Biking Wine Tour of Sonoma, California

What is better than waking up in wine country and being offered a mimosa by your best friend? Well probably nothing.

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This past weekend I went to Sonoma, California to visit one of my best friends from high school and see the town of Sonoma. Its a tiny town that consists mainly of a center called “the square” which is literally a square of shops and bars with town hall and a park in the center. However, outside of the square are about 800 different vineyards. Located just West of Napa, Sonoma is considered the “more relaxed” version of Napa. I must agree.

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So after a mimosa we decided to head out on our bikes to visit the oldest vineyard in California: Buena Vista owned by the Boisset family. It is located at 18000 Old Winery Road and tastings start at 10:30 am, which was about when we were starting….It was a bit rainy, but wine certainly does warm you up!

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The original stone winery dates back to 1857 and its beautiful!

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Before our tasting we walked around and peaked inside the celler. It was probably the most stunning wine cellar I have ever seen!

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There was also a nice patio outside that would have been great to take a break and have a seat…except that it was still raining.

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The inside of Buena Vista was filled with life and splendor. There were rows after rows of bottles of wine and a lovely Christmas tree. Ah the holidays and wine.

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Our tasting cost $10/each which was reasonable and we tasted 5 wines- all of which were over $40/bottle. They were all VERY good, but unfortunately our pourer was a bit stingy. This was the least amount of wine I have ever received at a tasting. While tasting we were also informed about the weird history of the vineyard. Apparently is was owned by a Count until he was eaten by a crocodile. And of course both the Count and the crocodile were present during our tasting.

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After feeling only slightly tipsy it was off to Ravenswood located at 18701 Gehricke Road.

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We arrived more than a little wet and were more than excited to find a hot fire waiting for us.

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Ravenswood is known for their Zinfandels, so we decided to do a Zinfandel only wine tasting. We tried the 2010 Belloni Zin, the 2010 Barricia Zin, the 2010 Bedrock Zin, and the 2010 Old Hill Zan. Prices ranged from $35-$60/bottle. Ravenswood is known for their slogan “no wimpy wines” so I was excited.

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Our server at Ravenswood was AMAZING! He was extremely friendly and recognized Lena as a local, which meant the wine tasting was FREE. He was also very generous with the amounts and gave us two tastings of the $60 wine. I don’t know why we didn’t come here first!

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Along with an EXCELLENT tasting experience our server also gave us a free sticker and some cards of some local Sonoma wineries. We both left Ravenswood with a handful of goodies and a bit drunk.

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Overall I think visiting the two vineyards provided an excellent contrast between history/eliteness and a winery that is focused around having a good time. Although I am glad I was able to visit Buena Vista to experience the oldest winery in California, I will most likely not be returning. Ravenswood on the other hand has completely earned my respect with indeed NO WIMPY WINES and excellent service. I will certainly be returning here with friends in the future. ~B

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2 thoughts on “Biking Wine Tour of Sonoma, California

  1. Pingback: Napa /Sonoma Wine Tour 2006 – Wine Talk Part 1 | wine tasting tips, types of wines, red or white wine

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