Trip to Kenwood
We continued on our search for new wineries by going to Kenwood, CA over the weekend. Driving down route 121 was beautiful! This country road had many vineyards, sparkling with glitter strips to keep the birds away. We even saw a sign that said “Welcome to Real wine country.”
We used our Sonoma Passport again to help narrow down where to go. (http://sonomapassport.com/) This trip will be more focused on vineyards since we are still in the harvest season.
Our first stop was Kenwood Vineyards, (http://kenwoodvineyards.com/mobile/) which is located just outside Jack London State Park. This vineyard was pretty big but the tasting room was tucked in the back and seemed removed from the vineyard. Kenwood Vineyard had a few different lines of wine, including the Jack London estate vineyards, Yalupa restaurant blends, The Artist Series, featuring famous art on the labels, along with a few reserve wines. Sam guided us through a handful of the wines, letting us try something from each line. We chose to take home a bottle of the Russian River Pinot noir, for a future Wine And Cheese Friday.
A couple buildings down the road was VJB Vineyards and Cellars, our next stop. (http://www.vjbcellars.com/) This place was super Italian! We entered a piazza, with tables and guys singing and were guided to the deli counter across the way for lunch. I can never pass up fresh mozzarella and prosciutto so my lunch choice was easy. Neil had the half rack of ribs. Both were delicious.
For this wine tasting, all the wines used Italian grapes. Some were grown right on their property while others came from Mendocino County. I was excited to try these wines because I’ve only tasted a few Italian wines, despite my heritage. We tasted an Aleatico Rose, a Tokai Fruilano, Sangiovese, Barbera, Montepulciano, a Super Tuscan blend and a Nero d’Avola, ending with a Cabernet. It was a great chance to try all these new varietals but unfortunately we didn’t really like them. Great atmosphere at this place though, I’d love to bring my family here.
Another great reason to visit VJB is for their refillable wine. For $22 you receive a reusable wine bottle that only cost $ 12 to fill with their house blend. Sounds like a great idea!
We finished out the day tasting at Ty Caton. (http://www.tycaton.com/) Although the vineyard was not on site, there was a poster showing all the different sections in the Mayacamas Mountains. Greg pointed out these areas throughout the tasting which really helped us feel like we were there. They specialize in big bold reds, which usually are too much for me, but I guess I had enough wine that day to be okay with it. It was kind of a strange wine tasting because all of my wines started out pretty tannic but then were really smooth. I tried a Syrah, Petite Syrah and Petite Verdot and really liked them. Neil had a few Cabernets from different microclimates and some blends. We’ve been on the hunt for a Port to have during Wine and Cheese Friday and found one here.
After all our wine tasting we decided we needed a little snack. We found a Mexican market that had just opened and enjoyed some fresh-cut Carne Asada. Very tasty! We hadn’t quite had our fill of vineyards for the day so we took a side road to see some grapes and the mountains. The scenery was so beautiful and we couldn’t believe all the open space. Then it was back to the city, but a very easy drive, only about an hour.