When in Sonoma a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to stay at the venerable Fairmont Mission Inn & Spa, home of the Michelin rated Santé. Santé received one star earlier this year, the only restaurant in Sonoma Valley to have done so. The style of cuisine here is Cal-French under the watchful eyes of Executive Chef Bruno Tison and Chef de Cuisine Chef Andrew Cain. Tison is a classically trained French chef who began his education at the Belgium Institut Technique Des Metiers De L'Alimentation before studying under such legendary chefs as Bernard Waterlot, Roger Verge, Michel Guerard and Alain Chapel. Chef Cain is a graduate of NYC's CIA and has worked in the kitchens of La Folie and Michael Mina, San Francisco, French Laundry, Yountville as well as Sonoma's El Dorado Kitchen.
Recently I was in Sonoma on vacation and was able to visit 3 wineries on my trip. The first was Hanzell Vineyards on their last day of the Pinot Noir harvest. Hanzell was established in 1953 by James and Hana Zellerbach (Han-Zell, get it?) and is currently under it's 3rd ownership. The first planting back in '53 was 2 acres of Pinot Noir and 4 acres of Chardonnay. That has since grown to a total of 42 acres.