America’s Wine Country: California

Ok now sing it with me-California here we come! If you haven’t made it to Northern California then you really need to book that flight and head to the Bay Area. Why? Because outside of being amazingly beautiful it has some of the greatest wineries. Most people think of Napa when you think of wine but there is a place called Sonoma. It’s actually right next to Napa but is home to small wineries, some that you have never even heard of and usually aren’t available in your hometown wine shop. Since many of these guys are small businesses their distribution isn’t as big as say Kendall Jackson (don’t act like you’ve never heard of them).

While I was in San Francisco, my friends and I went up north to do a little wine tasting. YUMMY! I was in the bay area to celebrate my best friend’s birthday (Happy Birthday again Alison!).  Four Chicagoans went up to do a little drinking with our favorite SF couple.  We hit up three wineries, one that you will know (surprise!).

Our first stop was Korbel Wineries.

I know what you are thinking “You mean the Korbel that sells champagne oops I mean sparkling wine?” Yes that would be the one ladies and gentlemen. The one that has a commercial running every 20 seconds during the holidays.  I was completely blown away at the variety of  sparkling wines. Here is the funny part about these great can’t find them anywhere except at Korbel. Let the journey begin….

KORBEL Riesling Champagne- Yea I know right? Sounds good just saying it! It’s amazingly light and unlike other Riesling it’s not overly sweet. It’s all natural sugars. You want one? You’ll need to order it online.

Sweet Cuvée- Oh how the summer nights will be much more pleasant with this chilled drink in your hands. This is a sweet bubbly goodness! That’s what hits you first…fruit. If you like fruit this is the one for you.

KORBEL Rouge-You like red you say? Well then this one is the one for you. Its sparkling and its made with Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Excellent all year around. Again don’t be sad but you’ll need to get this one online as well.

Sidenote to my Sherry drinkers- If you want to give your guest something special after a good meal go for their Cream Sherry.

All of these items can be found on their online store and I promise you no regrets for buying Korbel. They’ve kept the good stuff to themselves.

Next stop: Porter Creek.

Let me start off by saying Porter Creek is exactly what you think of when it comes to wineries. They’re a family run business. A small house next to the tasting shack. I say the shack thing with lots of love.

2009 Viognier– This will not be a sweet white wine but will have slight hints of sweetness why you ask? Because its been aged and Porter Creek only made so much of this wine. Get it while its hot!

2007 Pinot Noir-This red wine is earthly and lush. What do I mean by lush? It means you’ll have some hits of berry in your sip. Great wine for BBQs.

2008 Pinot Noir – Estate– This is the expensive stuff. The taste is soft with just a hint of fruit but a finish that is soft.

Last stop on my trip: Thomas George Estates

This was a winery we had passed up while driving to Porter Creek. And I must say we were surprised at the beauty of this tasting room and the selections of reds. While I didn’t love all of the reds they offered; mostly Pinot Niors, which are my favorite, I enjoyed one in particular

2009 Thomas George Estates Pinot Noir, Estate Wine.-This was an amazing wine that had hints of cherry and brown spices.  It is complex with hints of cranberry. It was just overall a good wine that left your mouth wanting more.

Big thanks to the Thomas George employees who let us know about the 2009 Thomas George Estates Pinot Noir, Brut Rosé. I purchased two of these bottles without tasting them. Trust me it was very well worth it. This sparkling wine has strawberry-guava, clementine citrus, and fresh cotton candy but here is the thing it’s not sweet. It’s a dry wine that gives you just tastes of this amazing ingredients.

All of these wines are available for shipping via their online stores. Or get yourself up to Sonoma’s Russian Valley and enjoy the beauty and the taste of what California has to offer.


Posted on May 11, 2011, in did you know, Helpful tips, Recommendations, Reviews, Summer, Uncategorized, Wine Tours and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Too funny. Just hit Porter Creek over the weekend and opened a bottle of their Zinfandel last night. Definitely a nice spot!

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