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Today we went on a fun 50km bike ride through Healdsburg with Fred of Gateway Adventures. The Velo n Vino tour takes you past the scenic vineyards of the Dry Creek Valley into the historic haven of Asti, and continues down through Alexander Valley. We were fitted on Specialised road bikes. I had brought my own saddle, which Fred mounted for me. It was the perfect weather for a ride. The ride wasn’t difficult – rolling hills. There were some long down hills which were fun to race down. The roads were in excellent condition. Fred is a very personable guy. He would share history and facts of the areas we were riding through along with some personal stories – it was more like riding with a friend.
After the ride, we piled into his van and he took us to Lambert Bridge Winery. While we did shared a classic tasting ($15) and had the chance to sample their pizza from their outdoor oven, Fred was outside preparing a beautiful and tasty lunch for us.
After lunch, we said we’d be interested in tasting some Zinfandel, what this particular region is known for. Fred opted to take us to Bella, a vineyard where he is a wine club member of. On our way there, he stopped to show us zinfandel vines and California black walnut trees. We learned that Zin roots can send their roots down 40 to 50 feet to find moisture! I’ve never seen how walnuts are grown before. As for walnuts, I did not realize it grows inside a husk that is green.
At Bella, we did some tastings in their wine cave which is tucked into a steep hillside under their prized Lily Hill vineyard. Excavation of the caves began in June 2002. It was completed in December of 2003 and the caves have 5,200 square feet of barrel storage and working space and an additional 1,500 square feet of entertainment space. You can rent out one of the dining spaces inside the cave and hire a chef to cook for you and your friends – it’s a gorgeous space!
Before leaving, we purchased a bottle of the 2011 Late Harvest zinfandel, which is essentially a port with an alcohol content of only 14.7%. It’s a sweet wine, but not as sweet as an ice wine. We thought the finish was clean and it’s something we haven’t really tried before.