Weekend in Sonoma

Sonoma County, California… wine…food…sunshine…and good company.  A perfect place to spend a long weekend.


The grape vines were heavily laden with beautiful ripening grapes.  The setting was perfect for some wine tasting.  My friend, Debby, joined us as we headed off to Iron Horse Vineyards to taste their Russian Cuvee – which was served at the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit and at the White House since.  As it goes with most wine tastings, different people liked different wines, and we laughed our way through our taste disagreements both here and at Russian River Vineyards. But, yes, we did all like the Russian Cuvee – probably the only one we all agreed on – no wonder it ended the Cold War.

20140727-112138-40898904.jpgThe afternoon of tastings was followed by a delicious dinner of locally grown and produced foods at Backyard in Forestville. Below was our pickle board appetizer with house fermented kimchi, preserved mustard seeds, pickled garlic (hey, I make that too!), pickled broccoli stems and more. The food was excellent!


While my husband was busy, I spent my alone-time at the Sebastopol Farmers Market.  What a selection of organic produce! I was quite content among the tomatoes, pluots, dates, almonds, olives and more!






After I met back  up with my husband, we took our pluots and headed to the ocean for an afternoon of walking along the shore, watching the waves.


As we drove to our dinner destination, we stopped for a snack among the redwoods…


And, lastly, made it to our destination – dinner at a colleague’s parents vineyard and olive groves – Old Chatham Ranch in Mendocino County.


The family made some beautiful wines – the best we had tasted yet.  But, alas, they only make wines for their own enjoyment.  But what they specialize in is super high quality extra virgin olive oil.  So, as you can imagine, dinner was a wonderful experience, as much for the company of this warm family as for the sumptuous food and drink.


So, with that, we watched the sun set at the ranch and our weekend in Sonoma ended.


We brought the wine home with us.  I am anxiously awaiting my shipment of olive oil.  This is not oil I will use for cooking, it is for dipping, special salad dressings, and as a finishing oil.  I can’t wait, and I will fill you in on what I do with it. Tomatoes with a simple balsamic and olive oil dressing, or perhaps with truffle balsamic vinegar, or just making a good rustic bread and simply dipping it in the oil  – oh I can’t wait!!








Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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