On a lazy Saturday, even the hour-plus drive to Wine Country can sound like a long trek.
So when we learned we could find outstanding varietals and equally stellar food just a 35-minute drive north, well, we grabbed our car keys.
Nestled atop a vineyard-covered knoll at the southernmost edge of the Carneros wine region is Ram’s Gate Winery. The upscale farmhouse is all subtle majesty, with a central fireplace in the open-air courtyard that greets you upon entry, 30-foot ceilings, weathered timber interiors, and a fluid floor plan melding indoors and out.
Grab a glass of floral but rich estate pinot noir; spicy, oaky chardonnay; or elegantly peppered Parmelee-Hill syrah. Proceed to the pavilion (or covered gallery, library, or picnic patio) with chef Jason Rose’s (Locanda, Wayfare Tavern) farm-to-tasting room bites (English pea arancini, crispy California sea bass, Carneros lamb meatballs) and soak in the vineyard views.
And the best thing? Classes and wine pairings at the chef’s counter-slash-demo kitchen are just a hop, skip, and jump away.
Ram’s Gate Winery, 28700 Arnold Drive, off Highway 121, Sonoma (707-721-8700 or ramsgatewinery.com).
Photo: Rocco Ceselin / Courtesy of Ram’s Gate Winery