Itinerary: June 2008 Archives

andersonvalley.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Sixteen miles long and home to some two dozen wineries, Mendocino's Anderson Valley is fast becoming known as one of the best kept secrets in Northern California wine touring.  Thanks to its unique east-west orientation, the valley - situated in southern Mendocino County - channels crisp air from the nearby Pacific to its dramatic Redwood-lined vineyards, which produce some of the state's most sought-after Pinot Noir and sparkling wines.  

Even better, Mendocino wineries' trademark laid-back attitude and easy hospitality means that visitors to the valley just two hours north of San Francisco are treated like old friends, and tasting fees are often free or rightly reasonable.

Wine Country Itinerary: Alexander Valley

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AlexValley-dawn.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Nestled at the northeastern end of Sonoma County, the picturesque Alexander Valley is eminently accessible for overnighters staying in Healdsburg, and it's also well within reach for day trippers driving in from other Sonoma hamlets as well as the Bay Area.  Originally home to prune orchards and meandering cattle herds, the valley and its gently sloping hillsides are now criss-crossed with seemingly limitless acres of vines, evidence of today's thriving wine industry.  Speaking of which, visitors have much to look forward to in the area's soulful Cabernets and Merlots, while those with a preference for whites will find plenty to appreciate in the region's rich Chardonnays. 

Napa Valley Wine Tasting Itinerary

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napaItinerary.jpgHave friends visiting and need a tried and true Napa Valley wine tasting itinerary?  Don't spend hours researching online or connecting dots on the map. Download the trip below and let the fun begin!

Stop 1 - Alpha Omega
It's fitting that this is the first wine tasting stop on the itinerary given its name.  Alpha Omega makes some really good wines. Of particular note is the Proprietary Red which has the smooth yet complexity of a slightly aged Cabernet Sauvignon. The Chardonnay is light and refreshing for any white's fans. Their Late Harvest is just plain delicious, but they are currently out of stock!  After tasting, go around back (or front depending on your internal gps) and revel in the gorgeous view of their pool with sprawling vineyards as backdrop.
Tasting Room: 1155 Mee Ln St Helena Hwy; Open daily 11 am - 6pm
Tasting Fees: $10/person

Wine Tasting Itinerary: Carneros

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carneros.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

CARNEROS, CA - The Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA) - also referred to as Los Carneros AVA - offers a cool microclimate ideally suited to Pinot Noir and sparkling wine production and a surprisingly mellow vibe when compared to Nor Cal's wine country's more highly trafficked areas. The only AVA to straddle both Napa and Sonoma counties, Carneros is cooled by marine breezes from the nearby San Pablo Bay and counts more than three dozen wineries among its bucolic rolling hills. And since it's an easy commute from San Francisco - travelers can be tasting within an hour of leaving the foggy city - Carneros is an ideal destination for day trippers.

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