Typically, I try to avoid imperatives, as I am a firm believer that people should do as they choose. There are a few exceptions, however: Love the Planet, Ride Your Bike, Brush Your Teeth. Other than that, I really try to avoid didactic speech.
These last few days, I have been the guest of Rodney Strong Vineyards, experiencing what it would be like to win their Master Blender Sweepstakes. The contest is now open, and Rodney Strong will select two winners that will experience an incredible few days in Sonoma County.
There are relatively few requirements to enter, as one must submit a name, an address, and an email to enter (all of which, I presume, most people have). So, if you do nothing else by the end of May (entries are accepted until May 31st), enter the sweepstakes! Here are a few pictures to entice….
The prize includes a stay at the lovely Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa, the heart of Sonoma County.
The only problem with the breakfast tacos at the Vintners Inn was that I did not order them more than once.
The trip included a visit to Alexander’s Crown Vineyard, Sonoma County’s first vineyard designate for Cabernet Sauvignon, where we were fortunate to have Rodney Strong owner and Sonoma legend Tom Klein give us a lesson on the soil that makes the Crown one of the premier spots in Alexander Valley.
We also hit Rockaway Vineyard, another of Rodney Strong’s prized vineyards for Cabernet Sauvignon (and incredible views).
We dined at Valette, one of the top restaurants in downtown Healdsburg. Do not pass on the Sautéed Scallops en croûte!
We toured the winery and tasted from a few barrels with famed (infamous?) wine writer Ron Washam, the HoseMaster of Wine.
More tasting on the winery’s terrace, which is directly adjacent to Rodney Strong’s River East Vineyard..
We also dined on said terrace with a few more wines from Rodney Strong including their Rosé of Pinot Noir, which is fabulous.
The highlight and focal point of the trip was the blending seminar, where we were charged with making our own blend of Rodney Strong’s famed Symmetry wine, which includes five Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot). The wines were then judged by winemaker Greg Morthole (I did not win, in case you were wondering).
While the folks at Rodney Strong take winemaking seriously, that can not always be said about those of us who are not employed by the company.
I think I can speak for the entire group when I say the experience was unforgettable.
Once again, you really should enter this sweepstakes.
And ride your bike.