Sonoma Sparkling

Mar 9th, 2010, 07:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 100
Sonoma Sparkling

Hi Friends,

I understand Sonoma has some wonderful Sparkling wines, which happen to be my favorite! We will be traveling there for a weekend this month (March). What is a suggested Sparkling wine tour? ie: what order is suggested for tasting? We will be there two 1/2 days. (We also appreciate Cab's and red Zin's)

Thanks in advance!
T in FL
beachtee is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 01:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,803
Here are a few suggestions for Sonoma, Napa, and southern Mendocino:

Iron Horse outside of Sebastopol in Sonoma County:

J Wines in Healdsberg:

Taittinger's Domaine Carneros (Carneros is between Sonoma Co. and Napa Co).:

Gloria Ferrer also in Carneros:

Schramsberg in Calistoga in Napa:

Domaine Chandon in Yountville (Napa Co.):

Domaine Mumm in Rutherford (Napa Co.):

If you have time, try and make it up to Roederer Estate up in Philo (Anderson Valley) in Mendocino. It's a beautiful drive. Don't miss trying Roederer's L'Hermitage line.:

Scharffenberger Cellars is also in Philo, which is on Highway 128.

These wineries are spread about, so it's probably best to consult a wine map:
If you are driving up Highway 101 and planning to stay in Healdsburg, it would make sense to start at Iron Horse, because you'll go right by the exit for Iron Horse (Steele Lane/Guerneville Road). But it'll be a bit of a drive from the highway. Nearby is Gary Ferrell Winery, which makes some fine Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
If you are staying in Sonoma town, however, and therefore driving up Highway 101 to Highway 37 to Highway 121, you'll be passing right by Gloria Ferrer.
Of course, the ones on Philo are the farthest out(beyond Healdsburg).
By the way, I live in the area and it's absolutely pouring rain here, but it's supposed to clear by Monday.
As for Sonoma Zinfandel and Cabernet suggestions, that's a whole other chapter. No shortage of these wines here!
Try putting in a search for "Best vineyards and best (cheaper!) hotels in Healdsburg and Sonoma" as someone asked a similar question recently.
Diamantina is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,830
Schramsberg and Iron Horse require advance reservations. Schramsberg is a great tour, I think the cost is $20 each. Excellent wines.
J has a fun wine and food pairing in their Bubble Room, I think it costs $60 each but you get 3-4 flights of wine with food pairings.
J also makes a very nice Zinfandel.
I also second the idea of going to the Anderson Valley if you have time. If so, also check out sparklers, but a good selection of well made wines.
boom_boom is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 04:44 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,336
boom_boom, I've been to Iron Horse quite a few times, and never heard anything about a reservation. Great place, I wouldn't miss it. Never been to Schramsberg.

Korbel is also in Sonoma, and though the wines aren't the best, they have a beautiful outdoor patio where you can have lunch.

There's also Michel Schlumberger in the stunning Dry Creek Valley, but that is also reservation only.

Mumm's has a tasting patio with a gorgeous view of Napa Valley.

Chandon is in Yountville, and has very nice wines, but the place is huge and gets pretty crowded.
smetz is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 05:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 100
Wow! Thanks for the detailed listing Diamantia! Rain!? Hopefully it will clear before Monday!!! We are arriving Thurs. eve.

I saw a 32nd annual barrel tasting event that is scheduled for this weekend. Does that mean the area will be super crowded!? Is the barrel tasting worth the time? Or, since Sparkling is my fav, should I stick to the above rec's, and not bother with the barrels!?

T in FL
beachtee is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 06:06 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 695
Yes, there's going to be a lot of people going to the wine country this weekend because of two major events.

One is the Russian River Wine Road 32nd Annual Barrel tasting event:

This is a great event but it doesn't focus on sparkling wines. You should be OK if you stick to the lower Sonoma region if you want to avoid the crowds.

Also, in Napa is the Mustard Festival which has a major event in downtown Napa this weekend. Again, this is a great event but if you want to avoid crowds, you should be OK visiting wineries upvalley which should not be impacted too much by the event.

Your biggest concern should be on Sunday evening if you attempt to leave Napa or Sonoma for San Francisco. Avoid this if at all possible until after 6pm (7 might be better) especially if you are going down across the Golden Gate. Thankfully, daylight savings begins on Sunday.

If you are staying in the Wine Country on Sunday night, then you won't have any problems.
Supercilious is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,830
smetz -- you're right on Iron Horse, I was thinking of the tour rather than just the tasting. The tour is excellent.
boom_boom is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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I've been to Barrel Tasting for the last three years...sadly, not able to go this year. Yes, it can be very crowded but it's doable. There are usually about 80 wineries that participate, it varies. There is food served, some better than others. You can get some great deals on wines. You can usually go to any participating winery to get your wrist band and wine glasses, a map, and then off you go. Normally, participating wineries have a bunch of balloons at their entrance to identify them. Not all the wineries participate.

My brother just went to an "invite only" pre-barrel tasting at Mozzocco winery. I guess it was pretty fabulous, great food, and great wine. I'm going to go for sure next year, he can bring guests and that guest would be me. LOL
crefloors is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 02:25 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,336
boom-boom, thanks I'll have to check that out next time I'm out there.
smetz is offline  

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