Concierge Fam. Tour: January 2011
Twice a year Wine Road, working with Rick Spear from Blue Heron Custom Tours & Travel, brings up five concierges from San Francisco to show them what their guests can expect when they visit us, The Road Less Traveled (sorry Robert Frost)- Heaven Condensed, 180 Wineries clustered in a 30 mile radius. We aim to show our group what the regular, “average” visitor can encounter- ALL are VIP’s along the Wine Road!
Our fist stop is at Mauritson Wines where we are greeted with not only staff and family, but great dogs.
We taste the Mauritson portfolio of wines hosted by Clay and Mandy right in the cellar- in addition to such by-appointment amenities, Mauritson also offers picnic and tour options out in their Rockpile estate, as well as a daily self-guided tour always available steps from the TR and daily tastings in the classy TR space. Clay talks about Rockpile AVA, the amount of vineyard land his family lost there to eminent domain, the influences of Lake Sonoma on the climate of that small AVA, characteristics of the soil and temperatures, elevation as well as differences between Rockpile and Dry Creek AVA’s. Very interesting to hear that the Dry Creek, running year round now, has affected the vineyards near it as the water is cold- 52 degrees when it is released from Lake Sonoma- each step of man has it would seem, often unforeseen consequences.
Our next stop is The Dry Creek General Store. We want to show our group a spot where locals can meet with visitors over a great sandwich and relax on the spacious, old-fashioned front porch and just drink in the Valley.
Moments later, back in Healdsburg, we stop at Bovolo for lunch. Owned by Duskie Estes, recent contender on Iron Chef, and John Stewart, the restaurant pioneers the idea of “slow food…fast”; the couple also owns the popular Zazu in Santa Rosa. Sharing space with the great indie bookseller Copperfield’s Books, Bovolo has you order at a central counter and then brings the food to you at the table that you have chosen. Amazingly for January, the day is glorious and we choose to sit outside on the back patio.
We next have an hour or so of Downtown Healdsburg Plaza Scatter- concierges unleashed! Rick and I head over to check out the new TR for Roadhouse in the former Rosenblum Cellars location. Our concierges headed out for some sweets at Powell’s and the Downtown Bakery followed by shopping- noted that Healdsburg is unusual in being able to support two Indie booksellers- Levin & Co. is the other.
Our next and final stop is Mueller Wine, home to Russian River pinot noir, zin, chardonnay and syrah- Amazing! Hands-on discussion with Lori and Bob about their whole operation- from top to bottom. Both are very open to questions and comments and obviously love what they do and enjoy educating and sharing with guests. Our group really warms up to the comfortable, homey atmosphere here. We end with Valentine chocolates paired with their TR only LH zin- all leave happy.
Here’s looking at you, kids.