Toasty summer weather nurtures superbly soft Cabernets and Merlots. Some of California’s biggest wine names—Gallo, Clos du Bois—are found here among the Alexander Valley vineyards
Medlock Ames turns out some terrific dark reds, highly drinkable on an outdoor table next to its gorgeous tasting room in a quiet part of the Alexander Valley. But come 5 p.m., the tasting room’s back door opens onto the world of a dark-wood saloon. Herbs picked from the garden are muddled and slapped to concoct some original cocktails at Alexander Valley Bar. A brilliant transition to the evening—aka winetailing. medlockames.com; Tasting from $15; 13414 Chalk Hill Rd., Healdsburg; 707/431-8845.