Sunday, May 29, 2011


I've only been back from Europe for about a week and a half and it's already another exciting event... my birthday!! It's been one of those extend-o-birthdays, I've been celebrating for a few evenings in a row. Thurs night we went out to see Pirates 4 which was awesome.

Friday, Frank and Jess came over and we made some excellent food, watched October Sky (which was fantastic), and Frank busted out his Texan skills by making the best steaks ever, while Jess made some epic grilled garlic (and we ate a TON of it).

My actual birthday was yesterday (Saturday), and we met up with Alex and Heidi and drove up to Sonoma/Healdsburg area for some great wine tasting and fun up in wine country. Rachel and Justin met us up there too, and we went to a few different wineries. We started at J Winery, which had some nice sparkling choices. Their setup was a little touristy and very busy, but once we secured a good spot on the tasting table we chatted for a bit and tried a variety of interesting stuff. They did a few dodgy things like making you pay for your tasting before you got into the building, even though it was raining!! Silly. :) It was fun though nonetheless.

After J Winery, we headed to Dry Creek General Store to get some fantastic sandwiches. They were very busy because it had gotten a little chilly and rainy for a bit, and people were retreating to warm locations! I got an Italian 3-cheese grilled panini and it was really fantastic. You could see why it was so popular, the food was awesome.

After lunch, we headed to Ferrari-Carano where we were given some truly exceptional service. They had a really chill tasting room downstairs with some funky chandeliers and a really nice feel to it. Our server was hilarious and told us some stories about the wine, and gave us a bunch of free tastings because it was my birthday. It was a really nice, welcoming atmosphere and the wines were also very nice. I ended up getting a bottle of the Eldorado Gold which is a sweet dessert wine and is SO good. This was such a nice winery, great feel to it, and beautiful gardens as well. Awesome times.

For our last stop, we headed to the newly-renovated Francis Ford Copolla winery in Geyserville. They have a brand new pool deck area which we immediately made plans to return to at a later/warmer date. :) They were quite bustling as well, but they very quickly ushered us along to our own little quieter section of the tasting area and busted out a bazillion choices of wine for us to taste. They hooked us up with some great discounts too and the guy who was pouring for us was very knowledgeable about all the different choices. We tried a bunch of reds, whites, a tasty port, some semillion dessert wine, etc etc! It was awesome. Their building and grounds were incredible too, and I loved all of the cool movie props they had in there. There were props from Apocalypse Now and Bram Stoker's Dracula, as well as the actual desk from The Godfather!!!! Wow. They had some Oscars and Golden Globes there too, and the actual envelope from the Oscars when The Godfather won. Very cool!!

We then headed back to the city after an amazing day of wine tasting and adventure. I had a chill evening, talked to Mom and Dad and relaxed after a busy and super fun day with my friends. Good times.

Humboldt Fog cheese and olives
Frank's epic steak and grilled onions
Grilled garlic
Cheesecake, Mousse and Chocolate Cake from Chestnut Bakery
J Winery, quite busy but nice decorations
Me and Heidi during breakfast champagne
Cellars at Ferrari-Carano
Frank and Jess enjoying the reserve tasting room at Ferrari-Carano, amazing place!!!
Good times!!!
Justin and I discussing the finer points of drinking wine in the mid-day
Birthday boy
Touching the pig's nose for good luck
And then the sun came out and an awesome rainbow at Francis Ford Copolla winery
Sweet wine holder
Here's the haul for the day: Late Harvest Semillion from Francis Copolla (dessert wine), Copolla Moscato (very sweet, Rachel: "It tastes like candy"), Francis Copolla Director's Cut "Cinema" blend (mostly Zinfindel/Cab blend, smooth and not too bitey), and Ferrari-Carano Eldorado Gold dessert wine

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