This trip to Sonoma was filled with great food, phenomenal wine and quality family time. It was the latter two I got to concentrate on my final day.
We all enjoyed every moment of the Mayacama house in Santa Rosa that Inspirato has available to its members. The hot tub was especially popular with the kids. I was happy just soaking up the views and I explored the community a bit before we left.
I loved to watch the deer frolicking through the wooded areas before I checked out the tennis courts and swimming pool. There was still time to head to the very large country club. It was quite impressive inside and out, complete with a gym, spa and restaurants. There was even a concierge available for those unlike me who didn’t have all of their plans made for the stay.
Unfortunately, our time in Santa Rosa was running out. We were heading to one of my favorite wineries and I was excited about taking the family there. Michel-Schlumberger offers something for everyone and I knew my brother and his family would be especially interested in their green practices.
The always welcoming Jim Morris, Michel-Schlumberger’s Vice President of Marketing, took us around on a private tour. We stopped first at the bee hives, where he talked about the importance of their pollination. Next to the hive is the stream where local fifth graders helped bring in fingerlings from the dam to help rebuild the dried out creek.
The kids were also fascinated hearing about the Monarch Butterfly Waystation and the importation of owls to help keep the gophers away. (The geese, ducks, chickens and bass in the lake are more than welcome to call this winery home, however.)
We went past the various pepper and onion plants in the “Salsa Garden” to the top of the vineyard. The rolling hills were even more beautiful than I had remembered as we looked out at the 100 acres of land, 87 of which are planted with 16 varieties of grapes.
In the reds, not to be missed at Michel-Schlumberger is the 2009 La Source Syrah, with a bit of viognier to keep it from being as dry and spicey as most, and the 2009 Zinfandel, a fruity blend with a hint of black pepper, yet retaining its light body. I also enjoyed the 2007 Le Sage Merlot, blended with malbec and cabernet franc, with fruit in the front and spice behind.
I’d like to take a moment to wish my readers a very happy new year. It’s been quite a year for me, from Australia to California, and many places in between. It looks like 2012 is going to be just as exciting. I’ll be starting my stories in the new year with a new hotel in Chicago, my first beer (you’ll have to keep reading to find out about that one), a trip to the island of St. Maarten and a visit to a ski resort in the Sierra Madre Mountains. I’m also planning a few overseas trips in the new year and, of course, lots of wine and spirits!
I leave you with my favorite photo of 2011, from Kangaroo Island, Australia, where I got to sit right next to these frolicking sea lions.