GayCities Next Top Food Reviewer’s Sonoma Getaway
Sonoma County rolled out the red carpet for the GayCities Next Top Food Reviewer (That’s me!) and my buddies, Richard and Jonathan. What a glorious weekend touring wine country, starting with a drive along River Road and through San Francisco’s summer getaway town of Guerneville on our way to Village Inn in Monte Rio. The Inn puts a capital “R” in “Rustic” so if you’re more of the discriminating type of gay, be sure to take advantage of this property’s strengths and park yourself on one of it’s outdoor chairs that overlook the River. The place mixes a mean cocktail and there are plenty of appetizers to help soak up the booze. If you stay for dinner, you’re in luck if they’re offering the lamb chops. They’re terrific!
He then drove us to J Winery for a private tour of the vineyard and production facility, which was perfectly orchestrated to highlight both the science and art of wine making. We were a bit early, so we had some time to walk among the vines and see those cute little grapes that will turn into a great pinot noir in about, um, three years or so…
Them we were treated to fantastic private tasting of J Winery’s best offerings, which included their terrific pinot noirs and sparkling wines. After the tour, they showed us the private Bubble Lounge, which offers a scrumptious food and wine pairing (reservations recommended) prepared by a notable chef. We’ll definitely be back for that.
Our next stop was the Raymond Burr Winery, where the gruff server made us feel about as welcome as Obama at a Tea Party. We high- tailed it out of there to Porter Creek, a charming stop along Westside Road in the Russian River valley. The tasting room appears to have been set up in a car port next to one of those perfect wine country houses that sits next to a vineyard. This winemaker clearly lets the wines do the talking at the expense of the usual frills you’d get at more high-end places.
Our day ended with a terrific dinner at Glen Ellen Inn, a charming restaurant with a nearly full back page of the menu dedicated to specialty martinis that pair nicely with their other specialties: oysters prepared in a variety of fashions. I’m not an oyster fan, so I opted for the calamari and was bowled over. And the steak is not to be missed.
Photos by Ray Delgado
Thanks to Sonoma County, our sponsor of the GayCities Next Top Food Reviewer Challenge