During my three hour layover in Santa Rosa (STS) airport, Avelo Airlines invited me and other aviation writers to lunch at a local Sonoma County winery. The wine was fine, but I was particularly impressed by the food at J Vineyards in Healdsburg, California.
California Wine Tasting at J Vineyards In Healdsburg
The vineyard and winery is in a beautiful location less than 15 minutes from the airport by car. We were seated on an outdoor terrace for lunch and it was a beautiful day outside and beautiful setting with the vineyard around us.
Lunch began with a wine flight, featuring a white, red, and rosé. I may be a coffee snob, but I’m not a wine snob and cannot really identify the nodes that made this wine tasty…but it was very tasty and served in measured portions so as not to be too much.
Executive Chef Carl Shelton introduced himself and explained lunch, which would be paired with three more glasses of wine. I give Chef Shelton great credit, because each course was magnificent.
The first course was a sucrine (little gem) salad with grilled shrimp, avocado, and spring vegetables. Absolutely refreshing and a meal on its own. It was paired with a Pinot Gris.
The second course was lamb loin, cooked a perfect medium, with carrots, mushrooms, onions and fava leaves. Simply fabulous! It was paired with a Pinot Noir.
Finally, dessert was a phenomenal black apple chocolate bar with macadamia nuts and butterscotch mousse. W-O-W, this was delicious. It was served with a sweet Blanc de Noirs.
I don’t know if it is a cultural faux pax to ask for coffee at a winery, but I requested an espresso after lunch (and after the dessert wine) and was told there was none. I’m of the opinion that wine and coffee do mix and would have enjoyed a strong espresso or cappuccino after lunch.
But coffee aside, this was a lovely lunch and the staff were incredibly gracious and kind. Wine country in California has been hit hard during the pandemic, so it was good to see a terrace full of people.
What a lovely lunch. Ah, but that’s not all. There was conversations with Avelo executives at lunch as well. Stay tuned for one final post on what I learned about Avelo at lunch.
If you’re looking for a wine flight experience in Sonoma County, I strongly recommend J Vineyards; it was a wonderful treat.