day 2 was fabulous!


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