Healdsburg Barrel Tasting

March 28, 2010


Orsi Papale Vineyard, Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, Calif.

“Age appears to be best in four things: old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.”  – Francis Bacon.   

I have several friends from kindergarten that are like sisters to me. We grew up together in the Sunset District of San Francisco, riding our bikes down 19th Avenue (pre-helmuts!) to hang out at Stonestown, sharing stories of each others’ first kisses, and getting married and having our children in the same time frame. Today, we are seasoned 40-somethings, all still happily married, and comparing notes on how to deal with teenagers.  Each year the six of us get together for a weekend in March to go wine tasting and catch up. We are lucky to live just down the road from one the region’s – and the world’s – most famous winemaking towns: Healdsburg, Calif.   

For $20, we buy individual glasses at the first of more than a dozen wineries open to the public for tasting. Then (with a designated driver) we meander our way through the picturesque valleys surrounding this wonderful town to meet the people who make the wine. It’s a fun way for amateurs to learn about winemaking and taste some new varieties. 

   “Fill ‘er up!” Pinot, right out of the barrel. 

From Healdsburg’s Chamber of Commerce Website:  

“Healdsburg.  A town renowned for its eclectic offering of all the finest things in life… food, wine, friends and fun.  The charm and genuine down to earth personality of the town is inescapable—from the sounds of jazz and laughter at every town square event, to the enticing aromas of five star cuisine tempting you at every turn, to the country roads winding through rolling hills of world-acclaimed wine growing appellations, Healdsburg is the belle of the trendy wine country ball who prefers to be out in the vineyards sampling zinfandel on the vine.”  

Healdsburg is surrounded by several of Northern California’s finest regional wine appellations, including Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley. Centrally located to over 100 world class wineries and tasting rooms, Healdsburg is the ideal place to discover all the best that Sonoma County wine country has to offer.  

On Friday night, we met at  SCOPA and enjoyed an array of antipasti and pizza with bottles of wine Krisitn brought. The house made tagliatelle pasta with wild boar bolognese and parmigiano was delicious, with just the amount of meat to make it a meal. We also ordered several pizzas, they’re authentic Italian style with thin crusts. The waitress couldn’t have been more gracious after Kerry accidently set her menu on fire over our table’s flame and we stayed long after the normal closing time.     

Sue and Deirdre at Scopa

 SCOPA Restaurant
109A Plaza Street, Healdsburg
Phone: (707) 433-5282
Website: www.scopahealdsburg.com
Fine Italian Dining. Open for Dinner service, Tues-Sun 5:30-10pm. Lunch service begins Summer 2008! Stop by for a menu  

Bistro Ralph was our second night’s destination, a fun and eclectic restaurant on the square. The butternut squash soup and pork tenderloin were both divine.    

Bistro Ralph
109 Plaza Street, Healdsburg
Phone: (707) 433-1380
Website: www.bistroralph.com
An upscale bistro on the plaza. Lunch Monday-Saturday, 11:30am. Dinner Monday-Saturday, 5:30-9:30pm. Reservations suggested. Closed Sundays.  

Although visiting the wineries and talking to winemakers about their processes is fun, I must admit: my favorite part of Barrel Tasting weekend is sitting around a table with close friends and enjoying a slow, local meal.  

Kristin: "Take the picture! We're losing our place in line!"


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