Friday, March 30, 2012

A Day in Sonoma

On Wednesday night, our Clients arrived and we took them to Park Tavern. 2nd visit to Park Tavern and it was once again, delicious. We started with the truffle fries (amazing) and brussel sprouts. This time, I had the halibut, very good. For dessert, we had the birthday cake again. I'm not a cake person but when it is strawberry cake, I love it! Plus, doesn't food always taste better when you're not the one buying it :-)

On Thursday, we left around 9am in a limo for Sonoma. We picked up the Clients and went to Cline Cellars. We had our meeting in one of their meeting rooms which was cool. Then, we had a tasting and a boxed lunch from Girl & the Fig.

The wines at Cline are just OK. I didn't love any of them. I have purchased a bottle of their Zinfandel before and really didn't care for it. However, at our next location, I found an amaaaaazing wine. 

Our next stop was Ram's Gate Winery. It only opened in September so it is brand new. It is gorgeous. Amazing views, indoor & outdoor seating, cozy & open at the same time. 

 We did the Ram's Gate tasting of five wines: sparkling, chardonnay, a pinot noir, cabernet, and dessert.
 The chardonnay was AWESOME. It was sooooo buttery, which i LOVE. And the price was perfect - $30. I took a bottle home with me because it was that good.

 Here is the view from Ram's Gate out into Sonoma. Great place. I would definitely go back.

Our next stop was at Gloria Ferrer. Gloria Ferrer is an institution in wine country and can you believe that I have never been up there?
 First, we had a tour of the grounds and the wine making facilities. First, we learned a lesson in vines, how grapes grow, and how they can become damaged. We learned that last year (2011) the rains ruined so many crops and it was a terrible year for wine in the county.
 Here are the huge tanks that hold and mix the wine.
 Here is the assembly line of making sparkling wine. That huge machine is an arm that picks up bottles and places them into a box for their next step in the process.
 We tried SO many wines at Gloria. They are known for their sparkling wines which I have to say, I don't love sparkling wine. I like when it is sweet rather than dry and I can't drink too much or I get a headache. I tried a little of each but also (sadly) dumped out a lot. We were also lucky to have a cheese plate to share which was nice.

 The highlight of our trip was our server, Aaron. This guy was hilarious. He was funny in a way where you have to kind of catch his jokes but when you do, they are so funny. I was cracking up at him the entire time and we made sure to let him know that we loved him as a server.
 The wine kept coming and coming...I would definitely go back to Gloria Ferrer because the views were amazing, they have a huge porch you can sit on, and you can taste by the glass (full glass).

After Gloria Ferrer, we went to dinner at El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma Square. I have heard great things about this restaurant and was excited to eat there. We started with tuna tartare (delish) and more truffle fries. The truffle fries did NOT come close to Park Tavern.
I had the salmon which is listed as:
seared salmon sunchoke purée, brussels sprouts,
bacon lardons, pistachio brown butter,
bacon jus

My salmon was....not that good. So disappointing when it looks SO good but doesn't taste that great. It needed to be cooked a tiny bit more but it also didn't taste that great. I still ate it but it wasn't the best salmon I've ever had. If I went back, I would try the chicken instead.

It was a loooonnngggg day and I was happy to get home. I don't see any trips in my future or Client visits until the end of April so it looks like we can get back to "normal life" for now. It was a great day getting be out of the office cruising around Sonoma for sure!