Second Sonoma stopover
Trip Start Sep 26, 2010
35Trip End Dec 24, 2010
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After spending two days literally on the road doing mammoth drives in order to see some trees (!) we rocked up to Sonoma again to give wine tasting another go.
I've been nagging and nagging about spending another few days in Sonoma before we headed East and, due to the trees, I only got one; but what a day!
We turned up around 4pm in torrential rain having nearly come to blows on the way through Napa Valley due to our extreme tiredness and we needed to find somewhere to stay. Next stop the nice ladies in the visitor centre again!
Yet again they did us proud and we got the best deal of the holiday to date at the Inn at Sonoma. The hotel was plush (boutique in style) and you got free cookies and drinks when you got there and then free wine and cheese at 'tea time’! Fabulous!
After having a lot of the wine and cheese and organising ourselves for our last night in Cali, we headed out for a beautiful meal at The Girl and the Fig, a restaurant that I had wanted to try last time we were here (as those of you that have been doing a great job of keeping up with us will know, we were asleep by 7pm last time we were here).
The food was great and we got to have a bottle of the Benzinger wine (the vineyard where we tasted last time) and we really enjoyed our evening!
But the following day got better.
We asked the lady at the front desk where was good to taste in town as unfortunately we didn’t have time to go to a vineyard and she recommended a tasting room called Hawkes. So after a coffee stop and a lot of photos (Simon’s new passion) we rolled up to Hawkes.
The guy behind the counter looked like a cool Cali guy but actually turned out to be the wine maker. He was Mr Hawkes Junior (he and his Dad make the wines). He told us that they have a vineyard in North Sonoma (Alexander Valley I think) and they sell a lot of their grapes to big wine makers but also make a small amount of their own wines. They specialise in red, specifically Cabernet.
We tasted some great Cabs and chatted to Jake who was chilled out but also really informative. I love the fact that we asked what you were supposed to look for (balance wise) when tasting wine (we’d read in our book that you were supposed to look for four things on the pallet when tasting and couldn’t remember what they were) and he just said "you’re supposed to enjoy drinking it". What a great response from a guy that makes wine –so unpretentious!
Anyway, there we were chatting to Jake when two other guys that “looked like they meant business” came in. Turned out that one of them was involved with a winery in Napa (we’re not quite sure how he was involved but anyway) and the other was his lawyer mate. Well the lawyer and I got chatting (he thought it was hilarious that I’d just quit) and then the wine guy came over and gave us his email as he wanted tips for where to go off the beaten track on his upcoming trip to England.
We got chatting some more to him and learnt so much about wines in Napa and Sonoma and the different appellations within the two counties. He also said that, if we’d been staying on in Sonoma, he would have sent us some wine. Blast !
Unfortunately that was about all we had time for in Sonoma as we had a plane to catch to Washington D.C. so we hit the road again and headed back through San Francisco to the airport stopping off for a few conversations with homeless people trying to get rid of our sleeping bags: honestly, you would have thought that we were trying to give them something toxic with the way that some of them reacted!
Next stop: the East Coast.