The other day I posted comments about an unhappy experience at another winery tasting room (“Domaine C-------”), so today I want to write about a completely enjoyable visit to the tasting room and gardens at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood near Santa Rosa in Sonoma County.
The grounds of this winery are beautiful, from the driveway through the vineyards to the gardens and the chateau and the tasting room. Some say the gardens are the most beautiful of any winery in Sonoma or Napa.
First our party of three went to the spacious tasting room where the friendly and welcoming server gave us tastes of five wines. While we were tasting, one of the staff, Pierre, came in and my host conversed with him in French. When I said I wanted to bring home a special wine for a Mother's Day gift, our server found and opened a reserve cabernet for us to taste.
After choosing one bottle of wine to buy, we each purchased a glass of wine and some food from the charcuterie and went outside and sat in the gardens to enjoy the wine and the gardens and the French chateau. Beautiful and peaceful, as if we were in the French countryside.
I went to a high school in the vineyards of Napa and was surrounded by vineyards every day, so I was really interested in one section of the gardens planted with vines of several wine-grape varietals, sign-posted with their names. I hadn't noticed until this day how different the leaves of each varietal are, in size and shape and color. In late summer or early autumn it would be interesting to see the different colors and sizes of the grapes.
The Chateau St. Jean website describes everything better than I can, but I will say that it is not a place to stop in on for a quick taste: you will want to spend some time there to immerse yourself in its ambiance and the tranquility.
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