As the saying goes: “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” But this is also true: “Life is too short to drink wine in mediocre settings.”
This summer you’ll likely have more time to make an adventure of wine tasting. If you have family and friends visiting Wine Country, that’s all the more reason to have a few spots in mind that offer a unique backdrop like Anaba Wines in Sonoma, Landmark Vineyards in Kenwood and Castello Di Amorosa in Calistoga.
Anaba Wines has its tasting room in a restored 100-year old farmhouse with a patio that overlooks the vineyard.
Pinot noir and chardonnay are the house specialties here, and the winery credits the wind for their high-acid flavor profiles. The cool Pacific breezes flow up through this 16-acre estate in the western part of the Carneros appellation. Anaba, for the uninitiated, is named for the anabatic winds that soar through the property.
Point of interest: Anaba was the first Northern California winery to harness wind energy for wine production with its 45-foot wind turbine.
(60 Bonneau Road, Sonoma, open daily 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., anabawines.com.)
Landmark Vineyards — From the patio at Landmark you can spy Sugarloaf Mountain, as well as the Mayacamas Mountain range, and it’s a striking view to pair with wine. The winery also has a Healdsburg tasting room, but the Kenwood property is the most picturesque by far.
The Overlook is the go-to wine here because it’s a chardonnay-lover’s chardonnay, lush yet balanced.
Point of interest: The Private Tower Tasting offers a wine and cheese pairing while dazzling guests with a 360-degree view of the property. The fee is $50 per person.
(101 Adobe Canyon Rd., Kenwood, open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., landmarkwine.com.)
Castello di Amorosa — On Highway 29 you’ll only spot one castle and it’s a fortress not-to-be-missed. The 136,000 square foot stone winery, authentically modeled after a medieval castle, has 107 rooms including a church and, surprisingly, a torture chamber.
The gewürztraminer is the best wine in the line-up, but there are also several Italian reds you’ll want to try.
Point of Interest: The Royal Food & Wine Pairing offers Italian pours with Italian foods, and the fee is $95 per person.
(4045 St. Helena Hwy., Calistoga, open daily 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., castellodiamorosa.com.)
Peg Melnik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-479-3880.