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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 25, 2013

The tasting continues!

Heather and I both like pinot noir wines and a couple of people at the Raymond Winery had told us that we needed to head to Sonoma for some of the really good ones and we figured pinot noirs or not, we should head there anyway just cause it's there.

So head we did and our first stop Monday (according to the numerical order of my photos - I certainly can't keep track of them all!) was the Ravenswood Winery  We decided we liked the looks of the Sonoma area more than the Napa Valley area (at least what we had seen of it by then) because it was much more country and fewer little towns with many, many shops to lure tourists.  Lots of wineries though - no lack there!  The Ravenswood Winery's logo is three ravens forming an interlocking circle with all their feet filling in the center and I really liked it.  Also, they had Edward Gorey gift cards and a book of letters between Edward Gorey and a friend (I forget his name) and since I really enjoy Edward Gorey's books and artwork, that gave me a reason besides wine to like the winery.  But the wine was good too.  In fact I think this may be the one winery where I joined one of the club plans although whichever winery it was, the main reason I joined the one I did was because their cost to ship a case of wine was about half what all the other wineries we visited charged.

 This is Ravenswood's nifty logo.  Heather had to tell me those were feet in the center - I was trying to have them be forks or something!

And this was just a neat tree which the picture numbers tell me was either at Ravenswood or the next winery we visited which was a quick stop on the way back to Napa and I have no idea what the name was at this point.  But it was in a lovely setting so here are some pictures - too bad I didn't take one of their sign.
I took the first picture just because we were so tickled at someone decorating their property with little Roman or Greek ruins.  It was a neighboring property of the winery.  The winery itself had a lovely little pond out back and a beautiful view of the mountains rising in the back with a man-made waterfall (dry at this time of year) and a tiny little chapel they had built up above that.
 Didn't realize how blurry that picture was but I'll leave it cause it's just kind of cute.  The one below is a cropped view of the view from the backyard of a winery we stopped at on our way back to Napa.  The tiny little white dot up on the hill is the chapel.  Notice how different the light is here - it was close to 6:00 p.m. and it really makes a difference in the colors of the hills when the sun is low.  This whole area - Napa and Sonoma - really reminded me of Italy.  I was there in October each time and it was very much the same kind of light.  One of the vintners told us that the longitude or latitude or whatever of the Napa/Sonoma reason is like within 1 degree of Tuscany.

If I remember rightly, we had dinner Monday evening in the hotel.  I  can't remember what we had but I know it was much more enjoyable than the one time we ate food at the San Francisco Hilton!

The next batch of pictures are from our Tuesday morning wine tasting - late Tuesday morning mind you.  This was the V. Sattui winery and it was really something.  Very much for tourists but I would imagine a lot of locals would shop there too because they had an incredible deli with artisanal cheeses, their own cured meets, pates, etc., prepared foods, beautiful sourdough baguettes (I've yet to have any ho-hum bread in California) and so on.  Made me think I should drive to California sometime just so I could come here, pack up a cooler and drive back home!  Just really hated leaving all that deliciousness behind.  They also had good wines and we had a delightful lady take care of our tasting.  She had the energy of about 10 people and just jumped from wine to another.  We were supposed to try 6 wines and I have no idea how many we actually tried - more than 6 that's for sure!  I think at this winery I may have added a 2-bottle order to Heather's ever growing selection of wines which will be winging their way to her house.  Or maybe this is where I joined the club - I am so far behind and it was such a whirlwind of winery visits that I really have no idea and will just have to be pleasantly surprised whenever I get whatever I get.  Anyway it was a fun visit and I kind of wish we had bought some cheese, meat and bread there and then sat outside to eat it for lunch.  Here are the pics:

If Heather ever has time and reads these posts, she will probably have to straighten me out.  I seem to have really lost track of when we did what and where!  I do know that after agonizing where to have our last dinner in Napa and calling various places for reservations and not getting them, we ended up going back to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen for another very nice dinner where we split a half bottle of a wine called Charbono (that's the type name, not the winery name).  Neither one of us had ever heard of it and the waiter told us that it's not too well known and very little of it is made.  It was so good that when we got back to the hotel, Heather started a search for where we might be able to find some and changed her flight time!!! so we could go Wednesday morning before heading back to the airport to a winery she found that produces it!

And I should be asleep by now, so good night from my "hear the ocean" apartment.  I love it!


Chinch said...

I read this first and then the Napa one not realizing there were two -- I'm dazzled by your capacity for wine! I think they'd have to carry me out -- especially after the blending/sampling but it sure does sound fun and especially fun to have your own blend!! Will be eager to hear if the changed flight winery was worth the change. You and Heather must have had so much fun together and that is so nice. xoxo

Christopher said...

Hmmm... can't wait to try that Charbono, if Heather brought some home... (She called me last night and gave a brief run down of the trip, including that wine.)
Sonoma looks lovely; didn't make it there on my last trip, either :(

Janet Primm said...

This is such a fun trip! My husband and I did it 3 years ago and loved every minute and St Helena was one of our favorite stops. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant but the food was also delicious.

If you like champagne, the trip to Chandon is VERY worthwhile. Enjoy!


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