This past weekend was the first time I had visited Sonoma County. For many years when I lived in the Bay Area, Napa Valley was a regular stop when I had out-of-town guests. Then I moved away and then they decided to convert it to Disneyland like experience complete with a wine train. No thank you.
So we decided to visit the Sonoma Wine Country and made our first (and last) stop at Chateau St. Jean. The place is beautiful but it ends there. After parking, we made our way to the tasting room where they sell extremely over-priced snacks and offer various kinds of tastings of their wares. Nothing's free. The budget tasting is $15 for 6 samples of their low end wine. For $5 more, you get to move up to their better wines. For $30 each you can taste their private reserve in a separate tasting room.
We started with a snack of salame and cheese. This is a snack size box a little bit larger than what my grade-school age daughter takes to school some time. The difference is the price. $12. We opted in to a $20 tasting and were provided a menu to select from. Not being familiar with Chateau St. Jean, we decided to try some whites and reds. As the wine came, there was a characteristic that accompanies each one: Bitter aftertaste. Their whites were astringent and without bouquet. The reds were like drinking ink. The only nice thing about our visit was the surrounding garden that was tastefully done.
We missed the wine tour. There are two of them a day at 11 and 1. We didn't ask the price but did note that you can join their wine club for $75-$150/quarter and get a free tour and tasting. On second thought, I'd rather drink acetone - it's cheaper!
Skip this one. There are many other vineyards in Sonoma that have better wines to sample.
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