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Scenic Sonoma is a Wine Country Lover's Delight

Teresa Giavanzana

Photo Credit: Teresa Giavanzana

Sonoma is a wine country lover’s delight: It has ambience, idyllic scenery and sumptuous bounty from surrounding farms and wineries. Sonoma is the perfect spot for a getaway. Make it a point to stop at the gems just on the outskirts of town you’ve probably passed by on prior visits – like CornerStone Sonoma and the Eighth Street Wineries.

STAY

Situated on the historic Plaza, The Ledson Hotel is a show stopper. Family owned and built, each guest room is named for a Ledson member. We stayed in the Winslow room, a man who continued the family dedication to farming and the dairy business. Sumptuous interiors and personalized service are de rigeur in this luxe hotel. Find extraordinary attention to details such as in the ornate wainscoting and moldings, rich silk fabrics, crystal chandeliers, marble countertops and inlaid floors. Each room also boasts a fireplace, private patio, Jacuzzi tub and complimentary Internet access.

In the morning, have continental breakfast in The Zina Lounge, the hotel’s restaurant and tasting room. 

MacArthur Place, a historic inn and spa transformed from a 19th century estate, is located a few blocks from the Plaza. It sits on seven acres of verdant gardens dotted with fountains and interesting sculpture. Many of the individually designed rooms and suites include a private deck, fireplace, high tech connections and an exclusive line of grape seed bath amenities. Guests are served wine and cheese each afternoon in the library and a sumptuous buffet breakfast. 

Bo Links
Photo Credit: Bo Links

SHOP & PLAY

Stop just south of town at CornerStone Sonoma. This burgeoning location is becoming a mecca for food (see Park 121 in EAT), wine and shopping. Its prolific gardens (by international architects and designers) have been an attraction for some time. With more produce now grown for Sunset magazine’s Test Kitchen, the location is on the map. It also features chic fashion, home/garden furnishings and accessories shops.

After a strenuous day, the Garden Spa at MacArthur Place is a welcome retreat. It develops its services based on the fruits, flowers and herbs from their garden. After you’ve been revived, lounge poolside.

Bo Links
Photo Credit: Bo Links

DRINK

The family-owned Poseidon Vineyard and Obsidian Ridge bring together Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Mayacamas Mountains in their spacious tasting room and outdoor seating area overlooking the Cornerstone scene. Try the 2013 Poseidon “The Bench” Pinot Noir and the 2011 Obsidian Ridge “Half Mile” Proprietary Red. 

Across the courtyard, Meadowcroft also offers outside seating to sample their 2014s: Syrah and Cru Malbec among others.

East of town, a fun stop is at Eighth Street Wineries. Tin Barn Vineyards is one of the more active members there with a tasting room open year round in their warehouse that is also home to the cellar. With a focus on single vineyard Sonoma wines, don’t miss the 2013 Sonoma Coast Syrah and the 2014 Russian River Zinfandel. 

Just across Eighth Street, we stopped in at Prohibition Spirits. Fred Groth is the creative distiller behind several artisan brands including HelloCello liqueurs, Hooker House whiskey, bourbon and rye, Chauvet brandy and Sugar Daddy rums. You'll love the ambience and the tasting experience.

Bo Links
Photo Credit: Bo Links

Situated in the heart of the Sonoma Valley AVA, Sonoma’s Plaza is filled with tasting rooms. A favorite is Highway 12. Sharing space with a decorative home store, the tasting room is a mellow spot to enjoy the 2013 Highway 12 Sonoma Red and 2013 Carneros Highway Pinot Noir.

Bo Links
Photo Credit: Bo Links

EAT

Park 121 at Cornerstone Gardens is part café, grill and market. It’s spacious with a rustic design warmed by wood panels and sculpture. At the bar, get a bird’s eye view of the entire space. Open from mid-morning till late afternoon, the menu combines small plates, antipasti, salads, sandwiches and savory empanadas.

Start with flavorful shrimp and vegetable rice paper rolls dipped in rice wine and cucumber sauce. Next, have the Liberty duck confit and asparagus salad and the 12 hour BBQ brisket sandwich. A dry rub is used on the brisket and smoked with western oak. The result is delicious: served with pickled jalapeños, Napa slaw and barbeque sauce on a brioche bun. Pair the meal with the local 2007 McKenzie-Mueller Malbec. 

Bo Links
Photo Credit: Bo Links

Situated on a prime corner across from Sonoma Plaza, El Dorado Kitchen is a haven for good food with a sustainable focus. The food is impeccably prepared and beautifully served.  Bustling with locals and tourists alike, El Dorado’s passion for all things Sonoma is clear. Open kitchen and dining area, communal table and lamp lit tables enhance the interior.

Indulge in the foie gras tourchon, served with luscious Mexican chocolate and huckleberry marmalade. The seafood paella is a wonderful mix of chorizo, prawns, scallops, mussels, salmon and saffron rice that is perfectly cooked with a little crunchiness on the bottom. Pair it with the 2012 Anaba Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Desserts are irresistible like the chocolate crunch cake with salted caramel ice cream. 

Patty Burness

I travel the world as a culinary and wine tourism specialist and bring the best of a destination up close and personal to readers. ...(Read More)

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