We pulled into the town of Sonoma a back way fairly late in the evening after visiting the mystical Muir Woods and a calm, couple-hours drive,
and the town seemed to consist mainly of a gas station, except for our hotel, a cozy collection of cottages around a central shrub-mazed courtyard.
But when we went to dinner, the town was completely charming! Large windowed stores lined the town square, and the whole town was lit in white lights. No one got the memo about colored lights (or everyone got the memo about NOT having colored lights). Anyway, it was charmed and sadly, we have no photos of the lights.
Our first night, we ate at the El Dorado Hotel. My lobster risotto, everyone agreed, was the best dish.
The main gig in Sonoma was a 7-hour wine tour we took on the Tuesday of our trip. Once we got rolling, the landscape reminded me so much of Tuscany. The houses were even Italianate.
Our first stop was Petroni Vineyard, a family-owned vineyard with their own underground cellar, that had just been completed. Apparently it took years to dig, because they could only dig 4 feet a day without it collapsing. Honestly, it was freezing in there, but it was cool to be tucked under the vineyards in the perfect temperature for wine (if not for Alie!). Excuse me for not writing about how the wine tasted (!), but sadly wine does not agree with my migraine proclivity, so I left it up to my nose. And I don't think noses are as good as tastebuds for wine. Our tour guide walked us around the vineyard and olive trees before taking us into the cellar.
Next up was Landmark Vineyard, what I imagine must be the quintessential Sonoma vineyard.
One of the best parts of the tour was meeting a fun collection of others, including a couple whose daughter just graduated from St. Andrews, and the sweetest honeymooners.
Our third stop was Loxton, run by an Aussie gentleman who made the wine himself and gave the tours. I learned from him that corks really aren't any better for the wine.
We rounded up the tour with a spot called B Wise, and headed back to the hotel. We drove to Yountville in Napa for dinner, also a clean and very manicured town.
On Wednesday morning, we shopped around Sonoma a bit and picked up some of my favorite cheese, Cowgirl Creamery, made nearby, for the drive to Carmel.
Goodbye vines and wines until next time!