I visited the area outside Healdsburg this past weekend with a group of friends. We were a large group and people had very specific places in mind to visit, we moved at a very leisurely pace and enjoyed our day immensely.
Ferrari-Carano: Our first stop, where somone wanted to see the gardens. I concur with other reports on this board, the wines might be the most inviting from a mainstream winelist, but none struck us as "destination" wines, so to speak. They were not participating in barrel tasting.
Unti: True to reports here, this was a charming stop. The entire family was involved, and very friendly and informative. The barrel offering included the Sangiovese and Syrah. I can't wait to see what the Syrah is like in the bottle. They offered many of their wines from the bottle, as well, all reds. We particularly liked the 2002 Barbera and the 2001 Syrah, the Grenache was also very nice. Unti was crowded but very manageable. Basic crackers were offered.
Simi: We chose this stop for its great picnic area and were glad we did. They had a very structured barrel tasting in which they poured their Sauvignon Blanc and Landslide Shiraz from the bottle, with food matches, then offered the upcoming vintage from the barrel. It was a lot of fun.
Stryker: I had never been here before. It's a large facility but still very warm and inviting. They had three wines from the barrel, of which the cabernet sauvignon was the favorite, and then offered their full line up inside at no charge. Stryker was packed at the end of the day, but the staff remained freindly and helpful. No food was offered.
I'm interested to hear where others visited...
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