Re: Napa/Sonoma wine country
Skip the Wine Train. Average food, dumb train ride. Napa side: Phelps, Clos du Val, Whitehall Lane, Raymond, Silver Oak, Mondavi and Peju Provence and Pride, at least. Pride is at the top of the mountain and actually straddles Napa and Sonoma Counties. Views are fantastic!!! Oakville Grocery has awesome sandwiches and a great atmosphere. Taylor Refresher has great cheeseburgers and out of this world garlic french fries. It is a drive in and you sit outside at picnic tables. You can bring your own wine for a modest corkage or buy Joel Gott's stuff there. Sonoma is way more laid back and a lot of fun. Ferrari Carano has the look and feel of an Italian Villa and a great tasting upstairs and down. Foppiano has terrific Petite Sirah, and almost anything up Dry Creek Road has great zins. Try Unti, Dry Creek Winery, Ridge, Petersen and Raymond Burr which is a little off that path. If you can find Wilson, it is also good. If you go to Heaqldsburg, go in the morning and go to the bakery on the square for the best sticky buns on the west coast. Drive down Russian River and take in the Pinot Noir. So mush to do, so little time! Some of these places prefer that you call ahead for reservations, so get a brochure and try to do that. You will get a better tasting. However, if you see something that looks like fun, just walk in and give them that sheepish "Aw Shucks, I'm sorry" routine and you will probably get in anyway. Yes there is a modest charge for a lot of the tastings, especially on the Napa side, but if you buy anything, even gift shop stuff, they deduct it. Finally, if you like olive oil, make sure you try some. There are some pretty nice olive oils being produced out there. Man, I wish I was going along. I love the California wine country!
I told you I'd taunt you a second time.