For our 10th wedding anniversary, Chris and I traveled to wine country.
May 21st-22nd: Boulder City @ Boulder Dam Hotel. Visited the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. Ate dinner at the Dillinger on Saturday & at the Centurion Lounge before our flight.
On the night of May 22nd we arrived at Hotel Petaluma. It was being renovated, but boasted the area’s oldest elevator, Otis. The rooms looked out onto the main streets of Petaluma. We walked to our favorite breakfast place, Della Fattoria Bakery each morning (where a nice couple bought our breakfast because we had the same anniversary date). We also shopped for seeds at the Seed Bank.
May 23rd: Petaluma @ Hotel Petaluma. Visited Della Fattoria for breakfast, where we met and became friends with a nice couple. They bought our breakfast because we had the same anniversary date. Afterwards, we went to Sonoma Portworks for a tasting then we went to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. After coming back to town, we got some Rocky Road from the Petaluma Creamery and then enjoyed gnocchi and duck-filled ravioli at Cucina Paradiso.
Petaluma is the small town that only exists in your dreams. Everyone is friendly, the shops are adorable, and the entire experience is natural and organic. When you leave Petaluma, the hills roll and there are cows everywhere. The weather is cool in the morning and warms up in the afternoon, then cools down again for sunset.
The next day, we breakfasted again at Della Fattoria. Chris got the lavender & honey latte – delicious!
At Landmark Winery we tasted amazing Chardonnays. I recommend getting a flight that allows you to taste their cheapest chardonnay and work your way to their most expensive. This is important because you can taste the differences between the wines and their quality. This practice has led me from an all-red drinker to expanding my palette. As a drinker of heavy Cabernets (Franc, Sauvignon), Merlots, & Syrahs, I really enjoy oak-y, buttery Chardonnays. If you like light, fruity wines, try the un-oaked Chardonnays. They are completely different tastes.
We stayed for a picnic on their grounds by the vineyards. The weather was perfect and the view was worth a relaxing afternoon.
At Central Market, we finished off the day with a stone-oven pizza. There always should be room for a good pizza in a vacation.
May 25th: We actually stayed at a cottage @Della Fattoria Farms. We had fresh eggs, bread, butter, and milk for breakfast,
which they placed in our cottage for our use. We went to the bakery downtown for coffee (and a cupcake). For lunch, we drove to Gloria Ferrer, where we enjoyed a flight of sparkling wines paired with small bites to eat from a terrace which overlooked the vineyards below. After our tasting, we toured the winery and bought their best for our anniversary.
Hotel concierge, Sarah, surprised us with two dozen mauve & cream roses, Gloria Ferrer, and Macarons. We bought an assorted cheese tray from Sonoma Market and had a loaf of Lemon-Rosemary bread from Della Fattoria to enjoy in front of our wood-burning fire in our suite. We then went to 38 Degrees North to indulge in truffle lobster mac and cheese & Poutine.
We also had day passes to the spa for each day we were there and we partook in the bathing ritual and enjoyed lounging by the pool with complimentary glasses of Gloria Ferrer.
May 26th: We went hiking with a group of guests at the Fairmont. At the Girl and the Fig, Chris had a Croque Madame & I had a Pork-belly sandwich-amazing! We went to B.R. Cohn for a tasting, but this was not as wonderful as our food and wine paring at St. Francis. After this, we relaxed at the spa until it closed, went to the Sonoma Market for a cheese tray, and enjoyed it by the fire in our room.
May 27th: After a ham croissant @ Basque Boulangerie in Sonoma Square we went to Roche and Sigh to taste new wines. At Sigh, we tried the flight of Perrier-Jouet, Louis Roederer Cristal, and Dom Pérignon. On our anniversary, Sarah left a Cabernet Franc and Chocolate-covered strawberries for us before our dinner at Santé. Afterwards, we went to Santé & had a nine-course dinner that lasted from 6-11 PM. It was pretty much the best dinner ever. It does have a Michelin star, even if their website is cruddy looking (hey Fairmont, I can help out with that).
May 28th: We had breakfast at Crisp Bakery then went to Keller Estate, a private winery. They were inattentive and uninformative and the popcorn was stale, but the view was great.
After relaxing at the spa, we got our Gloria Ferrer and a S’Mores kit from the hotel and went to the fire-pit to spend our evening drinking from coupe glasses, eating lobster mac and cheese, and toasting marshmallows over the fire-pit in a courtyard of the Fairmont.
May 29th: We woke up early to eat at Sunflower Caffe before it was crowded. Then, we went to the pool and enjoyed the spa for as long as we were able before boarding the plane to return home.
List of vineyards / wineries visited: Sonoma Portworks, Landmark, Gloria Ferrer, B. R. Cohn, St. Francis, Roche, Sigh, & Keller Estate
Recommended: 38 Lounge’s Truffle lobster Mac, Santé tasting menu and wine pairing, Gloria Ferrer’s champagne flight, Landmark’s picnic, St. Francis’s wine and food pairing, & Sigh’s champagne samples.
Note: I know champagne officially only applies to wine FROM Champagne, France, but I am using it casually to mean sparkling wine. While American sparkling wines have notes of apples, peaches, and honey, French champagnes usually are toasty and bready.