72 Hour Getaway to Sonoma
California wine country is such a dream. Bryan and I started coming up from the South Bay a couple times a year, after moving back home to California in 2007. Since then we have learned a whole lot about wine, how it’s made and where the fruit grows. All these years later we have developed a really profound appreciation for the wines from this region, and it just so happens to be really close to home.
We started our drive from the South Bay, about 2 hours south of Sonoma, early Sunday morning. We drove through San Fransisco and stopped for coffee, took a walk and wandered a few picture perfect neighborhoods and visited the Golden Gate near Fort Point. It feels like whenever we come up to the city these days, we always have an agenda and it never allows us to just wander and discover. We took our time and didn’t cross the Golden Gate bridge out of SF until closer to 1pm. We hadn’t planned on it, but we ended up stopping at one of our favorite restaurants, Sol in San Rafeal. The timing was just right and we were literally driving right by it. Of course the line was insane so we did as the locals do and grabbed an order at the to-go spot right next door and ate our food on one of the many benches they have set up out front.
We arrived to Sonoma around 3pm and checked into the Dove Cottage. The cottage is a 2 bedroom/1 bath house, decorated and designed to make you slow down and relax. The soft color palette of whites, greys and mints definitely helped. Though this trip was meant just for us, we couldn’t help to think that the kids could have come along and stayed in the room setup with two sweet twin beds (that turn into queens when needed) and would have been in the pool before we could unpack the car. As soon as Bryan and I walked in and settled our luggage, we were instantly in vacation mode. We popped a bottle of red and began to plot our dinner plans for the evening. I hadn’t made any reservations for that night so we winged it (as we often do) and headed straight to the Sonoma Plaza. On the short 5 min drive into town I put in a call to Pangloss, a winery that was recommended to us by a small company called Bud and Belief. The founders are super knowlodgable about all things wine country and can help plan anything from making reservations and recommendations to extravagant tasting experiences. Lucky for us, Pangloss had a few last minute spots open in their lounge area where we could order flights or wines by the glass. We would start here and finalize dinner plans. Right next door there was a small restaurant called Oso, I remembered it from the list Brooke from Bud and Belief had sent me earlier that week. After a nice flight at Pangloss, we popped in to Oso for a table. They told us the wait would be over two hours. Yikes! We put our names down and then walked over to The girl and the fig for a cocktail and appetizer while we waited. The bar was jam packed but we only waited a few minutes for two stools to become available. We each had a cocktail from the menu and ordered olives and bread to snack on. When our table was ready at Oso, we walked back and got our table. We ordered two orders of beef braised short ribs, over polenta with braised carrots. I was so pleasantly surprised with the quality of service and food for the very budget friendly price point. I also appreciated the laid back hip vibe it had going. We’ll be back but will make sure to have a reservation in advance.
The next day we had a slow morning enjoying the cottage. We pulled back the curtains on the french doors that lead out onto the patio and watched the light dance in the bedroom. After prying ourselves out of the cozy bed, we headed to brunch at a new and off the beaten path food spot called, Box Car fried chicken. There is so much I could say about this place but simply put, go. Go while the secret is still kind of a secret. This place is going to be a big hit. The property itself is super cute and instagramable and the food is hearty and delicious. Perfectly fried chicken with a slew of southern sides and desserts. We ordered the chicken and waffles and the 2 burn sandwich with cheesy grits. At the end of the meal we piled into the photo booth near the door for a strip of vintage photos to remember our visit. Great meal right before a day of tasting.
We started at Anaba Wines, a small boutique and family owned winery and the first winery in Sonoma to run off wind power. There was a nice tasting room and a patio with outdoor seating with blankets and heaters. It was windy that morning, so we opted for an indoor tasting. Buck, our pourer, shared that they are building a new tasting room that will be opening this summer. He was able to share the designs with us and it’s going to be so beautiful when it’s finished. The wines here were very good. One stand out was the 2015 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, it wasn’t heavy and had just the right amount of fruit. We noticed a few families with small kids and also saw a dog in the tasting room, making this winery a great destination for anyone visiting Sonoma. Bryan and I are already planning a trip to come back when the new tasting room is open and their new pinots are released.
Our next tasting was at Auteur wines, another very small and boutique winery slightly off the beaten path. Their tasting room is located in a historic bungalow right near the plaza in the heart of Sonoma. At arrival we were greeted my Michelle, and led to a cozy corner where our tasting would take place. It was such a beautiful and intimate setting but in a casual and a make yourself at home way. Michelle was right there to answer any questions we had about the winery, the wines, and how they were made. Auteur, mostly produces Chardonnays and Pinots and I honestly loved every single one we tasted. They also make a rosé that they didn’t have open for tasting, but was highly rated. We felt so relaxed and tasted some really amazing wines here.
On Tuesday morning, as we were packing up and checking out of the cottage we received a special delivery I had requested from Sophie James Wine. A bottle of their rosé to take home with us as a memento from the trip. We can’t wait to share it together on our patio when the weather warms up. We drove home, beat rush hour traffic and had enough time for dinner and a movie at home with the kids.