Soak up the sun while sipping on some excellent wine. Here are six favorite picks for wine tasting in Sonoma County.
Lynmar Estate Winery has four distinct vineyards and an environmentally-friendly and gentle-on-the-grapes gravity-flow winery. Owners Lynn and Anisya Fritz bottle three tiers of wines, mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but also a few blends. New this summer? A renovation of the outdoor tasting areas, which are now perfect for enjoying new vintages of the summery Rosé of Pinot Noir and Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.
“Lynmar’s beautiful outdoor area has expanded with several new covered spaces where our guests can enjoy the natural setting in an elegant and safe manner,” says the winery’s Andrea Alcaro.
“On Your Own” tastings include a private lunch pairing with a gourmet meal for two created by estate chef David Frakes, and a half-bottle each of Chardonnay and Pinot ($110). The wine flight spotlights four or five estate-grown wines ($60), served with Lynmar’s house special: salty-smoked popcorn.
3909 Frei Rd., Sebastopol, 707-829-3374
This is the only tasting room in Railroad Square, at the heart of a buzz-worthy dining scene. Guests can have restaurant food delivered to tables as they taste, and there’s also live acoustic music on Friday and Saturday nights. The tasting room features wines from Opal Moon, Bonneau, and Egret, and tastings run four pours for $20. “This summer we’ll likely be pouring the 2017 and 2018 vintages of our Bonneau Chardonnay and the 2017 Bonneau Pinot Noir, both made with fruit from the Los Carneros AVA,” says manager Erin McVicar.
127 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. 707-806-2779
Karah is an excellent choice to get to know wines from the county’s newest AVA, Petaluma Gap. Choose from three tasting options, each $20: a reds-only experience; whites and rosé; or a mix of rosé, Chardonnay, and three Pinots. “This summer we’ll be pouring several estate-grown Pinots, as well as two rosé of Pinot selections, and also a sparkling wine,” says manager Karima Karah.
1010 W. Railroad Ave., Cotati. 707-795-3030
A local collective representing ten boutique producers. “We always have rosé from the Kitfox and Peterson labels, and also all sorts of esoteric whites,” says the shop’s Patrick Llerena-Cruz. Tastings here are complimentary. “We haven’t charged for tasting in 19 years,” he says, “and we’re not about to start now.”
21023 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. 707-857-4900
With annual production of about 1,000 cases, Sosie makes Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, as well as Roussanne from Bennett Valley AVA vineyards. “Our 100 percent Roussanne has been popular, as it’s very much a northern Rhône style,” explains owner and winemaker Scott MacFiggen.
“We call it our ‘Goldilocks’ wine, because it has the richness of Chardonnay and the minerality of a Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a nice balance between the two. We don’t produce Chardonnays or big Napa Cabernets. We definitely try to do things differently.” A tasting of five wines — “and sometimes others,” adds MacFiggen — is $30.
25 East Napa St., Sonoma, 707-721-1405
Winemaker Scott Lindstrom-Dake founded this small artisan producer. “We specialize in reds such as Cabernet, and our flagship wine is Cabernet Franc,” says assistant manager Angie Malinski. “We’ve also added a new chilled red called Valdiguié, which is an uncommon varietal, especially for Dry Creek Valley, but our customers are really liking it.” Tastings ($20 for 75 minutes) typically include four wines from a list of eight. “We also provide a complimentary cheese plate and a vegan option with tastings, even for walk-in guests.”
102 Matheson St., Healdsburg, 707-433-2393