I have been living in California for about two and a half months now. I still haven't met many new friends but I am lucky to have been able to reconnect with an old friend, Michelle, who I have known for seventeen and a half years. It's hard to not know many people yet, especially with a birthday approaching (a BIG birthday), but all I needed was Michelle to give me the most special pre-birthday celebration. It was a wine tasting, spa day, gluten free cupcake loving extravaganza that started at one of my new favorite places, Ram's Gate Winery.
Ram's Gate is a new winery outside of Sonoma and it is breathtaking. I want to live here. Michelle and I even discussed how she could take one wing, I could take the other, and we could host joint parties in the great room. We like to dream. The impressive space was designed by the architect Howard Backen and interior designer Orlando Diaz-Acuzy. It is a beautiful scene of rustic contemporary furnishings with natural textures and warm light, bringing the vineyard landscape into the winery at every turn through the massive floor-to-ceiling windows and open-air seating with a grand fireplace. It has an incredibly sophisticated but completely comfortable atmosphere that makes you want to stay and try every wine on the menu. If I could, I would. The menu offers various sizes of wine pours, including a two and a half ounce tasting glass, which is perfect for me. Then I can have a variety, because two really is better than one when you're talking about glasses of wine.
In addition to the wines at Ram's Gate, they have some amazing small plate offerings. Their gluten free selection is somewhat limited, but the staff was so friendly and helpful and after a few back and forths between the staff, the kitchen and ourselves, they helped us order the eggplant dip with crudites instead of crostini. Let me just say that the dip was amazing! It had a lovely smoky flavor and was so incredibly creamy. I could lick that bowl clean, but instead, I licked the spoon. But then they offered to bring us more carrots . . . Even better!
I was sad to leave Ram's Gate but we still had a tour of sparkling wine caves (with samples, of course), lunch, and our spa visit on the itinerary. And Michelle made gluten free cupcakes just for me! It was the perfect pre-birthday celebration and I can't wait to start a new year of my life.