Sonoma County Adventures – Day Five


Today we were planning to investigate a few of the more lavish looking facilities in Sonoma County.  I was interesting in checking out Chateau St. Jean and Ledson Winery.  Both of these are grand homes that were turned toward the business side of wine.


Chateau St Jean was originally built as a summer home in 1920.  when the current owners purchased it and the land surrounding it in 1973 they restored the chateau to its original glory, used primarily for reserved tasting and special occasions.

We decided to try some of the wines here . .

2016 Pinot Gris – Beautiful floral and citrus nose, crisp and slightly tart.  A very nice balance.

2013 Dry Creek Merlot – Plums and blackberries on the nose.  Smooth mid with a dry lingering finish.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley – 90 pts on Wine Spectator – Nice red fruit nose including cherry and blackberry.  Silky smooth mid that finishes dry and clean.

2013 8555 Sonoma County Blend – (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc, Syrah) . .Big juicy nose, velvety smooth mid but dries right out . . finish is non-existent.

2013 Cinq Cepages – Beautiful nose, silky mid and finishes subtly dry.


Ledson Winery is a gorgeous former home turned tasting room, executive offices and retail space.  A remarkable structure known as The Castle.  I would strongly encourage you to watch the videos of the castle and the story surrounding Ledson Winery.

We decided not to sample any wines here, rather just to enjoy the grandeur of the facility.

Our next stop is one I was really looking forward to seeing . . .St Francis Winery.


A dear friend (Kelly Hale) discovered and subsequently introduced me to St Francis Old Vine Zinfandel.  She got it for a good price and it was delicious.  What more is there?  So, of course, we had to go and see what else there was to be tasted and enjoyed.  The answer is. . . A LOT.  Here is our journey . . .

2016 Sauvignon Blanc – Crisp grapefruit and nectarines on the nose.  It was amazingly both creamy and tart and exceedingly refreshing.

2016 Rose’  –  A tantalizing blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Chardonnay – It had a light aroma, mostly of strawberries.  Flavors were delicate and tart.

2013 Merlot-Behler Vineyard – Marvelous nose, loaded with dark delectable fruit aromas and a silky smooth mid palate and finishes a touch dry.

2014 Malbec-Wild Oak Vineyard – Mild nose on this one, a bit earthy . .mushrooms etc.  Silky mid, good fruit all the way through and slightly dry finish.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon-Moon Mountain – Like blackberry jam in a glass.  Delicious dark fruit and silky mid with a moderately dry finish.

**2015 Pinot Noir-Sonoma Coast – Beautiful nose of bright dark fruits and baking spice.  Consistently silky mid palate and medium body.  An excellently balanced wine with a very pleasing long finish.  This one is going home.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon-Lago Marsino – Lighter nose than the previous Cab, and still silky.  Also a great texture with a slightly dry finish.

2014 Zinfandel-Giovanetti – Really different aromas on this one. . .quite earthy with hints of lavender and sage brush.  Silky mid and nice spice with a great finish.

2014 Old Vine Zinfandel – The one that drew me here.  CLASSIC . . .Great dark fruit on the nose, smooth slightly dry mid and finishes mildly dry.

**2014 Claret – Traditional bordeaux blend of Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon . . . Excellent nose, loaded with bright dark fruit that carries through all the way.  Superb from start to finish. . .Taking 2 of these home.

2015 Pinot Noir-Sonoma County – Nice fruit on the nose, a bit of earth also.  silky mid and a smooth, slightly spicy finish.  Distinctly different from the Sonoma Coast blend.

I was NOT disappointed.  A magnificent stop on our adventure.  With so many great wines to choose from . . . I decided to go with what really piqued my interest the most, but I think I would have been happy with any or all of them.


Kendall-Jackson Winery is a huge name in the wine industry . . . and they are almost right next to our resort, so we had to stop.  Beautiful grounds and a stately tasting room greeted us.

2016 Rose’-Grand Reserve –A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Pinot Noir.  A quite floral nose, aromas of roses and oranges, though I got strawberry flavors in the crisp mid palate.  A clean, refreshing and slightly tart opening round.

2014 Jackson Estate-Santa Maria Chardonnay – A very different Chardonnay.  I got honey, peaches and a hint of citrus on the nose.  A very creamy mid with flavors of buttered biscuits and vanilla.  Quite an adventure in one taste.

*2015 Grand Reserve Chardonnay – Meyer lemons and a hint of lime on the nose.  Silky mid and superb texture.  also a really nice finish.  Taking this one home, my wife’s choice this time.

2015 Jackson Estate-Camelot Highlands Chardonnay – Pineapple and mango on the nose.  Silky mid palate.  I got a sort of vanilla creme cookie flavor and a great finish.

2014 Grand Reserve Pinot Noir-Monterey and Santa Barbera County – A mild nose, slightly earthy . .almost like a campfire.  The flavors gave me berry pie and a bit of baking spice.  A Warm silky mid and a slightly spicy finish.

2015 Jackson Estate-Seco Highlands Pinot Noir – Nose of red berries and a hint of black.  Satiny mid with great fruit and texture,  it has a lot going on.

2012 Grand Reserve-Red Meritage – Mild nose with good fruit on initial taste.  Solid texture and flavors with a nice even finish.

2014 Jackson Estate-Taylor Peak Merlot – A subdued nose, though I did get a hint of dark berries.  Smooth mid but not as fruit forward as I had hoped.

2013 Jackson Estate-Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Robust dark fruit on the nose.  But, it was hiding a secret.  The nicely smooth initial texture finished immediately very dry.  Like falling off a cliff.

2013 Jackson Estate-Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – Moderate fruit on the nose and solid smooth mid texture, but quite tannic/astringent.  Not for me.


Overall, Day Five has been quite a great time.  We got to see some beautiful landscapes and architecture as well as wet our whistles a few times with some pretty great wines.  All in all, a great day.




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