Song Of Sonoma

November 9, 2010

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! We are loving this trip!!

IMG_0286

We meticulously planned the map of the day (we have two of them!) Bocker helped.

IMG_0146

First stop was Kendall-Jackson. I am so thankful that Jenna and Almanzo (Adam) have introduced me to KJ Wines. They have totally exceeded expectations of mine (and I have high expectations!)

IMG_0157

IMG_0158

Holy Hair!

IMG_0160 IMG_0166 IMG_0171

I thought KJ was a simple household table wine, but what I have learned is that there are so many layers to the brand. From an everyday affordable table wine to the tip-top grape press, KJ makes everything in-between. Definitely exceeded expectations!

IMG_0173

We paid a visit to the tasting room -

IMG_0175 IMG_0176 IMG_0177 IMG_0189

And we were graced with a full food & wine pairing today compliments of Almanzo in the most beautiful gazebo setting

IMG_0182 IMG_0181 IMG_0184 IMG_0188

IMG_0192

Chef Justin Wangler’s pairings were totally spot on. I highly recommend this tasting for anyone visiting wine country! Justin is from Ashville, NC – my stomping ground!!!

IMG_0209

The First Course was Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Soup with coconut milk. Paired with the 2009 Grande Reserve Sauvignon Blanc along with a Johnny Cake with Trout Roe and Sour Cream paired with the 2007 Highland Estates Camelot Highlands Chard. A true buttery delight with a crisp finish.

IMG_0194

I thought the creamy soup really brought out the spice of the Sauv Blanc, and it was one of my favorite pairings.

IMG_0195 IMG_0196

Next up: REDS!

IMG_0200

IMG_0202

IMG_0208

Course Number 2 was a Buckwheat Crepe with Smoked Ham and Bellwether Farms Carmody Cheese. Paired with the 2006 Highland Estates Seco Highlands Pinot Noir. SMOKE + SMOKE = pleasure on the palate!!!

IMG_0206

The Sweet Tea Brined Niman Ranch Pork Belly Slider was soaked in southern sweet tea and paired with a cucumber and an herby 2006 Highland Estates Alisos Hills Syrah. Some said it was their favorite pairing of the day! I loved it, nonetheless.

IMG_0204

Pairing #3 was a Korean Style Kobe Beef Lettuce Wrap paired with the 2005 Highland Estates Trace Ridge Cab Sauvignon

IMG_0205

Tasted like complete leather in a lettuce!!!

My company was top notch – two hot gentleman!!

IMG_0212

<3

IMG_0219

IMG_0226 IMG_0230

We so happened to be able to participate in the cheese course as well…

IMG_0231

The best part was the accompaniments that came with each cheese course, and having spoken with Chef Justin, I can vouch that some of these ingredients took hours and hours to prepare.

IMG_0237 IMG_0236 IMG_0235 IMG_0238 IMG_0239

The cheeses were stinky, and the accompaniments were impeccable. I think my favorite was the Delice de la Vallee, a cow and goat’s milk blend, paired with candied pomello, which imparted a sweet, bitter, sour taste all in one.

IMG_0240

The cheese dessert course included two of my favorites:bleu cheese + walnuts. Paired with a sweet Chard. and a Riesling that I loved. I used to hate sweet wines, but now I 100% appreciate them!

IMG_0242

IMG_0243 IMG_0245

IMG_0250

Desserts anyone? Caramel corn (super sweet + crunchy!) with a Buttermilk Panna Cotta. Both were superb and paired perfectly.

IMG_0249 IMG_0248

IMG_0253

After we finished up at KJ Wines, we embarked on our tour of the Russian River Valley, perhaps our favorite part of Sonoma.

First stop, Martinelli, as recommended by our wino friends, Stephanie and Evan

IMG_0255

I miss my pumpkin oats :(

IMG_0260

Pinot Land!!

IMG_0266

Recommendation: travel with a bag of pretzels. These were from a gift basket I received from Electrolux for my sponsorship and every pretzel was appreciated!

IMG_0269

IMG_0273

Bocker enjoyed lots of gourmet honey on this trip!!

IMG_0276

Nectar of the Valley – Harvest Moon valley to be specific. Loved their Sonoma Harvest, which reminded me of the rubbery smell of a shoestore and their 2007 Zin that smelled like an antique wardeobe!!

IMG_0287

IMG_0289

IMG_0290

IMG_0293 IMG_0295

Probably my favorite thing about Sonoma is how much the landscape changes – even 1 mile along the road! There are nearly 100 microclimates and where one might be cloudy and foggy, another just a few miles away might be sunny and hot. Thus is why there are such diverse wines within just a few miles apart! As well as stunning, lush redwoods within a few miles of desert.

IMG_0299

IMG_0303

IMG_0313

IMG_0318

IMG_0342

Map navigation! There are SO MANY wineries here. How to choose!? You just have to point a finger and hope for the best. This worked really well when we stumbled upon Porter Creek, which had a Zin that won the New York Times’ Best Zin (it reminded us of fatty fish like sardines!)

IMG_0319

IMG_0321

IMG_0323

IMG_0325

And Thomas George’s delicious reds

IMG_0336

IMG_0308

Lastly, a spontaneous stop into Arista for some amazing Pinots

IMG_0345

IMG_0348

IMG_0349

We ended up doing a farm dinner at Zazu for our evening meal, but in the interlude, Matt wanted to try a brewery. Perfect time for me to get a head start on my blog post!

IMG_0361

IMG_0357

IMG_0359 (640x427)

A short ride later, dinnertime!

IMG_0365

IMG_0388

IMG_0369

IMG_0371

We shared the wine tasting along with the meal – a Chard and a Syrah

IMG_0374

Bread Rules

IMG_0377

The first course was a goat cheese panna cotta with greens and beets and hazelnuts

IMG_0378

Second course was shared with Matt – a huge plate of pasta with giant butter beans and lamb sausage in a tomato sauce

It was incredible!!!!!!

IMG_0385

Because we’re celebrating 3 years of marriage on our second honeymoon, we got candles in our dessert!!

IMG_0390

Chocolate pot de creme – ganache in a bowl. Incredible!! I didn’t finish the dish if that tells you how rich (good) it was.

Tomorrow’s another day . Again I wish I could just eat greens and fruit, but I have a feeling I’ll need to take advantage of all the senses to experience while I’m here!

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

1 emily November 9, 2010 at 12:54 am

Ack, that all looks fabulous! I don’t know if I’m more jealous of the panna cotta or the “cup of ganache!”

Reply

2 Jill November 9, 2010 at 12:55 am

Swing by San Jose and I will whip you up a bowl of pumpkin oats–on the house! :)

Reply

3 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) November 9, 2010 at 12:57 am

You’re making me wish I took a day trip to wine country!!! Maybe Bocker and I will plan a trip on our own :)

Reply

4 Hannah November 9, 2010 at 12:57 am

I loved smoked flavours too! And cheese… what a wonderful reunion-day with your husband!

Reply

5 Christin L. November 9, 2010 at 1:02 am

Ganache in a bowl?! How lovely!!!!

Reply

6 Kristin November 9, 2010 at 1:02 am

I love Arista! Beautiful grounds and delicious wines. I recommend checking out Unti. I think you might need to make an appointment but their Rose is simply the best (hopefully they haven’t sold out!). Reds are also super lush and tasty.

Reply

7 Hope November 9, 2010 at 1:03 am

Wow, this looks to have been an epic, epic day :)

Reply

8 Susan November 9, 2010 at 1:09 am

Glad you made it to Zazu. I like that place a lot. If you don’t have dinner plans tomorrow night, you should check out Mosaic in Forestville. I had one of the best meals of my life out there.

Oh, and you’re in Sonoma County, not the town of Sonoma. :)

Reply

9 Amanda (Eating Up) November 9, 2010 at 1:10 am

Ahhh I’m so glad I get to experience this through your blog posts! I look forward to going there myself one day!

Reply

10 Michelle (The Runner's Plate) November 9, 2010 at 1:16 am

Wow! I need to go to Sonoma some day soon!

Reply

11 J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) November 9, 2010 at 2:23 am

Wow, so many beautiful and delicious tastes! Such a lovely day :)

Reply

12 Heidi - apples under my bed November 9, 2010 at 3:08 am

Too much to highlight here – I love so much of it! The pictures of the countryside are just beautiful! I know what you mean, after indulgent days you just want greens but DO take advantage of it while you’re there! You’ll have your pumpkin oatmeal soon :) I’m so jealous of all your amazing eats. Happy 3 year wedding anniversary!
Heidi xo

Reply

13 maya @ finding balance in tokyo November 9, 2010 at 3:28 am

That all looks so fantastic. I can’t believe I never made it up to Wine Country for a tasting in all my years living back home!

Reply

14 Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) November 9, 2010 at 4:06 am

Happy Anniversary! I’m sure the wine tasting is even more enjoyable considering the incredible countryside. Wine tasting in Sonoma is now added to my Bucket List!!

Reply

15 Cara Craves... November 9, 2010 at 5:03 am

My word!
Everything looks beautiful and delicious!
You guys are so photogenic.

Reply

16 Christie {Honoring Health} November 9, 2010 at 5:41 am

Wow, where to even begin with such an amazing day. I also always thought KJ was just a regular table wine but now I might have to explore it a little further.

Reply

17 Lauren at KeepItSweet November 9, 2010 at 5:46 am

that looks like an amazing day!! what a great way to celebrate

Reply

18 j November 9, 2010 at 5:58 am

Whew I ‘m exhausted after reading that post! My fave winery is Viansa <3

Reply

19 Cailin @ Stir Crazy November 9, 2010 at 6:10 am

I’m drooling over these photos! Between the gorgeous backdrop, the wine and food, it looks like heaven! Looks like a very memorable anniversary trip!

Reply

20 Grocery Goddess Jen November 9, 2010 at 6:23 am

So romantic! I love living vicariously through you :)

Reply

21 Lauren November 9, 2010 at 6:39 am

This is a dream trip. So glad you guys are enjoying the essence of wine country.

Reply

22 jessica @ how sweet November 9, 2010 at 6:50 am

Pumpkin cheese soup?? Incredible.

Reply

23 stacey-healthylife November 9, 2010 at 6:51 am

Wow what an amazing day. That tasting at KJ was so well prepared and displayed.

Reply

24 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 9, 2010 at 6:57 am

Holy food & wine! That trip looks right up my alley. How nice of Almanzo to coordinate that for you.

Repeat after me: I will make it through 2 more days without pumpkin oats. I will make it through 2 more days without pumpkin oats.

Reply

25 Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 9, 2010 at 7:09 am

The panna cotta looks like bliss in a cup!

Reply

26 A Teenage Gourmet (Sami) November 9, 2010 at 7:11 am

Beautiful! But what else is new? ;)

Reply

27 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) November 9, 2010 at 7:25 am

Happy Anniversary to you two! What an incredible trip visually and gastronomically! I would say the company is pretty great too!

Reply

28 holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 9, 2010 at 7:37 am

You can have my greens and fruit and I’ll switch places with you — we’d love to be in wine country !!!

Enjoy your day!

Reply

29 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 9, 2010 at 7:39 am

Holy monster post- and everything looks fabulous!! I went to Santa Barbara wine country last year, but clearly Sonoma is where it’s at. Hope you continue to enjoy your anniversary trip!!

Reply

30 Felicity November 9, 2010 at 7:53 am

I love how descriptive you are with all of the flavors. I’m craving wine (at 7:52am) now! ; )

Reply

31 beth grossman November 9, 2010 at 7:59 am

Wow, it is Eden! So happy for you both. Love wine and food and the lush country there.

Reply

32 Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

Fabulous! Everything looks fantastic, Kath..the food, the country, the company! It’s a lil getaway foryou two :)

Reply

33 td November 9, 2010 at 8:05 am

“Tasted like complete leather in a lettuce”? I’m assuming that’s a bad thing, right? Sometimes I’m not sure what you are trying to say.

Reply

34 Kath November 9, 2010 at 9:54 am

A good thing!

Reply

35 Maddie (Healthy Maddie) November 9, 2010 at 8:08 am

Sonoma is beautiful. I love the scenery!

Reply

36 Krystina November 9, 2010 at 8:19 am

You’re living my DREAM life right now. So beautiful.

Reply

37 Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle November 9, 2010 at 8:29 am

Oh man!!! What a blast that looks like!!! I’ve always wanted to go wine tasting, and this post just reaffirmed that for me!! lol So glad ya’ll are enjoying your time together :-)

Reply

38 Charise November 9, 2010 at 8:30 am

This seems like the perfect wine country day to me – I am jealous! I can’t wait to make it to Sonoma some day!

Reply

39 Taylor November 9, 2010 at 8:32 am

Those chocolate pots de creme look AMAZING!

Reply

40 Samantha @ Bikini Birthday November 9, 2010 at 8:35 am

Wow, that’s a lot of wineries!
I find touring wineries can be pretty exhausting. It’s unbelievably fun, but by the end of the day I’m ready for a nap.

Reply

41 Kelly November 9, 2010 at 8:44 am

You are making me so excited for my trip to Napa in the spring! I know it’s not Sonoma, but close enough :)

Reply

42 rebecca lustig November 9, 2010 at 9:12 am

i LOVE learning about food and wine pairings!!

so envious of your adventures in wine country, i’m dying to do a tour.

Reply

43 Sarah @ going on goals November 9, 2010 at 9:19 am

I love KJ! So jealous you got to visit the vineyard and do a wine tasting!

Reply

44 Danielle November 9, 2010 at 9:25 am

You guys really know how to LIVE!!

Reply

45 Sue November 9, 2010 at 9:32 am

I love KJ! I just went to their Heirloom Tomato Festival in September…..so glad you are having a wonderful time in SF and Sonoma. We are lucky to live here, there’s always so much to do (and eat!)….and I’m loving all of your pictures, makes me feel like it’s the weekend while I’m at work!

Reply

46 Claire (Low Impact Fashionista) November 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

Holy FOOD. Haha. I Love all your beautiful pictures of wine country- that new lens must be treating you well :)

Reply

47 Thealogian November 9, 2010 at 9:42 am

I rarely comment, but I just have to say: superb post! The photography, the observations of the tastes, smells and sensations and of course, the enviable day in Sonoma! Thank you for sharing, I have something to fantasize about doing one day soon myself now!

Reply

48 Felicia (a taste of health with balance) November 9, 2010 at 9:46 am

Definitely take advantage !! Greens and fruits will always be there (but I know exactly how you feel..) What a beautiful time to be in the wine country, enjoy every moment! It’ll be so nice to reflect back on the blog years from now :) Have fun!

Reply

49 alana (at) the food November 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

i really appreciate yours and matts zest for life!
keep on keepin on!

Reply

50 Lisa Fine - lisasfoods November 9, 2010 at 9:58 am

Absolutely stunning photography, and I’m so impressed by how well you remember everything you tried. (I imagine you had some menus to take with you, and getting a start at the brewery must have helped. I love the idea of getting work down in a brewpub.)

Enjoy Day 2! Can’t wait to read about it…

Reply

51 Nic November 9, 2010 at 9:59 am

What a beautiful day! Looks like your dream vacation!

Reply

52 Natalia - a side of simple November 9, 2010 at 10:07 am

Gorgeous photos! And I love you in purple, definitely a good color on you :)

Reply

53 MonsteRawr November 9, 2010 at 10:17 am

Lovely! And speaking of lovely, totally digging that sweater.

Reply

54 Joy November 9, 2010 at 10:20 am

Love, love, love all the pictures you take! It really gives us readers a sense of being there. Now if only we could taste all those treats as well, lol. Sonoma looks especially beautiful this time of year! Being a West Coast transplant on the East Coast, this post makes me pine for my dear ol’ California in the best way!

Reply

55 Jessica @ The Process of Healing November 9, 2010 at 10:35 am

Wow, what can you even say about a day like that?! You are one lucky lady!

Reply

56 Anne@MyZenPulse November 9, 2010 at 10:36 am

If you get a chance, next time you’re up in NOVA, try LaGrange Winery! We did a wine “tour” for my bachelorette party and it was by FAR the best. Their barrel rooms are beautiful and the house is open for touring, complete with beautiful parlors and sitting rooms with board games. (And they have WiFi, which made it hard to drag the husband out!) We went on a Friday around noon and it was so quiet and serene… and their tasting list is nearly 15 wines!

Reply

57 Allison K November 9, 2010 at 10:47 am

I need to turn my husband into a wine drinker, so that he would enjoy going to wine country with me!

Reply

58 sharon turner November 9, 2010 at 10:55 am

Hi
I am very new to blogging so i have been browsing the internet feverishly looking at many food blogs and I absolutely have enjoyed all your pictures as well as the rest of it!! KJ looks beautiful and I’m glad you are having a fabulous time and enjoying lots of great food and wine!!

Reply

59 Lu November 9, 2010 at 11:20 am

I’m so jealous! The wine looks great, but I’m loving the idea of eating cheese course after cheese course now that I’ve seen what you’ve had. Oooooh, and the panna cotta’s look divine. Congratulations on your second honeymoon!

Reply

60 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write November 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

Beautiful! Our honeymoon was in San Francisco, but we never made it up to wine country. Have so much fun!

Reply

61 Lindsey November 9, 2010 at 11:42 am

Happy anniversary! Don’t worry you’ll get plenty of greens when you go home, wine country’s guilty pleasures are meant to be fully enjoyed ;)

Reply

62 Camille November 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Oh my goodness, everything is just gorgeous!
I lived in California for 19 years and I never went to wine country (to be fair, I was under 21 the whole time). It is one of my goals to make it there someday!

Reply

63 Lisa @ early morning run November 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm

wow, the pictures are absolutely stunning! Sonoma is definitely on my short list of places to visit and now I’m really eager to go! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!

Reply

64 Kelli November 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm

If your husband wants to try anymore breweries look into trying Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa on 4th Street or Ale Works also downtown Santa Rosa. Lagunitas is also very close in Petaluma which is a short drive. I had no idea you were coming to Sonoma County, I hope your trip is going well!

Reply

65 Melissa @ For the Love of Health November 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm

wow- that looks like an AMAZING trip. My boyfriend and I are wine lovers so I must share this post with him! :-)

Reply

66 Lea @ Healthy Coconut November 9, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Kat, I like your blue top that’s 3/4 length sleeve. Is it from Banana Republic?

What a full day in Sonoma. I am taking notes for my next visit. Arista was recommended by a friend of mine too. Love all the scenic shots and the change of colors in the fields and wineries.

Reply

67 Amy K. @ onehealthypeanut November 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Whoa! What a beautiful day! All of the food and wine looked incredible! What a fabulous trip!!

Reply

68 Melissa November 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I am not a drinker, but this vacation looks peaceful, fabulous, romantic, and filling. Maybe I need to start drinking! ;)

Reply

69 Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess November 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I love Porter Creek! So glad you guys went there, and then told the world about it! All of their stuff is organic and biodynamic, and they grow some really interesting varietals.

Gorgeous photos!

Reply

70 Laura @ Backstage Pass November 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Yikes, a drug deal? Good thing you two are fast runners!
Happy Anniversary – looks like you guys are having a blast celebrating :-)

Reply

71 Dee November 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Aww, Happy Anniversary to you and Matt! It sounds and looks like you guys are having SUCH a good time! The food looks incredible!

Reply

72 Kiran November 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Happy Anniversary Kath & Matt :)
A great way to celebrate. Forget about greens and fruits… I am having it on your behalf ;)
Enjoy the foodie’s haven as much as you can! Everything looks so scrumptious!

Reply

73 rachel November 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Love your purple sweater, Kath! Can I ask where you got it?

Reply

74 Kath November 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Loft!

Reply

75 Rachael November 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I love wine tasting! You should plan a trip to Michigan wine country some time, the Traverse City (Leelanau County and Old Mission Peninsula) has many many wonderful wineries. It’s my happy place!

Reply

76 Michelle November 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I love Arista. We stayed in Healdsburg back in May and loved it. A yummy place to eat in Healdsburg is Willi’s Seafood.

Reply

77 Kim November 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Hi Kath!
Oh wow, what beautiful wineries! The wine and food looked sooooo delish! :)
Happy 3 year anniversary! Couldnt pick a more lovely way to spend it :)
Enjoy!!

ps, that blue top you are wearing is sooooooooo gorgeous! :)

Reply

78 Ananda November 9, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I love that you got to eat Niman Ranch meat on your trip. I’m in the middle of reading The Omnivore’s Delimma and Eating Animals right now…

Also, your recap of the Foodbuzz and the rest of the weekend has been so detailed and complete. Thank you. I’ve felt almost like I was along for part of it, while I sit here in Ohio… I’m sure it takes a ton of time and dedication. So thanks!

Reply

79 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Those wineries are so gorgeous! Sipping wine out in a gazebo sounds just about perfect. As does that pumpkin coconut soup. Yum!

Reply

80 Elyssa November 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Everything looks so good! You looked beautiful, too! Random question: where do you find your headbands? Yours are definitely not kids’ headbands, and those are the ones that I always seem to find!

Reply

81 Kath November 10, 2010 at 1:08 am

Those are Forever 21! I just pick up simple ones when I see ‘em on sale

Reply

82 Rachel R November 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm

All looks so delicious and beautiful. I love your purple shirt! so pretty :)

Reply

83 Char November 9, 2010 at 8:53 pm

You’re so beautiful. Beautiful photos too :)

xoxo

Reply

84 Wine Girl @ Kitchen Doesn't Travel November 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months. I love it! This is my first comment, though. My hubby and I took an anniversary trip to the Russian River Valley last year. We ate at Zazu while we were there and it was AMAZING! My only regret is being so full from all the other wonderful things I had been eating that I could barely finish my meal there. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Reply

85 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) May 8, 2011 at 5:34 am

thanks for relinking this post…not sure how i missed it but seriously, what an amazing trip you had…wow!

i love wineries, vineyards, tasting flights, and usually leave napa/sonoma with about 2 or 3 wine-of-the-month-club memberships. you know, where they happily mail you wine every month. :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Current day month ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: