Wine Country Travel

Aug 032012
wine reviews, winery reviews, wine blog, wine education

Roger and Whitney at Jordan Vineyards

Wine country vacations, especially to Napa Valley and Sonoma County can be overwhelming to the novice and the experienced wine traveler alike. With over 400 wineries in Napa Valley alone and hundreds more in Sonoma, how do you choose which wineries to visit? Some offer small quaint tastings and tours while others have almost a Las Vegas feel. So what are the best wineries to visit Napa and Sonoma?

Recently I traveled with my daughter, Whitney, to Napa and Sonoma for her 21st birthday celebration. She certainly enjoys wine and grew up around great wines but to date, Whitney has not inherited her dad’s wine geek gene. Like many novice wine drinkers, Whitney has a discerning though still developing palate.

Whitney’s fist trip to Napa/Sonoma needed to be fun yet educational with enough glitz and glamor to spark her 21 year-old soul with a splash of wine geekiness for Dad. This wine country travel itinerary certainly fit the bill. Continue reading »

Jul 292012

Javy with my daughter, Whitney

A few years ago I met an enthusiastic, service-oriented young man in the Ceja Vineyards Tasting Room. Javier (Javy) Calderon quickly became a family favorite and no trip to Napa was complete without tasting Ceja wines with Javy. While Javy still can be found occasionally at the Ceja Tasting Room, he has a new Napa touring service I want to let you know about, Napa Private Tours. Continue reading »

Feb 292012

Cindy Cosco

Mr. B&B and I had breakfast with Cynthia Cosco of Passaggio Wines recently as we left Sonoma County for the Oakland airport.  Passaggio translates to passageway and is a tribute to her Italian ancestors who four generations ago, came to America.  Cindy shares her passion for winemaking with her grandfather who took great joy in sharing his wine with neighbors, friends and family. She spoke of growing up in an Italian home where there always wine and food; thus, she makes her wines to be enjoyed with food (a crisp style with zippy yet balanced acidity) and to bring wine, food and friends together.  The true testament to her winemaking passion is the fact she left a 14-year career in Virginia law enforcement  to pursue her winemaking dream, starting at the bottom.

I grew up with a Chinese mother who came to America when she was fourteen-years-old.  Wine in our home was rarely served, mainly at holidays, so when I did begin to drink wine it was as a stand-alone beverage.  While I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, I still choose my wines for their ability to stand-alone (usually robust with lower acidity) and those are not always the best food pairing wines. I like to have my glass(es) of wine before, during and after the preparation of the food.  To give Cindy’s Passaggio white wines their due, we decided to design our own food pairing meal. Continue reading »

Nov 132011

Wine BlogBacchus and Beery Wine Blog had a chance to experience the Temecula Harvest Celebration during the first weekend of November 2011. This two day Bacchanalia of food, wine and happy sippers was well worth the trip.

We arrived in San Diego Friday morning and in a constant rain (it never rains in southern California) drove the hour north and east to the town of Temecula. After checking into our hotel near Old Town Temecula ,we headed across I-15 towards the wineries. Most of the nearly 40 wineries and 3,000 vineyard acres are located in a fairly confined area off Rancho California Road, just about 10 miles from the town center. Along Rancho California Road, the wineries are bigger, more commercial, and opulent though nothing compared to the palaces of Napa and Sonoma. Once you get away from Rancho California, the wineries are far more intimate and often the winemaker and/or owner is pouring in the tasting room.

Armed with winery recommendations from our Wine Blog readers and GPS, we were ready for some lunch and wine tasting. A surprising number of Temecula wineries have restaurants, many with outdoor seating to take full advantage of the area views. These venues also cater to weddings and bigger events. However, since it was still raining steadily, we chose the indoor medieval styled Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery. Our meals were very good as was the service. We both enjoyed glasses of their Cabernet Franc. Now fortified, it was time to do some serious winery visits. Continue reading »