Wine Country Here We Come!

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Party! A Trip to the Sea:
St. Francis and a surprise party
Bastardo looks to the sea

Bastardo looks to the sea

Frank and Joanie had a trip to Bodega Bay planned for the Gang this day. (What she didn't know was that Frank had a surprise birthday party planned for her that evening!)

We drove to Santa Rosa to meet them, but before driving west to the Pacific, we stopped at St. Francis Vineyards. As we pulled up, the Gang bowed repeatedly, chanting "We're not worthy; we're not worthy!"

Lindsay Olsen greeted us in the tasting room. We presented him with our cards, and he was delighted, saying, "The Gang of Pour, I love it!" Bright, witty, and very friendly, he poured us a succession of beautiful wines, including the 1995 St. Francis Chardonnay Sonoma Valley Estate Reserve (lots of rich butter, maple sugar, and butterscotch), a stunning Reserve Merlot (didn't get the vintage; '94? '95?), and, of course, both '95 Zinfandels, the Old Vines and the Pagani Reserve (I got three of the latter for "the cellar").

St. Francis and the Gang!

The Gang poses with St. Francis

With Lindsay's help, we took advantage of a photo opportunity outside the tasting room. Then, it was off to Bodega Bay!

By the time we arrived, clouds had gathered, and the temperature was considerably cooler. We stopped at "The Tides Wharf" for lunch, noting the pictures of Tipi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock on the walls. (Hitchcock's The Birds had been filmed in Bodega Bay back in the early sixties, including a scene in the restaurant.)

The seafood was excellent; they also allowed us to bring our own wine, for a reasonable corkage fee. These included a '94 Steele Dennison Vineyard Chardonnay, a '94 Sky Mt. Veeder Zin, a '95 Ridge Paso Robles Zin, and a '95 St. Francis Pagani Reserve, which were enjoyed with much fun and frivolity.

After lunch, we took a nice tour of the neighborhood, then headed north, through beautiful rolling hills, rocky outcroppings, great sand dunes, and the Pacific fog. The beaches looked awesome, but everyone was fully dressed!

We stopped for yet another photo op at the mouth of the Russian River, then headed east, following it back upstream.

Mr. Flippy where the mouth of the Russian River meets the sea

Mr. Flippy where the mouth of the Russian River meets the sea

As we continued, the temperature warmed again, and it became increasingly obvious just how important the river is to the recreational needs of the area. Canoers, tubers, swimmers, waders, and campers were observed enjoying its beauty all along its length.

We took a left turn at Guerneville to visit a state forest full of big redwoods, including the 1300 year old, 310 foot tall Parson Jones Tree. Everyone was impressed, to say the least, but we couldn't stay long; we had a surprise party to attend.


Frank and Joanie

Frank and Joanie

Things were already festive when we arrived in the city of Sonoma. The Red and White Ball was being held in the town square, and there were revelers everywhere.

The surprise party was held at Zino's,

Bastardo is weird

Always the card - that Bastardo

a fine Italian restaurant that let the Gang slide with respect to a corkage fee. Joanie had expected to be going out for dinner with friends; but, in fact, plans had been made weeks in advance for family members to fly in from all over the country. Needless to say, she was shocked, but very, very pleased to see so many loved ones who had come to celebrate her 29th ;-) Birthday!

The Gang enjoyed themselves immensely. The food was fine, and the wines were great. They included the following selections:

  • 1995 St. Francis Reserve Chardonnay
  • 1986 Newton Merlot
  • 1995 Archery Summit Oregon Pinot Noir
  • 1995 St. Francis Pagani Reserve Zinfandel
  • 1995 Martinelli Jackass Hill Zinfandel (which went surprisingly well with cherry cheese cake! It was almost like a late harvest selection)
  • 1995 J. Fritz Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Late Harvest (provided by Botrytis Boy, of course!)

Many Happy Returns, Joanie!

Time for some morning reflections on Day Seven - the second to the last day.



Joanie's birthday
present from the
Gang of Pour was a
Cabernet Grape
bonzai. It sported a
wonderful cluster of
grapes. Unique!



HOME Gang of Pour Home Page PAGE

Gang of Pour Unleashed Directory

Prologue - Blast me off to Sonoma

Redwood Tree House & Ridge Lytton Springs

More Ridge Lytton Springs

Rafanelli Commentary

Power Tasting - Day One

The Music

Ridge ATP Party

Opus One - Day Two

Beringer - Day Two


Valley of the Moon - Day Three

Jason Brandt Lewis - Day Four

Newton Vineyards - Day Five

Morning Reflections - Day Seven

More Wineries - Day Seven

SFJoe and Tasting Notes - Day Seven

Dinner Party and Tasting Notes - Day Seven

Departure and Epilogue - Day Eight