I am coming to Sonoma in late March with a group of friends. It is my second visit, the first for most of the group. The cottage we are renting is providing winery passports for us, and as some of our group are barely squeaking by on paying for the trip, I am sure they will want to take advantage. I am probably the only one of us with wine knowledge and a desire to REALLY taste, the rest are in it for the fun and ability to hang out together. So I am basically trying to make sure I get in one or two decent experiences amidst they more touristy stuff. I have read several threads about wineries in the area, and I have seen the one which basically says nothing on the list is worthwhile. But if your friend who barely drinks was in town, and you HAD to choose from this list (and please factor in the experience and setting as much as the wine) which of these would you visit? I am not including those on the square, just those which would necessitate a special trip.
Chateu St Jean
Jonathan Smith (can't find a thing about this one)
I appreciate that this list might be abhorrent to some of you, but please try to understand my dilemma! If you would like to add your absolute favorite tasting room in Sonoma County so that I can try to slip in something worthwhile, I would also be most appreciative. Again, a lovely or unique setting will be the most important things to the group at large. I love almost all wines, but prefer earthy, full bodied reds (zins, syrah, blends). Thanks!