High-end wine and food pairings are a Sonoma County signature. And our winery chefs keeping upping the luxury (lucky us!). Here are some new-for-2016 favorites to pamper your palate:
MacRostie Estate House
The “elevated tasting” is just what it sounds like: a tour of the hilltop property, followed by a seated tasting in the hillside tasting room, of single vineyards wines complemented by locally sourced gourmet bites.
The space is a fitting tribute to local icon Steve MacRostie, who founded his 20-acre winery and vineyards in the Russian River Valley in 1987, but just recently celebrating the opening of his very own tasting room. In keeping with the décor of rich grained woods, leathers, and glass showcasing the signature MacRostie’s Scottish thistle motif, the views are expansive, and the wines are rich, like the 2011 Twin Hill Ranch Pinot Noir.
MacRostie Estate House: 4605 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-473-9303
The newly remodeled tasting room brings rural delights like "Beast & Pinot," a seated adventure that guides you through four limited-production, single-vineyard Pinot Noir wines, partnered with local artisan charcuterie made from duck, rabbit, pig, and cow.
There’s also a sushi pairing, a classic cheese pairing, and even vegetarian bites to go with the Green Valley Vineyard Gewurztraminer.
Dutton-Goldfield Winery: 3100 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol, 707-861-9120
For the first time ever, the 550-acre property best known for its olive tree orchards is open to the public, with a new tasting room (ok, it’s by appointment only, but still). The draw is sit-down sampling through wine flights such as The Evening Standard Pinot Noir paired with small bites and, of course, sips of elegant Tuscan-style olive oil. You can tour the organic grape vineyards, and add in optional garden and grove tours leading to the magical Chinese pagoda, too.
McEvoy Ranch: 5935 Red Hill Road, Petaluma, 866-617-6779
Hamel Family Wines
The Gould Evans architecture is breathtaking, in a symphony of sloped ceilings framed by soaring glass wings, a rammed-earth wall, and rich finishes of black walnut, travertine and basalt stone.
Taste to try: the $100 Reserve Experience, bringing a tasting in the Library, enhanced with barrel samples, a cheese-charcuterie board, small bites, and a tour of the 6,875-square-foot estate house, the 7,500-square-foot winery, 12,000 square feet of caves, and vineyards.
Hamel Family Wines: 15401 Sonoma Hwy., Sonoma Valley, 707-996-5800.
Pangloss Cellars Tasting Lounge
It feels oh-so-civilized to sitting on a tufted vintage couch in a historic, 113-year-old building overlooking the Sonoma Square, nibbling on caviar, Cowgirl creamery crème fraiche and Rustic Bakery crackers. This new creation from Sonoma’s Repris winery owners is elegance all the way, down to its literary namesake, Dr. Pangloss, the eternal optimist in Voltaire’s novel Candide (that’s him in a portrait on the wall). Tastings include flights of three wines with a wood board draped in delicacies – may we suggest the Burgundy flight of reds with Point Reyes Toma, Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk, Bleating Heart Fat Bottom Girl, honeycomb, Castelvestrano olives, and blackberry lavender conserve from Gabriel Farms of Sebastopol?
Pangloss Cellars Tasting Lounge: 35 East Napa Street, Sonoma, 707-933-8565.
Sure, it’s prices at $200 for a three-course lunch and $85 for a small plates pairing, but consider this – you’re drinking cult Bill Price wines, and dining on food from neighboring El Dorado Kitchen. Then, there’s the setting, in the stunning historic property that used to be home to Gen. Vallejo’s brother, and later, Don Juan Casteñada. Grapes come from the coveted Durrel vineyards, plus other prime areas like the plot that produces the delectable Sta. Rita Hills “The James” Pinot Noir. The chef menus change seasonally but you might get bites like tender braised short ribs with olives, ham hock rilette, roasted beets with shaved fennel and arugula, and scallops with potato puree, almonds, raisins and balsamic reduction.
The Adobe: 143 West Spain Street, Sonoma, (707) 996-3328.
Corner 103 Tasting Room
The wines cover many of the Sonoma County AVAs, like Carneros sparkling Rosé, Alexander Valley Merlot, Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, Russian River Pinot Noir, Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2012 Sonoma County red blend. Add to that nibbles like hummus, rillettes, salumi, cheeses, fruit and pickle, and you’ve got this new destination from former Viansa Winery owner Lloyd Davis. Enjoy friendly service, and a pretty, relaxed setting with glass tables and local landscaping paintings for sale.
Corner 103 Tasting Room: 103 West Napa Street, Sonoma, 707-931-6141.
Madrone Vineyards Estate Tasting Room
It’s new… and old. The original winery was built in 1887, but a few years ago, the Stewart family bought the property, and this year, they built a winery, remodeled the tasting room, and added a new dining option for bites like housemade rosemary potato chips or pumpkin ravioli with fontina cream, pecans, cranberries and crispy sage. Sonoma County wines come from all appellations, so it’s a Wine Country tour on the tongue.
Madrone Vineyards Estate Tasting Room: 777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen, 707-939-4500.
St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa has been named for the second time the No. 1 restaurant in all of America (2015), courtesy of Open Table. Find all delicious details about St. Francis Winery's award-winning food and wine pairings here.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.