Saturday March 14th was the big Barrel Tasting event for me. This time I was to be accompanied by my local Sonoma County group of friends, as well as some out of town wine blogging/twitter friends, including @Robbin_G, @Winebratsf, @BrixChick_Liza, @MmWine, and local friends @Oenophilus and @SonomaWineGuy.
We made the stops in Dry Creek Valley at the usual suspects, including Truett Hurst, Papapietro Perry, Kokomo Winery and Michel-Schlumberger. My non-wino friends had a great time at all of my favorite wineries, laughing at the glasses from TH or loving the mystery barrel (and winemakers) at Kokomo and especially the photoshoot in the rows of barrel at MS. They all loved the wine too, thus cementing each winery into my winery hall of fame (to be mentioned at a later date).
The one thing all four of my favorites have in common (other than the Dry Creek location) is that each winery has their own style of Pinot Noir. All delicious in their own way, but all very different with wines that range from lighter fruity flavors like the 2005 Pinot Noir from MS to the robust raspberry flavor of the Pinots at PP (specifically the Elsbree Vineyards).
Pinot has been my one true wine love for some time. It wasn’t until I discovered this varietal that I started drinking and loving wine. After years of living in Oceanside, Ca and having a roommate that would always drink heavy Zins from Ravenswood, I discovered the joy of a lighter wine in the La Creama 2003 Pinot. Of course the movie Sideways came out a few years later and I couldn’t order a glass of wine without someone asking me about that movie. Five years later, this wine has grown in popularity and the amount of vineyards growing this grape just keeps on getting larger. This only fuels my love for this grape.
The two Sonoma County appellations that grow some of the best (IMO) grapes are the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. The fog provides the perfect blanket for these demanding grapes.
Saturday night was the second “big event.” My first ever Twitter Taste Live where I would be able to stream live with Matt from A Good Time with Wine on the #TTL website trying none-other than my favorite wines…. Yes, it was a Passion for Pinot night on #TTL.
About 15 wine bloggers met up at Palette Art Café in Healdsburg (Great food and FREE WIFI), socialized, ate some dinner and drank many different Pinots. Unfortunately after a long day of Barrel Tasting and a stolen iPhone, I had to leave early (I am so sorry I wasn’t able to stay).
Sunday morning I was up and ready to tackle my very last day of Barrel Tasting. This time I was caffeined up and excited to hit some new wineries in the Russian River Valley. I met up with Danelle (aka @daynell), fellow wine bloggers (see above) and Samantha Vega from 101.7 The Fox (aka @1017TheFox) at Joseph Swan. Here we tried some pretty good samples of Zins. After leaving, Danelle, Samantha and I got lost for the rest of the group… And with no cell reception and an apparent lack of knowledge of the area, we ended up not being able to find Olivet Road to meet up with the posse.
This adventure led us to Westside Road where we passed by two friends of mine who were frantically waving at the passing cars, trying to persuade people to visit the Thomas George Estates (formally the Davis Bynum tasting room). Of course, I had to stop.
Here we sampled two delicious Pinots. One where I am coming out and saying was the best (in the barrel) Pinot Noir I had all weekend. – This was an 2008 Lancel Creek Russian Rover Valley Pinot. A perfect blend of strawberries with a hint of cherry. It wasn’t too dark or too light… I guess I would have to call it “just right.” It even paired perfectly with my vegetarian tamale that they were serving.
This new winery is definitely worth checking out. Their tasting room currently pours several different Pinots, reminding any visitor that the Russian River appellation is a great place to visit and drink some great Pinot Noir.
Barrel Tasting this past Sunday was supposed to be day # 2 of new adventures and discoveries… Basically, an extension of the agenda from Saturday.
The Copain tasting room is located on top of a hill on Eastside Road, directly across from the recreation park. It is the only winery that I know of that is on that stretch of the road, so people will most likely only visit through word of mouth or because they were simply driving past it. I only heard about it because they recently joined Twitter.
This posting is my attempt to start the word of mouth on this place (actually I mean continue the WOM) and let people know that if they want to taste some great Anderson Valley pinots, a Russian River GSM blend and a place to have a picnic and enjoy THE BEST VIEW from a winery – Then they should make sure to stop on by the Copain tasting room.
When Thea finally got bored with me taking pictures of the view, we headed over to Mill Creek Winery. I am not going to waste my time to write much about this place because it was neither good nor bad. It was nothing worth going back for IMO.
The next stop: Michel-Schlumberger (aka @M_Schlumberger) to visit Judd Wallenbrock, the President, General Manager and head blogger at their award winning blog – The Benchland Blog. Judd and crew have seemed to perfect the art of barrel tasting weekend. Visitors are instantly greeted by Judd and given an explanation of where you should go and a brief history of the winery. Then guests travel through the cellar to taste out of the barrels, then into the next room to try already bottled wines, then lastly into their main tasting room. This is where my friend Joe(y) poured us some wines that go back to 1989. Of course Thea and I had to purchase the last case of 2001 Dry Creek Valley Pinot Noir (yes, I said it… There is one winery that does make Dry Creek Pinot). After trying some aged Pinots and Cabs, we made out way into the wine club members tasting room and ended up drinking more Pinot on a picnic bench while discussing wine, social media and Judd’s new discovery of TwitPic.
Then we were onto Mounts Family Winery (aka @MountsFamWinery). It is off the same beaten road as Michel-Schlumberger, in the middle of a vineyard. Blink on West Dry Creek road and you will miss it. But this is a small family winery that you shouldn’t miss out on. Lana greets her visitors with a smile that let’s you know she is committed to customer service. Their Malbec out of the barrel was very tasty as well.
Around 4:30, a half hour after the official ending time of the event, Thea and I decided that we were most certainly not done yet. If you know anything about Thea and me, you know that to be the truth. We headed over to harass Jim at Truett Hurst once again. Here we tried some Petit Verdot and talked Jim’s ear off for an hour or so.
All together a perfect day, regardless of the fact that we were wine-napped by Judd and strayed WAY off our agenda…. Oh, wait… There is always next weekend.
I am just sitting in Palette Art cafe, enjoying their free wifi and drinking a soy mocha. Not much to say, but I feel like writing (and trying not to over think the proposal that I need to write).
The song “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman just started playing which instantly brings a rush of nostalgic happiness. This one song can sum up my entire high school life. The memory of after school in 9th grade with my group of girlfriends is still a strong image that will always stay with me. Back in the day before the internet, itunes and right when CD’s were becoming the norm; we would sit in front of the stereo and call into our favorite “Top 40” radio station to request “Fast Car” everyday, sometimes even several times each night. We would all giggle profusely when our voice would come on the radio requesting the song, usually forgetting to attempt to tape the song because we were also singing and dancing at the top of our lungs to the poetic words.
You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove
Even though the song is about a couple wanting to move INTO the suburbs, the lyrics of the song seemed to also fit with what we saw as our teenage girl, middle class, suburban angst. We just wanted to get away from the redundancies of life. Our parents, siblings, heartbreak, homework. We wanted to “finally see what it means to be living.” We wanted to “be someone, be someone, be someone.”
Unfortunately – We were only fourteen. Only two years to go until we could proudly state our independence and freedom, until we could legally get in a fast car and drive away…
Fourteen years later, anytime I hear this song in my car, I turn up the radio full blast and sing at the top of my lungs. I don’t feel the same angst as I once did, but it is still nice to get away sometimes. Driving and singing at the top of my lungs still does it for me.
I have been “tagged” multiple times on Facebook with this Myspace inspired spam called 25 Random Things about you. Inspired by David LeBovitz’s blog post “89 random things about me” I decided to also post mine on my blog, mainly because it explains a lot about me and the reasoning behind this blog.
1. I am not sure how to start off these random notes about me. I know I am going to over think everything, get self conscious and start over….
2. I only rewrote five of them and I decided to keep one at the last moment and it is the fact that I love sauerkraut and am craving it right now.
3. Sparkling wine from any region is my drink of choice, though it gives me the worst hangover.
4. I became a vegetarian at age 12; right after the McDonald’s opened in my town.
5. At 16, I worked at Windsor Waterworks. Being around the smell of hotdogs, cotton candy and pepperoni pizza’s, I started craved the taste of a hot dog again. I bought one, went into the break room and ate one bite before spiting it out. I have not purposely eaten meat since.
6. I hate the term “Sleep is for the weak.” I love sleep, and I always have needed at least 7 hours a night to feel sane the next day. It is healthy and I hate that people try to make me shameful for this.
7. I would love to open my own gourmet vegetarian cafe. I love to cook, though I would not make a good chef because I tend to be clumsy with a knife and I hate recipes.
8. Ever since watching the Real World Season 2 in Los Angeles I have wanted to be on a Reality Show. Though I have never moved forward with this dream because I am not as over the top as anyone who is on these shows (well, anyone after the Real World Vegas – when reality shows jumped the shark).
9. I will admit it – I love the Reality Shows on VH1. I will watch no matter how many times it takes for Bret Michaels or Flavor Flav to find “true love.”
10. I fear I have become desensitized to the thought of true love.
11. I have a very deep spiritual side that no one knows about. I plan on connecting with this during a month long trip to India.
12. As a child, my first “dream job” was to be a lawyer, my second was to be a teacher, and third (and final) was to be a marketing executive.
13. I have always loved watching TV commercials and when I discovered that someone actually got paid to come up with the ideas for them, I knew that is what I wanted to do with my life.
14. I break things easily, including wine glasses and two of my friend’s pinky fingers, though I have never broken any of my own bones.
15. I am thankful for Corelle dishes.
16. The reason I have a tattoo on my wrist that purposely says “Breath” without the “e” on the end is to remind me to breathe before I do or say anything without thinking (like spell things wrong).
17. The reason my Twitter name is ShaRayRay started with an email from my friend Melody. A co-worker saw this email and soon Sharayray, Ray Ray or Ray-Dawg became my name. I was once introduced to a client as “Sharayray.” I have a feeling one co-worker even thought that was my name.
18. The reason my blog is currently called “Shana; not out on VHS yet” is because when I was asked if I had seen “No Country for Old Men” my mindless response was that it hasn’t come out on VHS yet. Seconds later I realized my mistake and the whole office laughed at me.
19. I am great at making people laugh, though I do it unintentionally. When I actually try to be funny – I am not.
20. I have been known to yell loudly and demand to be the center of attention, and then when everyone is looking at me, I sometimes turn red and get embarrassed for my outburst.
21. When I am embarrassed, I am not really that embarrassed. I still love the attention.
22. I did not enjoy eating tofu bacon.
23. I really, truly wanted to enjoy tofu bacon.
24. For the life of me, I do not understand the obsession that people have with bacon.
25. Though, cupcakes I get.