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.