Growing up in wine country, I was blessed with beautiful hills of sweeping vineyards, but it was only this past year, when I finally spent some quality time at home since turning 21 that I was finally able to enjoy the “product” of those vines.
There was always a bottle (or two) of wine at the table growing up, and I looked forward to the day when I could go wine tasting with my Dad and Opa because they would always come back with such great stories. Indeed, I was grateful that I had the chance to go with my Opa to his favorite places before he passed in the spring of 2017.
Frequenting his favorite places these last few months has been truly special. I will always remember his laughter, and the twinkle in his eye as I attempted to identify (early on) what I did and did not like about the wines I was tasting. And his ultimate comment that it was all bull**** anyways. What a cowboy.
Being a local in wine country is great, specifically during the off season. Especially if you want to learn something deeper then the quick spiel lobbed at you during busy times as your tastings are poured.
For example, this last winter was great for long conversations about the techniques and blends of different wine makers. And while I am FAR from being a wine connoisseur, I am happy to report that all those hours of “blah blah blah” finally turned into “blah”. I sort of get it. (Sometimes).
With my growing confidence comes a growing opinion–and a slow SLOW slow growing acceptance of red wine as my choice for the evening.
Because wine tasting has brought my family so many wonderful memories, I wanted to share some of my favorite places to go.
There are SO many, but my family has found their few and I genuinely love their wines so much. My family loves Wilson ArtisanWineries because if you are a member at one, you get free tastings at their other wineries. It’s especially great for when family and friends visit.
First up is the OG Wilson Winery. This distinctive coyote is a familiar landmark along Dry Creek road. Just be careful climbing up the back. Maybe take the pictures before the tasting. The metal ladder in the back is small and a bit slippery.
The view from Wilson’s is also incredible. Sweeping vineyards that come almost right up to the back patio, and plenty of backyard style games to choose from. Watch the Jenga tower fall or try to beat your sister’s boyfriend at giant Connect 4 (fun fact: I lost).
My family’s ultimate favorite, Mazzocco, happens to also be my personal favorite. Not only is their picnic area incredibly cute, but I love their selection of white and red wine. Currently, I love their 2017 Zinfandel Verano and their 2018 Sauvignon Blanc. I am a big fan of this Sauvignon Blanc in particular because it tastes a grape fruity and I love it! It’s tangy and sweet but not overwhelming and it’s the perfect pool side drink.
Another family favorite is Ferrari Carano (not part of the Wilson Artisan Wineries) and their 2014 Prevail Back Forty. It is honestly one of the most amazing cabs that I have ever had (and I am not usually partial to cabs. At all). The downside is that the bottle is incredibly pricey, but oh my gosh. If, for some reason, you were looking to treat yourself, then this would be that bottle to do so!
I am also a HUGE fan of their dessert wines. Whenever we took guests there, I would always save my last tasting for their Eldorado Noir (they also have their Eldorado Gold, featured above), and when you combine the Noir with blueberry chocolates, which they usually offer during tastings, wow wow wow. It’s just so delicious!
Another blessing this summer was combing wine tasting with art.
I finally signed up for a wine and paint night. My Oma and I attended one that was held at Notre Vue Winery, and we chose this event because, as we were painting a vineyard, what else could be better than sitting in an actual vineyard and painting a vineyard?
So there you have it. An amazing summer exploring my dear wine country with family and friends. Nothing in this post is sponsored. It is merely my hope that if you’re at all interested, here are some interesting ways to go.
PS. Speaking of interesting things to try, my sister and I tried Chateau Diana’s wine slushy. Our conclusion was that it is delicious, but we could/should have split one. The colors were pretty incredible.