Sonoma Wine Country

Wine Country is a region of North California that has over 400 wineries.It includes the Napa County and Sonoma County.Here one finds sprawling vineyards stretching over hills and valleys,excellent restaurants and luxurious spas.The weather is pleasant throughout the year and it is pure bliss to just be there.

As my friends Kavita and Brendan live in Sonoma,I got to see both.The Northern Sonoma County has three valleys: Alexander known for Cabernet and Merlot,Dry Creek known for Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc and Russian River Valley for its Pinot Noir. Merry Edwards' Sonoma wine Sauvignon Blanc Russian River 2008 is the highest rated Sauvignon Blanc for this year.

For those new to wines,white wine comes from grapes or juice of yellow or green grapes.The well known ones include Chardonnay,Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurtzraminer.Red wines are from grapeskins that are red or purple.These include Cabernet Sauvignon,Merlot,Pinot Noir,Pinotage,Zinfandel and Syrah or Shiraz.



We visited J Vineyards and Winery which had a special pairing of food,wine and jewellery! White wine is usually paired with seafood and red with meat.Occasionally red may be paired with salmon or tuna.Vegetables and cheese go well with whites.The pairing is based on acidity,sweetness and tannin content.The jewellery was paired based on the color.

Executive Chef Mark Caldwell had teamed up with Jewelry Designer Dilek Sezen.The first wine we had was the 2007 J Vineyards Chardonnay,Russian River Valley paired with Objet's d'Art and Citrus Chicken Salad in Phyllo Cups.It had the distinct flavor of apple and pear and went well with the chicken.
The second table had delicate pearl jewellery and there were Drakes Bay Oysters in Half shells and Pickled Watermelon Pearls.The 2001 J Vintage Brut was a good accompaniment.
My favorite was the J Brut Rose,Russian River Valley which was served with Yukon Gold Potato Crisps with Roasted Beet Mousse.Everything pink! Lovely! Kavita tried on the beautiful Bubble necklace while I enjoyed my hors d'oeuvre.



After the white wines ,we encountered the reds.Here they were the 2006 J Pinot Noir,Nicole's Vineyard and 2008 J Vineyards Pinotage,Russian River Valley.Pinot Noirs have a cherry flavor whereas Cabernet Sauvignon has blackcurrant.
The storage also determines the flavor with stainless steel rendering a fruity taste and oak,spicy.
Red wines are described by their body type which depends on the tannin content.Cabernets have full body(higher tannins) and Merlots have medium.



There was Summer Vegetable Caponata on Crostini and rare,exotic gems with the reds.We could view the wine making process from large glass windows as we drank.By the time we finished it all,it would be correct to say we were in high spirits....











Our next stop was the A.Rafanelli Winery for which we needed an appointment.Run by a family of Italian origin,here was a winery started years ago by a woman.
I liked the Merlot.We couldn't have too much though.The little sips add to a lot! :)
The lady at the winery told us all about the wine making process while we tried them.
All in all it was a learning experience!

























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