The Sonoma House at Patz & Hall 21200 Eighth St. East, (707) 265-7700. Wine tasting daily; fee.
Situated in Napa for 25 years, this winery moved to Sonoma in 2014. The new winery buildings are on the outskirts of town surrounded by baby vineyards and feature striking views of the Mayacamas Mountains to the east. The winemakers make just two varietals--Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
An hour-long salon tasting ($50; W-Sun at 10:30, 1, 3:30; appointment required) includes six wines paired with tiny bowls of food enhancements. It begins in the super-modern, clean-lined tasting room appointed with leather couches and fireplace, where participants are given a little something to punch the palate—a sparkling wine with a hint of apple. Then everyone moves into the salon, where they are seated at a table covered with wine glasses for the guided tasting. During my tasting I learned that Patz & Hall ages all its wines in French oak, which are used for only 3 years and not shaved and this is what gives the wines a luscious smooth finish. My tasting was a lot of fun, with plenty of chatter and bantering from the knowledgeable participants. You can optionally do a regular tasting of four wines ($25; daily; appointment not necessary). Wines are available only at the winery and through their wine club.
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers