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Wine Country

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by ken2v, Dec 18, 2006.

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  1. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
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    Location:
    Central California Coast

    My Trip Report

    Though I once resided in Sonoma County, it had been 20 years since I last visited wine country, and nearly that long for T. So we took care of that oversight last week. Here's a snapshot:


    Bunks: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, Villagio Inn and Spa, Silverado Resort. Silverado’s day in the sun is behind it, but having a condo for accomms does still have advantages. Toss up for us ‘tween the other two as most enjoyable. We loved Yountville so Villagio gets points for that, but at the getaway level the Fairmont pushes up just ‘neath the uppermost handful of resorts we’ve experienced here or abroad. Without slighting any of the other attributes, it’s really all about the service, and I think Fairmont’s on a level with Four Seasons in that capacity.



    Golf: Sonoma Golf Club, Eagle Vines, Silverado North. Sonoma’s a classic-era gem. I played it at 6600 yards and given the temp and rain, it felt like 7600, and I enjoyed every bit. Blind shots, greens apropos to the type of hole, variable-width fairways and doglegging can go as far as island greens and waste areas in making a course memorable and enjoyable and tough. Eagle Vines is a recent fusion of 10 holes formerly part of Chardonnay and eight new ones by Johnny Miller. Typical Miller … wide open fairways and nasty approaches. Nasty. Outstanding course. L ... O ... N ... G, as well. The blues played 68freakinhundred, and there was zilcho roll. Silverado’s like La Costa but with different trees.



    Eats: In Sonoma we kept on going back to the Fairmont’s Big 3 Diner. It’s comfort food with a twist, and I don’t mean like Hash House A Go Go. Guess I’d call it avant comfy: Filet mignon pot pie, mac with Vella dry jack cheese, halibut in lemon-butter sauce on risotto, etc.

    We had appies and drinks one afternoon at Bouchon and dinner one night. We had a shot at French Laundry but just weren’t up for a five-/six-bill night, and after trying Bouchon, if the latter is truly THAT much more notable, then it’s gotta be otherworldly … and I just can’t imagine it being so. Oh well, guess we’ll just have to bite the bullet next time. Anywho, we got out of Bouchon for under $200 w/tax and tip, with four courses (3.5 actually as we split an appie) and a liter of Cotes du Rhone. We had cod beignets on a sundried confit and with fried sage, Terri had onion soup and I had the daily salad special of crispy sweetbreads on frisee with lardons and herbs. For mains we had the “signature†chicken (on lentils with shrooms, lardons, pear onions and hunter’s sauce) and leg ‘o lambo with a ragout of coco beans, piquillo peppers and lamb sausage. Dessert consisted of dark chocolate “bouchons†and coffee pot de crème. A lively, cramped, bright and inviting place and a top-drawer experience all the way around.

    Another highlight was Bistro Don Giovanni, just north of Napa. Picture a toned down Circo at Bellagio but get rid of the fountains and add vineyards, oh and add polite courteous service, too. LOL Lentil soup, beet, haricot vert, avo and fennel salad, wild mushroom risotto, pizzocheri (cabbage, potato and cheese pasta), two desserts (a trifle and butterscotch pudding) and a bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs put us back a very reasonable $130 before tip. A winner joint. And don’t miss out on a couple of the signature cocktails prior to dinner.


    Drinks: The find was Deerfield Ranch, an insider visit arranged by the concierge at the Fairmont. I haven’t bought a Merlot in eons, but that’s what we came away from Deerfield with. Very Bordeaux, but not one-dimensional, and not at all like all the crap being bottled and sold and consumed here, there and everywhere (like those damn lick-a-pat-of-butter Chards). Aside from Domaine Chandon, we avoided the big tourist traps, hitting Silver Oak, Stag’s Leap (the real one) and Schramsberg, instead. (In fact, we drank a fair amount of Schramsberg bubbly all week.) We hope to return to Schramsberg and partake of the 3-day wine “camp†they offer.


    Spa: Terri had Thai massage, a three-part exfoliation/soak/massage thingy and a pedicure. I had barefoot shiatsu and a two-hour hot stone treatment. Thai and barefoot– ouch, ouch, ouch, ooooooh, ouch, ouch, ouch, ooooooh – may be our new faves.


    Weather: Awful. But who cares? We had a blast. One of our best trips ever. We also visited COPIA, saw family, scored on the shopping side of the ledger and found a couple great little specialty markets/delis and bakeries. If it doesn’t become an annual event, we’ll hopefully get back every other year since there are no turistas clogging up roads, wineries and restaurants this time of year.
     
  2. mikenhe

    mikenhe VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
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    anglo american in Tampa
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    the French laundry...

    one day, one day


    :insertdroolingsmilie:
     
  3. jmsvss

    jmsvss Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Virginia
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    Very nice - thanks for the report.

    Especially nice to hear about your timing (mid December) and (lack of)crowds.
     
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