Arriving at Santa Rosa after nine hours of driving, I hit Flying Goat Coffee (for an Americano) and Bottle Barn (beer) before meeting up with Tonya and Mark in Healdsburg for some wine tasting and dinner at Zin (southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes, biscuits and collard greens).
The next morning, Mark and I were up early to ride the Westside Road from Santa Rosa up to the Alexander Valley, with a stop in Healdsburg for breakfast. The weather was perfect for cycling, cool and slightly overcast. Not too many cars either as most of the wineries were not yet open for tastings. We crossed the famous Russian River, before turning onto Westside Road proper and ended the ride at Geyser Peak Winery with a two-hour personalized tour and tasting in the Members Lounge (Thanks Tonya and Mark).
Despite Geyser Peak’s large production scale, their wines are very well made, and at the 25% members discount (again thanks Tonya and Mark), I felt compelled not to leave empty handed. We tasted over 11 wines and I could easily have left with over a case but narrowed the purchases down to the 2004 Meritage, 2006 Zinfandel (made from 50 year old vines) and a 2008 Late Harvest Riesling.
Next stop, Gary Farrell. Having sold his winery a couple years back, Gary’s legacy of producing fine Pinot lives on at the winery that still bears his name. Another tour and tasting. We all agreed that their Pinots are still very well made, especially the 2006 Ramal Vineyard Pinot and the 2006 Starr Vineyard Pinot. By late afternoon, the cycling miles and wine tastings were doing me in, so I retired to my motel for an early evening before Tuesday’s ride.