We got off the plan to rain and mid-50s, but that didn't stop us. At least it wasn't the gale force winds, rain and 40s with snowflakes mixed in that we had left in MN. First thing we did when we got in our rental was plug in the GPS and type in the address for our first destination, Seghesio Family Vinyards. It was an almost 2 hour drive there, but we finally arrived and the fun began. We weren't nearly as impressed as we thought we'd be with that place based on the recommendations. However, we didn't let that stop us. We headed down to the Russian River Valley and were quickly wooed by the beauty of the tree tops that umbrellaed the winding roads with the changing fall colors of the vines of the wineries in between.
On our way to Gary Ferrell winery we happened upon Hop Kiln winery. Before they began making wine this place was an old hop kiln, where hops were processed for the production of beer. There wasn't a wine there that we tried that we didn't like. From there we drove a short way down the road to Gary Farrell. Up the long and winding drive to a breathtaking view, where we could sit and sip wine and watch the clouds pass through the hilltops all day long. Being the designated driver, John decided to skip the tasting here, but Michelle indulged and was most pleasantly suprised by the Chardonnay. It was rich and smooth with a nice butterscotch finish. While it would have been nice to stay all day, most of the wineries were only open until 5 p.m. so we had to move on.
Next stop was Korbel winery. There we enjoyed a nice change of pace with the tasting of some great bubbly. We also found out that Korbel is now allowed to officially be called champagne due to some sort of grandfathering rule. So, instead of sparkling wine it's now called California Champagne. After 5 different taste tests we settled on a nice bottle of Korbel Sec that we fully intend to use for a nice memosa breakfast during our stay.
The last stop was Martinelli Winery. Like Hop Kiln, this was an old hops processing building. It was close to 5 p.m. so we were a bit rushed to taste a few selections and found their Pinot Noir to be very good.