Exquisite sparkling wines are a major draw at this three-decade-old Russian River Valley institution, which spans six celebrated estate vineyards. But don’t limit yourself to bubbles at this iconic winery: Here, you’ll also find complex Pinot Noir bursting with a bright fruit character, exquisite Chardonnay ranging from crisp to rich, expressive Pinot Gris with its palate-pleasing appeal, and more. Sample them all at the winery’s popular Legacy Tasting. Whether on the shaded garden terrace or in the stylish indoor Lounge, this tasting experience lets you enjoy a seated tasting with a culinary twist. Choose your favorite flight, either an all-sparkling selection or the Varietal Flight that also offers tastes from J’s acclaimed still portfolio, then add the optional artisanal cheese pairing plate for the perfect Sonoma County afternoon.
Wood-fired pizzas and small plates are the name of the game at this stylish Italian eatery. Start with the refreshing summer gazpacho zinged up with jalapeños before moving onto crunchy balls of saffron-scented arancini. In the pizza department, opt for the umami-rich spicy anchovy pie enlivened with fiery Calabrian chilis. Don’t forget to hit the bocce court afterward!
Chef-owner Dustin Valette opened this spot with his brother Aaron Garzini to shine a light on the farmers, winemakers, and artisans of Sonoma County — with an Italian twist, of course. Sample dishes like the house-made bucatini topped with aged pancetta, creamy carbonara custard, and whipped ricotta, just one of the innovative and intricate dishes you’ll find on Valette’s ever-changing menu. Finish up with the “ItsNotA ‘Snickers Bar’” dessert, which marries peanut powder and salt-infused caramel atop a crunchy cocoa nib tuile. Also check out Chef Valette’s nearby Matheson, an ambitious, three-level restaurant and cocktail lounge concept slated to open in Summer 2021.
Dry Creek Kitchen
When famed chef Charlie Palmer opened this rustic but sophisticated spot at Hotel Healdsburg in 2001, he brought renewed national attention to Sonoma County and helped cement it as a premier destination for both fine food and drink. Today, the restaurant continues to deliver artful dishes, like Bodega Bay mussels enriched with spicy ‘nduja sausage, red potatoes, and preserved Meyer lemon; duck breast with tart rhubarb, toasted couscous, and crystallized ginger; and golden olive oil cake brightened with tangy strawberry compote and rich crème fraîche.
John Ash & Co.
Nestled within the luxe, garden-filled Vintner’s Resort, fine dining spot John Ash & Co. has specialized in wine country cuisine with global flair for over four decades. Start with the crispy-bottomed potstickers, stuffed with five spice-enriched pork belly and beef, before moving onto prosciutto-wrapped pheasant breast saltimbocca, which comes served atop creamy orzo brimming with roasted garlic, spinach, feta cheese, and brown sage butter. Finish up with a dreamy chocolate stout cake featuring layers of espresso-spiked chocolate mousse and coffee crème.