Santa Rosa: Today is the deadline to register online for the Empire Runners Club’s Ilsanjo Classic 10-mile and Neo-Classic 4-mile race, 8:45 a.m. Sunday at Howarth Park in Santa Rosa. Race day entry fee is $20. Visit empirerunners.org for information.


Sonoma: Kids 3 and 4 years old and their parents and guardians read stories, sing songs, make nature-themed crafts and take a short walk, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday at Maxwell Farms Regional Park, 100 Verano Ave. Parking $7. Call 707-565-7888.


Santa Rosa: Bill Chalk and Dave Meyers lead a strenuous 4-5-mile loop hike at the Lawson extension of Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, 1450 Pythian Road, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Parking $7. Call 707-539-8847 for details.


Santa Rosa: Larry Broderick leads a birds of prey winter spotting and identification walk at the Laguna de Santa Rosa, 900 Sanford Road, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Meet at Heron Hall before carpooling to one of two sites. $30, pre-registration required. Moderate or heavy rain will cancel the event until Sunday. Visit lagunadesantarosa.org for information.


Glen Ellen: Hike into early spring 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road. $15 admission. The 3-mile, moderate-paced hike is limited to 20 participants. Meet in the ranch parking lot. Visit jacklondonpark.com. Call 707-938-5216 for information

James Lanaras

Comparing Tasting Notes

Benchmark — Kendall-Jackson, 2014 Vintner’s Reserve California Chardonnay, 13.5%, $17: The Vintner’s Reserve has bright acidity and tropical notes of mango and pineapple. It also has toasty oak and a hint of butter. This chardonnay has broad appeal because it offers a slightly sweeter version of chardonnay.

Knockoff, 2014 California Chardonnay, 13.8%, $11: This wine does not taste similar to the Vintner’s Reserve because it’s a much leaner chardonnay. That said, it still has some appeal. It’s a fruity wine with notes of melon, apple and mineral. But what’s most characteristic about this wine is its stone fruit and crisp acidity.

Benchmark — Joel Gott, 2014 California (815) Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.9%, $16: Tasty aromas and flavors of cherry, plum and mocha. Slightly sweet, but this wine definitely over delivers.

Just Right, 2014 California Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.9%, $13: This wine does not taste similar to the Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s not nearly as generous with its fruit. It also has some rough edges and a slightly sour finish. The upside is it has some tasty black cherry fruit, and it’s layered with herbs and spice.

Benchmark — Meiomi, 2014 Monterey, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties Pinot Noir, 13.9%, $25: Aromas of strawberry and mocha. Notes of blackberry, boysenberry and herbs on the palate. Supple. Lingering finish. Well crafted.

Misbehaved, 2015 California Pinot Noir, 13.8%, $16: This wine does not taste similar to the Meiomi Pinot Noir. It’s a dry wine with notes of cherry and plum. It’s one dimensional and has a short finish.


Peg Melnik’s Tasting Room blog