Partake by K-J
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High-Value Dining in Sonoma
After sampling wines at small, boutique wineries around the Healdsburg area, stopping for lunch at Partake, Kendall-Jackson’s tasting room/restaurant, might not seem an obvious choice…but it turned out to be an incredible value. Although Kendall-Jackson may be perceived as uneventful, everyday wine (its Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, we were told, is the top-selling wine in the world: 2.2 million cases/yr), K-J makes a lot of wine in many quality/price categories, some of it very good. At Partake, we had a three-course lunch, with five wines in all, priced at a remarkably reasonable $45. Everything starts with a “mystery” wine in a black glass that challenges you to guess the contents, which may sound a little hokey, but it does get you thinking about what you're drinking. To eat, we had well-shucked local oysters from Francis Drake Bay, a squash panna cotta with caviar, game-changing tempura Maitake mushrooms, smoked loin of lamb and thoughtful desserts, each paired with very good K-J wines (with the meat course, a 2007 Highland Estates Trace Ridge cab, retail $60/bottle and a score 94/100 from Wine Enthusiast). You can also opt for a cheese tasting ($25), or an all-veg “from the garden” tasting ($35). After a morning of standing around wine bars at small, high-personality local wineries, it was very pleasant to sit down in a well-appointed restaurant and enjoy something good to eat as well as drink.
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