FUN-travel: Wine Tasting – Plymouth to Murphys – Day 3

May 1, 2015 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Wine Tasting – Plymouth to Murphys – Day 3 

  • Very sorry to say, the coffee and breakfast was subpar at the Shenandoah Inn. Thank god they had Starbucks just a few miles down the road in Jackson.
  • Lovely drive to Murphys (about an hour) consisted of mile upon mile of endless green rolling hills covered with grasses and patches of clustered wild flowers bursting with colors in yellow, orange and purple. Occasional large oak and pine trees dotted the hills before turning into completely forested mountains in the distance. Rows of planted vines mixed with sprawling ranches, grazing cows, sheep, and horses.
1 Trip to Modesto 3.15

Victoria Inn

1st stop – Chatom Winery just outside of Murphys – recommended by the girls at Klinker Brick. Nice selection of reds and whites and their wine club is a flat rate $39 for 2 bottles, tax and shipping included.

2nd stop – Murphys – we heard it was cute and it is! Victoria Inn was our pick to stay somewhere special and quaint. It’s right downtown within walking distance to everything.

  • Our lunch choice was spot on! We shared a bowl of homemade split pea & ham soup for starters. That and the burrito was plenty for both of us and a perfect “fill up” for wine tasting.
5 Trip to Modesto 3.15

Shops On Main Street

FUN-foodGrounds – Big Burrito filled with chicken, rice, ranchero beans, chilies, onions, cheddar & jack cheese, smothered with “chili gravy” and topped off with olives, sour cream and homemade salsa.

  • We spent the afternoon strolling Main Street and tasting wines at Hatcher, Renner, Hovey, Twisted Oak and Newsome-Harlow. While we bought some bottles along the way, our wine club pick was Newsome-Harlow. Everyone was tasty! There are a total of 19 wineries on Main Street and it was great to not have to drive anywhere.

4 Trip to Modesto 3.15

FUN-foodAlchemy Market & Wine Bar – 1st course – crispy fried calamari & jalapeno peppers served with a parmesan chipotle aioli – 2nd course – iron skillet mussels in a light sauce of sherry & fresh herbs with a side of truffle fries – 3rd course – fennel crusted seared ahi served over mixed salad greens with kalmata olives, marinated red onions, oranges & feta dressed with a lemon oregano vinaigrette. Their complimentary cheese bread is to live for!

  • While it was highly recommended, only 3 restaurants serve on Tuesday nights. I made reservations at 3:00 and discovered they had live music starting at 5:30. This was the most FUN I’ve had in a restaurant in a long time! Our server Chris was off the charts exceptional. When I asked to see the manager I was told, “There isn’t one.” I went back to the kitchen to meet Chef owner, Jason, to commend him on the great food and service. His empowered staff takes pride and it shows!
  • Every Tuesday (except January – 4-course beer pairing) is Winemaker’s Night featuring $5 glasses of local wines, $20 a bottle, and free live music on the patio from 5:30 to 8:00.

FUN-fact – The Murphys Historic Hotel remains the crown jewel of the Mother Lode anchoring the town of Murphys at the corner of Main Street and Algiers. One of a hundred Wells Fargo Bank stops.

3 Trip to Modesto 3.15

Murphys Hotel Saloon


FUN-travel: Wine Tasting – Sutter Creek to Plymouth – Day 2

April 28, 2015 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Wine Tasting – Sutter Creek to Plymouth – Day 2 

2nd stop Sutter Creek – we needed to fuel up on a good lunch. As we drove down Main Street I spotted Hotel Sutter and just knew it was “the place.” My California burger was cooked a perfect med-rare topped with bacon, avocado and pepper jack and a side of garlic fries. Heaven! (I don’t eat that much meat so when I do it has to be really good) The entree beet & kale salad was bursting with flavors from the combination of shaved brussel sprouts, oranges, toasted almonds, and pomegranate seeds; drizzled with white balsamic vinaigrette. Nice selection of wines by the glass and draft beers. The Runquist 1448 blend at $25 a bottle was a good choice. (The name refers to the elevation where it’s grown)

6 Trip to Modesto 3.15

Hotel Sutter

3rd stop Plymouth – located in Amador County, which is the heart of the Sierra Foothills, they boast over 40 wineries. Two that were recommended were Runquist and Renwood. Since our tasting time was limited we started at Renwood and then discovered Turley was just across the street from Runquist. We’ve been drinking Turley wines since we discovered them in Paso Robles back in 2007. They don’t offer a typical wine club with discounts. I had to wait several years before being allowed to order their new releases. Our Amador favorite was Runquist hands down. We joined their wine club and got 15% off of our mixed case of Barbera, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, and the 1448 red blend.

7 Trip to Modesto 3.15

Sutter Creek

  • We stayed here specifically to have dinner at Taste. It has been named as one of the Top 100 Wine Restaurants in America by Wine Enthusiast magazine. I read that this was “one of the best meals ever” but that was not our experience. We started with their signature Mushroom Cigar appetizer – crimini, shiitake, oyster mushrooms, fresh herbs and goat cheese wrapped in phyllo – followed by the roasted beet salad, and for the entrée Roasted Halibut. Maybe we had too much FUN wine tasting but it just didn’t taste “off the charts” fabulous as we had expected. I did like the local red wine flight priced at $14 and the service was exceptional.
  • The top rated TA hotel was the Shenandoah Inn. While the outside looked like any other non-descript motel, the rooms were large, clean, and had been nicely remodeled. The staff and manager went out of their way to make us feel welcome and accommodate our needs. FYI – Taste is opening a 17 room boutique hotel called Rest at the end of the year. And probably a whole lot more money too!

2 Trip to Modesto 3.15

FUN-fact – Sutter Creek, known as the “Jewel of the Mother Lode,” was named after John Sutter, who sent a party to the area in 1846 in search of timber. Sutter’s discovery of gold at nearby Coloma in January 1848 triggered the California Gold Rush.

More FF – When you buy local wines in the restaurants they don’t gouge you by more than doubling the price.