What an amazing birthday weekend! SMS and I had an epic few days in Sonoma. We had so much fun together and I’m definitely sad it’s over. But rather than drown in my pinot-tinged tears, let me tell you about our trip!
We started on Saturday morning with an ambitiously scheduled 11 a.m. tour at Preston Farm and Winery. Yes, well, that didn’t happen. We stopped in Oakland for breakfast and even though we passed on the wait at the delicious looking Sequoia Diner, our drive there was a bit more of a detour than I realized. We went to the World Ground Coffeeshop, which was pretty cool.
I called Preston Farm and they told us not to worry, that they’d even refund the tour charge once we got there! Lucky us! Preston is in the Dry Creek appellation of Sonoma. I picked it after researching several Sonoma wineries. I liked the fact that there was a produce farm in addition to the winery. In addition, they grow Mourvèdre grapes, which I really like in red blends. They’re actually releasing a 100% Mourvèdre in a week so I might buy it off their website!
It’s not terribly difficult to get to although the last half mile is on a packed dirt road. The gardens are beautiful and it is an idyllic place to sit. There is a bocce ball court which, if I were to make a Mean Girls t-shirt for Preston, it would say, “On weekdays, we play bocce” since there were several (!) signs saying bocce was not to be played on weekends.
SMS and I each had a tasting. We tried two whites and four reds. We thought they were fine, but not mind-blowing. We bought the white blend “Madam Preston” since it was our favorite of the flight and the tasting fee was waived with a bottle purchase. Free wine!
The wine pourers were all really nice. We got several biking recs and a few other tasting room suggestions. One of the women enthusiastically endorsed our planned Monday tour at Medlock-Ames so we were excited about that!
After Preston, we went to Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve. We parked on a residential street near the trailhead and went on a two mile walk/hike. There were really pretty views of the valley and it was a nice way to spend some time on a gorgeous day!
After our hike, we went into Healdsburg. We stayed at America’s Best Value Inn, which was fine. It was clean and inexpensive, which was our goal for that night’s stay! We walked into town, which I thought would be easy. It was not. There’s a construction zone for a roundabout that the locals, if you bring it up, will immediately start to vent about how long it’s taking and how ridiculous the whole thing is. What was funny though is that there is a tasting room right on the developing roundabout called Rockville, which is very appropriate. I think the name precedes the construction site though.
We went to the Idlewild tasting room, which was recommended to us at Preston. The winery focuses on Piedmont, Italy wines. The flight, which we shared, featured 5 single varietals, 2 white/3 red. We also tried the Rosé, made from 47% Nebbiolo, 28% Barbera, and 25% Dolcetto. Most rosés are made from Pinot Noir grapes so this was an interesting variation. I got a full glass, which was definitely a great choice. We talked with the pourer Scott for awhile! He was very interesting and quite knowledgeable about the wine/restaurant scene. He is a somewhat recent transplant, having arrived from NYC about three years ago.
While the wines were good (especially paired with an incredible cheese plate- Piedmont Sola and a buffalo Camembert), we decided not to buy any bottles. I think we were too lazy to carry them! We headed over to Shed, where we had a reservation. I had wanted to eat there since our last visit so I was really happy to go.
At Shed, we split three plates, which was a lot of food (as pointed out by SMS before we ordered). I ordered the cheese/salumi plate and the ricotta-nettles dumplings. Both were very good. SMS ordered the savory toast, which was excellent. The toast was pretty heavy since there was a lot of butter soaking the bread, topped by pesto and other toppings. I never thought I would say there was too much better on toast but this one was slightly toeing the line.
After a great dinner, we headed back to the hotel. It was time for bed in anticipation of Sonoma Sunday!