CALIFORN-I-A DAY 6: Speed, Spice, and Stunning Houses


I remember when I got the itinerary for the week that Thursday morning was the one I was nervous about. We were cramming a lot into a short space of time, and Thursday was arguably the pinnacle of that, but then it turned out to be arguably the pinnacle of the trip for me.

Speed Dating With Winemakers

We headed early doors to Keller Estate in the Sonoma Coast region for a Speed Tasting with 12 wineries. We had 10 minutes with each winery, the bell rang, and ding of you went to the next one. The whole plan was to showcase that it’s not enough to think of Sonoma as just one place. The hills, the valleys, the coastlines, and the famous Petaluma Gap where the cool air flies into the valley, all lead to lots of different styles, and we got to try a good bunch in a short space of time. Top event.

Mountains and Mexican Food

Taste buds reeling, but pretty satisfied with the morning’s work, we headed into the Sonoma Mountain district to Laurel Glen winery and a date with some serious Cabernet Sauvignons (it’s not just Napa!!) and mexican food, in an event dually hosted with Paul Hobbs. American friends of mine have been telling me for years that you can’t get good Mexican food in the UK and you’ve got to try it when you head out. Yeah it was pretty good this stuff, although I’m not sure about pairing it with a mouth coating Chardonnay, might stick to my chicken salads!

Zin Masterclass

Next up was a Zinfandel masterclass hosted by Ravenswood, but including winemakers from Seghesio and Dry Creek Vineyard. Zinfandel, genetically the same as the Italian Primitivo, is what Californians like to think of as their unique contribution to the world of wine. You can’t imagine how pissed they are that White Zinfandel or Zinfandel Blush is how it’s commonly associated on the world stage. Fruity, spicy, floral, and plenty of ageing potential, these Zins were serious wines and with half the price tag of a Cab, keep your eye out!

What A Place!!

For dinner we headed to the Jackson Family’s Sonoma estate, La Crema. Brilliantly hosted by our man Pedro, this was probably the most relaxed atmosphere of the whole week. So relaxed that I felt a bit bad that Pedro thought we weren’t paying attention. We were my man, just this absolutely stunning, renovated, old barn was making us all a bit giddy. Impressive and affordable Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs continued to ram home the cool climate feel of our first day in Sonoma.

Couldn’t believe we only had one day left!




PHOTOS (Clockwise from top left):

  • The speed tasting
  • Laurel Glen Chardonnay, with a bowl of guacamole through the middle 🙂
  • The amazing “barn” at La Crema, can I live there please?
  • Our Zin masterclass held by the Sonoma Vintners boys and girls



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