Tag Archive | wine country

President’s Day Weekend 2020

It’s late, and time for bed, but I just wanted to check in.  I got home a few hours ago from a wonderful, fun, relaxing, energizing weekend in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  Jeff and I spent the weekend at Champoeg State Park in a little cabin; it was just what I needed.  Here’s to a short work week!

P.S. And a happy belated birthday to my favorite President, Abraham Lincoln.


California Marathon Road Trip: Petroni Vineyards

Our last stop on our Sonoma wine tasting tour was Petroni Vineyards  It is just off the main square on Broadway, the main street leading into Sonoma.  They share the space with the Wine Hardware store, which carries all sorts of wine racks, wine fridges, decanters and wine accessories.

Petroni is an Italian style winery; they produce 8,000 cases annually.  They have a limited distribution – the owner owns the North Beach Restaurant, an Italian restaurant in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.  They sell their wine there, and they sell by the glass at a few places in Sonoma, but otherwise, they just sell from the tasting room.

Inside the shop is a tasting bar with a flat screen TV mounted above the bar; they use it to show their customers a video about the winery and the vineyards.  Our server mentioned that it was a really slow day – we were their second customers that Monday.   I need to get that gig! Only a couple sets of customers in a day!  I could totally get caught up on all the reading I am always wanting to do!  Of course, not so great when you are trying to operate a business.

She took us through their line-up beginning with the 2011 Chardonnay, which was good, but I don’t remember anything more.  Then we moved to the 2012 Rosato di Sonoma – it is a Rosé blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah – it was very good when we tasted it day, with flavors of strawberry and watermelon and a light floral taste.  Sadly, when we had it again a month later at home – the floral taste overpowered the fruit flavors and it wasn’t as good.

Next we tried the 2011 Pinot Noir – it is an earthy, cherry flavored wine with lots of spice.  It was excellent.  The 2008 Rosso di Sonoma blend is a heavy and tannic blend of 75% Syrah, 20% Sangiovese, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was my least favorite of the tasting, but certainly not a bad wine.  The 2008 Syrah was up next – this wine was very good, with nicely balanced tannins and flavors of blackberry and spice.

The 2007 Brunello di Sonoma was an amazing wine – Wow!  It was fermented on the skins for up to 40 days, and then aged in 20% new French oak and 80% used French oak barriques (a standard 59 gallon oak barrel) and puncheons (an 80 gallon cask) for 18 months.  This wine is pricey though, at $60 a bottle, so a taste of it will have to be enough for us.

The last wine that we tried was their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine was an excellent example of what a cab should be; not heavily oaked.  Our server told us that the winemaker believes in using some neutral French oak, to avoid covering up the characteristics of the wine; it is aged for 18 months in 50% new and 50% used French oak.  I loved the fruit forward balanced nature of this wine, but couldn’t buy it at its $70 price tag.

Petroni makes their own olive oil too; during our tasting we also got to sample their olive oil with crispy bread sticks.  The salt of the bread sticks and the oil were fantastic – it was a great accompaniment to the wine.  We really enjoyed our visit.

Yakima – the Palm Springs of Washington

This afternoon I headed over to Yakima for a work conference. The weather is much nicer here than it has been West of the Mountains. This will be my first conference since I started my new job almost 4 months ago, and I’m getting to travel with a great group of coworkers. Yakima is forecast for highs between 70 and 78 degrees while I’m here, so it sounds like I’ll get the dose of sunshine I’ve been needing so badly. I brought my swimsuit, in case there is any pool sitting time, but outside of the conference I’ll probably be networking and hanging out with my coworkers. The real selling point to any conference in Yakima is the wine. There are several evening hosted bar events, so we will hopefully have the opportunity to try wines that I haven’t tasted before – and all for free.

In addition, Yakima as a couple of tasting rooms downtown, within walking distance of the hotel we are staying at. So it should be fun. One of my younger coworkers has been looking forward to this for weeks (months really) – she’s been plotting and planning every free second that we have, and it will all be consumed with wine (no pun intended). Now, don’t get me wrong – I’ll be listening attentively during the conference sessions. The conference topics are right up my alley, and I’m looking forward to learning from some really good speakers. It’s just that once the workday is done, I’m planning to enjoy myself – the sun, the leisure (no laundry or dishes!), and some great company.

Jon and I were planning to spend an extra couple of days touring after the conference was over. It gets over at noon on Friday, so we were planning to have Jon come over and pick me up in his car, and we could head out for a weekend trip. It seems that circumstances collided to make any long of weekend getaway an impossibility. First, we planned to go to Walla Walla, but then we found out that Walla Walla is having their balloon festival this weekend and all the hotels are booked. We talked about heading down to the Columbia Gorge, and staying in The Dalles. That sounded like a go – but then Jon got requested to substitute teach on May 12 and 13. That would mean that he wouldn’t get over to Yakima until at least 5 pm and we would still have a couple hours to drive before we got to where we are staying.

In the meantime, Biz’s tooth surgery got scheduled for May 4, and ideally I would be doing warm salt-water rinses everyday as the stitches come loose. Obviously I can’t be there during the conference, but coming home on Friday just seemed necessary in order to give him the care he needs. Sigh… It will be cheaper this way anyway – and Jon and I can do something more involved on Memorial Day weekend.

More on my adventures in Yakima soon – once I actually have some!