A few weeks ago I wrote about a negative experience my friends and I had at J Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg. The short story is that we were part of a Wine Club special event tasting where employees were uneducated about the wines and food pairings, they lacked attention to detail and their guests and the “sparkling only” wine shipment was overpriced and handed to me not with pride but apologetically.
A few days after sharing that experience I was contacted over Twitter and the phone by Carolyne, a representative of the winery. We talked at length about what happened, what should have happened and what will happen in the future. Carolyne was kind to listen, apologize and provide me with the confidence that myself and others will not be dealt the same poor service ever again at their tasting room. Continue reading →
I tweeted earlier in the week that Kayla, Marris and I had a dreadful wine tasting at J Vineyards in Healdsburg. J Vineyards responded on Twitter requesting I direct message them my story so they could make it right. I told them I’d put it together here and so I have. A direct message, while definitely tidier for J, would never allow me to fully explain my disappointment. Here goes:
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably know about the never-ending renovation I’ve been doing on my house in wine country. I find myself going up north to meet with a contractor or furniture delivery person at least once a month. While this might be annoying to some, and it is to me, the best part of these trips is getting to see Kayla.
It’s a rare event that Kayla and I are in the same zip code and don’t do some sort of wine tasting. So on this trip to Sonoma County, she and I decided to hit up J Vineyards for a quick tasting and pick up my wine club shipment. Marris was in town and joined in on the adventure. But before we go there, let’s learn a bit about the winery and my history visiting them. Continue reading →
Sunday greeted Ryan and me with some of the most beautiful weather we’ve seen in a while. It also gave us an entire day hanging out with Kayla in the wine valley, checking out wineries, tasting a dozen or so bottles and buying a few as well.
My best girl, Kayla, planned a sensational day in the wine valley for the two of us when I was in California back in September. We hit up six (?) wineries for tastings and were driven from one vineyard to the next in a limousine. How fancy huh? Thanks to Kayla for setting that up, it was an amazing trip through the valley. Every time she sets one of these things up she totally eclipses her previous efforts.
These are the wineries we went to and that I still remember. We had quite a wine between the two of us so my memory of the trip is a bit fuzzy… 😛
I went on this day trip intending to purchase a bottle or two, at most. I ended up buying nearly a case and a half. Add this to the wine I bought at the wine tasting in San Francisco… It wasn’t long before I was swimming in wine!
Our first winery was Seghesio, where Kayla works. I love visiting this place. If you have never been, you must put it at the top of your To Do list. The vineyard has been family owned since 1895 and it shows. Their wines are carefully crafted into some of the best Zins in the state. Their food and wine pairing are legendary and the parties they host are the envy of just about every winery. At least, that’s what I was told from just about every other winery we visited that found out Kayla worked at Seghesio.
Our next stop was Moshin Vineyards where a charming Scotswoman gave us a taste of some of their wines. There we enjoyed some Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and some fun Zins.
Amista and Preston Vineyards were both awesome. Amista’s wines tasted perfect. It felt like they had an equation for each of their wines, mechanically perfect. It was there that I had the first Chardonnay that I really loved. Of all the wines I’ve had, I’ve never had a Chardonnay good enough that I felt compelled to buy it. Of course I also haven’t had that many Chardonnays…
Preston’s wines are organic, clean, crisp and pleasing. The winery is also an organic farm with fresh produce, organically raised hens and sheep. Their extra virgin olive oil is awesome and I’ve hear they have equally as tasty cheeses? Next time!
Kayla’s boyfriend Matt gave us a tour through some of their wines prior to our wandering of the grounds. I don’t think I got out of there with less than five bottles of their wine haha. Almost all were whites, seems I was in a mood for white wine that day.
Next up was a surprise. Jordan Vineyards, easily the most beautiful winery we visited this trip. There Kayla and I joined a few others in a wine and food pairing. Once again, great wine and a wonderful guide through the tasting and history of the winery.
The tasting ended with a taste of a dessert wine that was pretty damn awesome. It was a bit out of my price range but seemed like a bargain at around $50.
Every winery Kayla chose was awesome. Not a single hiccup or disappointing wine. The entire trip through the valley was just about perfect.
Well, that is until we took on the task of kicking out the squatter living in my house out in Forestville. That is an entirely different blog post though.
The drive back to San Francisco gave me time to contemplate the day’s events. I thought about my friendship with Kayla. I thought of the early morning drives into Santa Rosa to open Starbucks or go to class. I thought about the house Seth and I lived in with the creaky wood floors and obnoxiously fertile fig tree in the back yard. I remembered the parties, the coffee shops, the podcast with Callie and how much I missed all of that.
It became clear to me on that long drive south into San Francisco that a change soon needed to be made.
Holy cow. I had a ton of friends with birthdays yesterday. It seems like people that had birthdays yesterday are just really awesome friends. Kohl, Patrick and of course, Karen in particular.
Karen (@ok2baprincess), it turns out, is super popular. Nicole, who set this whole deal up, had something like 30 people at Sycamore’s for her birthday dinner. How she got everyone together from such different circles, who really knows.
The wait at Sycamore was pretty intense, but a few of us decided a bottle of wine would fix that.
Oh, and for this post, just click the little pictures to see them larger. Didn’t want to make the page super slow to load. Also, you can click the right side of any picture to go to the next one.
After our delicious dinner, we headed over to Top Ten Wines for a few glasses and some ping pong. Just about our entire troupe of people made the voyage. We totally took over that place haha.
Oh, and the wine was amazing.
Uh oh, now I’ve gone into a rant…
I don’t understand how people can NOT just love a good wine. Here in Missouri, many people don’t know what a good wine is. There are several Missouri wineries but most make crap wine, in my opinion.
Those who think they are connaisseurs of wine out here TYPICALLY think Yellow Tail is a top notch wine and Korbel, or worse, André are fabulous champanges, don’t even try to explain sparkling wine to them.
I’m not hating on Missourians, just leading up to how incredibly happy I am that most of my friends aren’t these people, especially those I was with last night. And even if you do love André and even Riverboat Red, that’s totally fine. I’m glad that you like those wines. Just saying, I don’t and can’t stand when people compare their $8.00 bottle of Hahn Estates’ Cycles Gladiator to my Seghesio.
See it isn’t about the price so much, there are awesome bottles of economical wine. Just do the research. A bottle of Seghesio costs you under $25 and will mop the floor with that stupid Hahn Estates’ Cycles Gladiator that my father’s side of the family is so obsessed with right now.
Where the hell did that come from? Back to the festivities. So we played some ping pong and drank our wine, had our conversation. Awesome time.
Time for some more pictures!
After Top Ten, we broke up a bit, some went for karaoke while others headed home. Of course, @bigred77 @ericcox and @turtis couldn’t help but model for the camera as we walked to our cars haha. I love those tweeple!
The night was so much fun. We talked about changing out Sunday mornings around a bit too. Very excited about that, oh and Cake and a Movie night. The next one is tomorrow, Monday night! I need movie and cake suggestions.