I heart Sonoma (and Scooby)

A lot has happened in the last month that I’m behind on writing about. . . from the fun adventure of the Texas Independence Relay with an amazing group of people to my 11th wedding anniversary and recent trip to Sonoma.

Beautiful view of Sonoma Valley

Beautiful view of Sonoma Valley

It’s no secret that Sonoma is one of my favorite places.  We have been fortunate to go twice in the last 6 months.  This time, we stayed in the town of Sonoma, rather than out in the country, a completely different feel.  With it’s laidback style, beautiful weather, great wine and food, it was a good place to wind down for a few days and celebrate anniversaries and a belated birthday with our friends, the Crouchy’s.

Crouchy's and Scoob @ Artesa

Crouchy's and Scoob @ Artesa

Twelve years earlier Scott proposed in St. Helena in Napa, so our love of the California wine country goes back a few years.  He surprised me with resetting my wedding ring, which is updated and beautiful, but at the same, still true to the original. 

The first morning there, I enjoyed a solo, peaceful 10-miler on a cool morning pre-dawn, which rewarded me with a beautiful sunrise over the valley with rows of vines, wildflowers and rolling hills.  At one point I counted 9 hot air balloons floating in the sky, a truly peaceful sight.  I ran through the country, the town and a few neighborhoods enjoying everything from historic buildings from the late 1800’s, cottages and Victorians to 80s brick and modern houses.  There’s something about seeing a place by foot that can’t be captured when touring in a car.  After sharing that experience, I was able to get Marykay and Scooby out for runs as well.

Our days were spent cruising a new set of wineries enjoying Artesa, Viansa, Gloria Ferrer, Ledsen, Imagery and Porter Creek.  My faves were Artesa, Imagery and Porter Creek, although I found a combo of brie & fig that made our wine from Gloria Ferrer taste like honey nectar.  It was actually an inexpensive find I wish we’d bought more of!

We bought a few bottles. : )

We bought a few bottles. : )

One of my fave moments on this anniversary get-away was actually without our hubbies.  Marykay and I had a private wine and chocolate pairing at Artesa and it was a highlight of the trip.  Artesa is a beautiful place with a cool, modern design, that is built into the top of a hill.  From a distance you can hardly make it out with it’s living roof, but once there, it is beautifully designed with natural light flowing in, sculptures and art throughout and a sweeping view.  Our guide, Lynn, met us at the door with cava, toured us through the bottling operation and barrel room.  Gregorian chant filled the cool air and we learned that the monks lived near the Spanish owners’ original winery and that they felt it helped the wine develop.  She also explained that some wine is lost due to evaporation, which they call the “Angel’s share” of the wine.  It was a real treat.

Wine & Chocolate pairing.  Yum.

Wine & Chocolate pairing. Yum.

At the end of each day, the four of us would relax on our expansive balcony patio at the Eldorado with more wine and cheese overlooking the town square before heading out to dinner.  The Girl and the Fig lived up to its reputation with a fantastic meal, several interesting cocktails.sonoma-2009-110

But in the end, I was reminded of why I’m married to Scooby.  He reminds me to stop and smell the roses (actually California Poppies) . . . or actually the hints of berries, spice, vanilla, smoke, leather, chocolate, white pepper, nutmeg, earth, oak, tobacco, clove, etc. in the nose of a good, red wine.

California Poppies

California Poppies

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