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Well, it has come and gone. That special time of the year that you can sit back and smile, and enjoy all the great things in this world.

NO! I’m not talking about the holidays! I’m talking about our annual trip to Napa and Sonoma! It is like Christmas, your birthday, and everything else great in your life all rolled into one…Okay, I may be overselling it a little, but it has always been an amazing trip, meeting amazing people, and drinking amazing wine. All that and I didn’t even get to the amazing food. Yeah, it is pretty amazing.

This was a quick trip, so we decided to keep it relaxed and tried not to cram too much into one day. We spent the first day up in northern Sonoma and the next two days in Napa Valley. We are going to let our (mostly Janice’s) pictures tell the story of the trip albeit with a little interjection from me here and there. Also, because of the large number of pictures, each day is divided into separate posts.

Day 1: Sonoma County

We started this year’s trip by traveling up to northern Sonoma. Sonoma wineries in general are a lot more spread out than Napa Valley. So planning ahead is pretty important so you don’t waste your day driving all over the place.

Chalk Hill was the perfect first stop for our trip. Our hosts were a lot of fun and the visit really set the tone for the rest of our trip. Some absolutely amazing wines!

Chalk Hill

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The gate to Chalk Hill. I felt like the kids waiting to get into the chocolate factory!

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Next up was Roth Vineyard. Roth is a sister property of Chalk Hill, conveniently located right across the street.  We had such a good time at Chalk Hill that we decided to make a stop here as well. A fun impromptu stop!

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Because I am also a beer nerd, we drove over to the town of Healdsburg to visit Bear Republic Brewing Co. I’m a big fan of their beer and the brewery exclusive “Clobberskull” didn’t disappoint. It was a perfect place for a quick lunch and a tasty brew.

Bear Republic Brewing Co.
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Back to wine! Next on our itinerary was Ridge Vineyard Lytton Springs. Prior to our visit we’ve only had a few of Ridge’s wines, and was looking forward to trying their other selections. We tasted through several of their zinfandel blends including a few “library” vintages (fancy way of saying older wines). Beautiful views and good wine. What else do you need?

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Our final tasting of the day was at Silver Oak (Geyserville). This was a bit of an impromptu stop as well. We had planned on going to Silver Oak’s Napa location on day two, but the proximity to Ridge made it a no brainer to finish up our day here. We tasted the current 2010 and 2012 vintages of both their Alexander Valley and Napa Valley Cabernets. It was really fun to taste the differences in the wines. You get very unique flavors between the different years, and even more of an interesting difference in flavor based on the vineyard location (Napa vs. Alexander Valley). The tasting really brought out how much the location and soil affects the grapes.

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After a delicious first day of tasting we made our way to Napa and sat down for dinner at Bounty Hunter Wine Bar. Last year we made the mistake of getting the barbecue platter, it was huge and awesome. This time around we both got more sensibly sized pulled pork and brisket sandwiches (still huge). I love this place! It’s a perfect spot to wind down and enjoy some great BBQ. Go to this place if you are in town, it is worth it!

Bounty Hunter Wine Bar and Smokin’ BBQ:

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With our bellies full of tremendous food and wine, day one is in the books and we couldn’t have asked for a better day! Stay tuned for day 2!

Until next time!

T & J

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