Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

IMG_2221

Virginia Marie Lambrix has stellar wine making bona fides (U.C. Davis, Lynmar, DeLoach) and it shows, in her elegant, yet reasonably priced ($20-45) wines. This sophistication with a nod to the mysteries of the natural world that conspire to create such an ethereal beverage are reflected in the tasting room. The tasting counter is housed in half of a spacious renovated barn style room filled with natural light. The back section gives way to charcoal colored walls, dark wood, fireplace and  a feminine take on leather club chairs. As someone who never would have been invited into the always alluring British men’s clubs of a century ago, I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps, Ms. Lambrix, who has managed to excel in the “men’s club” of wine, made this “club” for the ladies.

IMG_2222

A porcelain phrenology head emblazoned with butterflies, antique chemistry bottles and scented candles bearing the detailed, evocative etchings that grace every well-crafted bottle of wine peek out from mantle and shelf. In fact, the various label designs are so beautiful, one would be tempted to take a couple bottles home for the stunning visuals alone. Luckily, what’s inside matches, if not bests, its packaging. Every wine, from the Gewürtztraminer to the multiple expressions of Pinot Noir are excellent. Two particular standouts were the 2010 Boudreaux Vineyard Pinot Noir ($45)  full of tart red fruits, spice and rubber with a zingy acidity that does nothing to take away from the full, voluptuous mouthfeel, this is, in a strange way, a pinot that drinks like a Montrachet.

IMG_2226

The real revelation was the 2011 Late Late Harvest Desert Wine ($30.) More often than not I find desert wines to be a bit of a mediocre afterthought, even at some of my favorite wineries. This was an exception, however. The honeysuckle and orange blossom nose leave you wondering whether you want to drink or dab it behind your ears (my advice, do both!) The nectarine and cream honey is balanced beautifully by a vivid acidity and a wet quartz gravitas on the back. This wine demands a hard cheese and Marcona almonds, and who am I to deny it?

IMG_2232

The property is just as pedigreed as its current namesake. It was formerly Belvedere and most recently, C. Donatiello. But Ms. Lambrix has made it into something that amplifies her refined aesthetic.

IMG_2236

The gardens and picnic area continue the exacting attention to detail and design. The interplay of mosses and stone, water and reeds. This is a spot created to envelope you in something quiet and magical, and that it does.

RATINGS 1-10 (1 = Give it a miss. 10= Move heaven and earth to make this a part of your journey!)

INTERIOR = 8.5 EXTERIOR/VIEW = 9 WINE QUALITY = 8

OVERALL RATING = 8.5

V.M.L. Winery
4035 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA. 95448
Phone: 707-431-4404
Fax: 707-431-4402
 
Open 11-5 Daily
Wine Flights $10 (waived with wine purchase)
Cheese and Wine Pairing $25 ($10 waived with wine purchase)

Read Full Post »

A spot of tea?

https://i1.wp.com/farm7.staticflickr.com/6066/6103689079_8218d4f2c8_m.jpg

Paddington Tea, the new Santa Rosa veddy British tea room featured in Bite Club Eats sounds like just the thing after a long (grueling 😉 ) day of wine tasting. But the singing waitresses? I don’t know, I’m having some disturbing “Mary Poppins” flashbacks. What do you think?

 

Read Full Post »

It’s very rare that one’s first love is their greatest love. Sure, there are the lucky boys and girls next door, the hometown honeys and the high school prom dates. But for most of us, it’s years, decades even, of trial and error, high highs, low lows and experiences that you might deeply regret. Or look back at and laugh. For the most part, my ongoing love affair with wine has been fabulous, and there’s been something to look back at and love about each of my suitors, as badly matched as we may have been.

There was early puppy love with a sweet, well-intentioned, but dumb as a box of rocks Temecula sparkler (Yes, they can make “Champagne” out of almonds…I’ll leave it at that.)

Then, the flashy, testosterone heavy, Alpha Male Napa Cabernet, who, all too often, had more money than sense, and questionable taste in decor (I suppose all that Travertine marble does evoke ancient Mesopotamia, but does that make it right?) He took me on a blinged-out ride, which was a ton of fun while it lasted, but The Sonomaist was ill-prepared to subsist entirely on rib eye steaks, duck confit and Cohiba Cigars.

A sand and sun soaked, lazy, hazy summer with the unfocused, Surfer Boy, Santa Barbara Syrah, a mellow, fellow to be sure, but eventually I realized, there wasn’t a lot of depth there and ended up with a splitting headache from his rather monotonous dude-speak.

Having “grown into my big girl pants” after some wild time abroad with très romantique Burgundies (red and white, The Sonomaist is an equal opportunity quaffer!) And mad Riojas, full of unbridled passion, clad in an exotic leathery wardrobes hissing promises to last until the end of time and beyond, I returned home to the good ole U.S of A. Older, wiser, and looking for love.

Where does a smart, wordly girl like The Sonomaist go next, you might ask? Why, the Pacific Northwest, of course. The place of Serious Pinot Noir, dark framed nerd glasses and earnest intentions. Willamette (I call him Will, he hates it) was an intense, brooding young pinot, intent on getting out from under the demanding, looming shadow of his French father, but aching to make him proud nonetheless. Will was an unheralded genius. One day he will change the world, and I’ll look back wistfully at our time together. But The Sonomaist needed someone to meet her halfway. Brains, beauty, a twinkle in the eye that speaks to an old soul with a wicked sense of humor. I think you know where this is going, don’t you?

I’d run into Sonoma a few times, you know how you do, mutual friends, shared turf. And here we were again, Carneros, neither here nor “There.” I was back on with Napa Cab (he’s so intoxicating, dontcha know) riding high on a wave of Louboutins and lobster tails. Every night a different gala event, another éminence grise. But this night was different. Darker, uncoreographed. It was a house party, more like a barn party really. Slumming, not “our kind of people” Napa said. But he was more than ready to mingle, every man wanted to be him and every woman wanted to be with him. I hugged a corner, The Sonomaist was never a real social butterfly. more of a social caterpillar, content to linger around the edges of any given event (true fact, if you stay stationary at a party, eventually, all the minglers and movers will circle around to you because they have to “do” the room, you just have to observe. It’s like being the sun, and they are but planets. Think of it that way, my dear wallflowers.) From my spot, I observed Napa Cab, working the room, reveling in the admiration. Flirting a little too seriously with the out of town girl, big hair, bought bustline and new money to burn. He couldn’t help himself. I finally saw him for who he really was.

I sipped the local Pinot Noir, how good could it be? It came out of this dusty old shed, not a single ode to Ulysses rendered in bronze  anywhere. But as I sipped, there He was. Nothing flashy, but good looking, in an aw’ shucks kind of a way. A native intelligence passed down through generations who worked equally well with their brains and their hands. Mud in the treads of his boots, tan earned not sprayed. Made for use, not displaying under a pinpoint spot. His fruity side got my jokes and his steady, firm, gravitas and depth stole my heart. Sonoma asked me to dance back in 1997. We’ve been dancing ever since, and he never fails to surprise me with new steps, twists, and always a good joke or two. He laughs his, deep, earthy laugh, and every time he looks at me with those hazel eyes, sometimes green as the leaves of a Gravenstein apple tree in July, sometimes as deep and brown as the loamy soil of the Valley in wintertime, I know he gets me. And I get him. And that, my friends, is what true love is all about. Which is why I was more than happy to take his name and start the journey of a lifetime. Come with, it’ll be fun.

Read Full Post »

The Lady Is A Chef

All the juice I can squeeze from my mind grapes...

Attempts in Domesticity

trying to emulate Martha Stewart in a town full of hipsters...

Small World Supper Club

Dining at the Venn Diagram

The Vagabond Filmmaker

Travel + Film = A Happy Life

Homemade with Mess

who wants life to be tidy when you can have more fun making a mess??!

Soap Cauldron

Fine Handmade Soaps & Sundries

foodwineclick

When food and wine click!

Albion Cooks

Sonoma County Wine and Whimsey

101 Cookbooks

Sonoma County Wine and Whimsey

Nook & Pantry - A Food and Recipe Blog

Sonoma County Wine and Whimsey

Oregon Cork Dork

Documenting my adventure in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Made In Sonoma

Life In The Wine Country

sonomagirl.com

tales from a wine country kitchen

a sonoma garden

adventures in organic living

%d bloggers like this: