Archive for March, 2010


Barrel tasting anyone?

Ok, last weekend was so long ago, but, I still have to type this up..if only to remind myself where I’d rather be.

I was in Sonoma last weekend with a friend, simply to go to some wineries I love and discover some new ones. We stayed in Santa Rosa, a first for me as I prefer the square in Sonoma, but, this really changed my mind.

First off, we discovered (much to my lack of research), that there was a barrel tasting event going on in the Russian River Valley and most of the wineries I was either a club member of or that we wanted to go to, were all part of it….meaning it’s cheaper to pay the $30 dollars for the stupid blue wristband that makes it look like there are hoards of people who just got out of the hospital (mental ward, of course). I am not a “tour” guy, and I usually don’t follow the crowds (and yes, there were crowds), but, this was an awesome event. Met some great people and found some real treasures in vino.

Wineries that stick out?:

Artiste – You have to love Bion Rice and his AWESOME bordeaux blends, we have turned so many people onto him and once they try, they join the cult following…and the art work, incredible (thanks for signing the bottles, Carlos!)

Meeker- Ed has spoken about them quite a bit, HUGE petit syrah getting bottled in 24 months, can’t wait to try it more mature, and the price for the really nice wines, um, great…a $64 a case cab that tasted like a $30 a bottle cab should.

Bell – (ok, not in Sonoma, but, have to mention it) Awesome wines and the $45/bottle cab was an incredible wine

Elyse- (another not sonoma, but, we spent a couple hours on 29 on Friday) I have always liked their wines, but, the $80/bottle cab for $35, had to buy…

Larkmead- oh yes, they closed before 3:30 on a Friday; I like them, but, not going back anytime soon (have to say that the woman who came out to meet was was very nice about it though)

Limerick Lane – Always like them, great zins

Christopher Creek – Always good wines and GREAT people (the sausage was awesome)

Wooden Head – I am a club member and it was awesome, we spend the rest of the afternoon there and I love the 2007 Guido Zin, their Pinot Noir’s are great as well

Brogan – Met the owner/winemaker at Wooden Head and after a great conversation, she allowed us to intrude on her the next morning for a tasting of a number of er wines (and yes, that smokey pinot from her fathers rach is great). The 17 point merlot was a find, very unique and a must try!

Night life? The Chrome Lotus was a great bar with a really good music venue, cover was low and the crowd really filled in. I would go there again in a heartbeat!

Have to mention Checkers, next to Wasabi Tex, The owner is an awesome woman and the staff is all like family, wish I was more hungry, but, the pasta is great!


Time to wine?

Well, it’s coming close to the next trip to wine country…let’s see who is out there and opinions to chime in!

I have been to Napa and Sonoma more times than I can remember. Been through the Santa Cruz foothills many times and finally did Paso Robles down to Santa Barbara last year. Italy once, but so good a trip.

Let’s see what others think out there.. I am staying with a friend in Santa Rosa (Sonoma Valley) and most of the wineries will be there (prevent a drunken drive on the Oakville Grade, although that can be entertaining…for others).

What will we be doing? Domain Carneros (club member, free wine and great treatment makes it a must), Audelsa (Glen Ellyn, awesome cab and merlot), Enkidu (Kenwood, very new and good), WoodenHead (southwest of Santa Rosa, diamond of a find), Artiste (Healdsburg, club member and Bion rocks), Thumprint (Healdsburg, Starr is awesome and the wine is very good), Goldeneye (Alexander Valley, enough said here…PINOT)….Not to say we are going all those places in the weekend, but, that “type” of wineries.

Any input, suggestions, comments, slams, critiques, etc?

Also, going by the “Wine Cave” south of the Sonoma Square (common table environment, small and cozy…owner is hilarious and knows his wine well…all the food is SPICY, but good).



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