You’re probably onto me- I have a bit of a love affair going on with wine tasting in Sonoma. If my first itinerary didn’t give me away, the second one likely did. Now sharing my third Sonoma wine tasting itinerary, I’m sure my secret is out. But really, can you blame me?? With more than 450 wineries in the region, beautiful country roads, coastline and idyllic vineyards, and only ~60 miles from San Francisco- what’s not to love? This trip, we’re focusing on perfect pairings. That’s right, we’re headed for food pairings! Come along with me to the charming community of Kenwood, for another blissful afternoon in Sonoma County.
Ty Caton Vineyards
The first stop on this Sonoma wine tasting itinerary, the tasting room at Ty Caton Vineyards. Set in an understated roadside center along the Sonoma Highway, family-owned Ty Caton is a great first stop for your day.
You’ll have the chance to choose five current releases, from nearly fifteen selections. If you’re lucky (like we were!), you may even have a chance to try a selection from the Caton Cabernet Collection. Our tasting of five wines turned out to be more like eight. One of the many reasons I love wine tasting in Sonoma, wineries are extremely generous and often will offer additional pours of whatever they have open. My favorite discovery from our visit was the 2015 Estate Knoll. Yum.
Grab a few balsamic, oil and mustard samples while you’re there. If you’re visiting from out of town, grab a couple small gifts for the road.
Spann Vineyards delivers on the food pairings I promised. You won’t hit any traffic on your trip from Ty Caton- it’s right next door. Literally. You will need a reservation for the pizza pairing, but they only need 24 hours advance notice so you can still make a relatively spontaneous trip to wine country. The first time TK and I stopped by for a visit, it was the end of the day so we weren’t able to try the pizza or chocolate pairings. This summer, we made it a point to go back for both! Let’s start with the pizza. Ideally, the pizza and wine pairing is best with four people (or more). So this is a good girls’ getaway or double date opportunity.
We were pleasantly surprised to have four whole pizzas paired with our wine, fresh from the wood fire oven across the courtyard. We enjoyed a veggie pizza, one with salmon, and two meat pizzas along with five or six tastes of wine. The day of our visit, the weather was perfect for lunch on the patio. Pizza, wine and sunshine… heavenly.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
If you somehow managed to save room for dessert on this trip, or if pizza isn’t your thing- the chocolate and wine pairing at Spann is calling your name! Full disclosure, we did the pizza tasting on a different day than the chocolate pairing. If you have the time and desire to do both in an afternoon, I’m sure you’d be welcome to.
With a flight of six wines and complementary tastes of chocolate, this pairing experience hit all the marks for me. A few standouts on the wine side were the Viognier and the Primitivo. Spann calls their Viognier ‘summertime in a glass’. That pretty much sums it up. And the Primitivo, similar to a spicy Zin- another winner. We had the chance to meet Peter, the winemaker, on both our trips. Kind and gracious, Peter seems to make it a point to stop by and visit with guests regularly, definitely another nice touch.
You may also be introduced to another bold wine selection during your visit to Spann…
S&M, anyone?? Relax, that’s Syrah and Malbec, fam. Nothing too risqué… except maybe that leather collar the bottle is wearing. Spann clearly has a sense of humor, I dig it.
Now, you could definitely end your day here. You may need a nap after all that wine, pizza and chocolate. If, however you haven’t had your fill, you can head back down the road to Jacuzzi Vineyards or Cline Cellars in Sonoma. Grab a chocolate shot at Jacuzzi or taste the Cashmere Black Magic at Cline. Not sure which to try? No worries, they’re directly across the street from each other- treat yourself to both!
Okay, that’s another fabulous afternoon of wine tasting in Sonoma, in the books. It’s been a great summer in wine country this year. If you missed it, no worries- wine country is gorgeous in the Fall too. Pizza, chocolate and wine are waiting; it would be rude not to go.
What other wineries have awesome food pairings I should add to my list?