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  May Trip Summary

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Author Topic:   May Trip Summary
p5sky
Junior Member
posted 06-19-2012 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p5sky   Click Here to Email p5sky     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for the detailed review, you simply us more places to visit. That shipping deal from Hall is fantastic, especially in your circumstances.

Hawkeye, you mention Blue Hall. I may be seeing them on my July trip, I'll let you know how that goes.

IP: 24.205.181.115

gcb17
Junior Member
posted 05-25-2012 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gcb17   Click Here to Email gcb17     Edit/Delete Message
I just saw your post about Mark Porembski - Robin actually talked about that with us and mentioned his work at Anomoly, and his wife's work at Spottswoode (another Cab we want to try). We actually tasted the 09 Zeitgeist while at Behrens and thought it a good wine; we did not bring any home, but in retrospect I think this wine would really open up with a little time. It was very good, but we were trying to manage the space/number of bottles we were bringing home (4 here) and this was our 1st stop! We decided on the Drinkward Peschon this time.

[This message has been edited by gcb17 (edited 05-25-2012).]

IP: 108.9.21.136

gcb17
Junior Member
posted 05-25-2012 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gcb17   Click Here to Email gcb17     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Hawkeye,

Thanks for the kind words. I grew up in the tri-cities area, mainly Johnson City. I have been through the Chattanooga area plenty of times when I lived in Atlanta and visited home. I still love TN; just a beautiful part of the country. I'd love to enjoy a glass when we get back through that way!

You know, it's funny you ask about Redmon tasting fees. I did not get a receipt because I provided the card # with the wine club sign-up. When we got home and began review of the damage we noticed that the Redmon charge seemed high based on what we brought home - we figured it was either a tasting fee of $20 each OR she charged for a Cab instead of a blend - LOL. I think looking at the numbers it probably was a $20 tasting fee.

I wish I knew more about the Charnu location; I know they source all of their fruit and do not have an actual vineyard, but they do have a cave with their St. Helena offices where they do the tastings. My understanding is that Bob & Louise host all the tastings. We definitely want to visit next trip.

Lisa Redmon suggested Dancing Hares to us as Stacy is a friend of hers. Apparently Stacy used to host tastings for Lisa when they were out of town, found she enjoyed it, and convinced Bob Cook & Paula Brooks to provide tastings. They just recently started this, I believe. They taste in a nice, but small room they use as a kitchen and tech office or at a table outside if the weather cooperates; they also provide good cheese and breadsticks and bottled water. A couple of things about Dancing Hares, though: the tasting fee is steep @ $50 per. It is waived with purchase; however there is a 3 bottle minimum. So not a great situation if the wines don't wow you. Dancing Hares ranges from $85-$125. The have an all star winemaking team I understand.

Ha! I'm glad you mentioned Kelham as we do have them on our interest list. Your recommendation goes a long way for me. I appreciate the Howell Mountain vineyard suggestions as well - those mountain Cabs are just special and I know your fondness for TRB wines. We have yet to taste one of his wines, but aim to remedy that soon.

[This message has been edited by gcb17 (edited 05-25-2012).]

IP: 108.9.21.136

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-25-2012 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Chris,

I was just reading Charnu's website and found that their winemaker, Mark Porembski, is also the winemaker at Anomoly Vineyards who produce some fine Cabs that we like very much. This would be another place to put on your itinerary. the Anomoly Vineyards almost back up to Chase Family Vineyard, so you could make a stop at both.

His wife is the winemaker at Spottswoode Estates which produces one of our favorite Cabs, their Estate Cab. A little pricey, but definitely shows on the palate. Mark and his wife partner up at Zeitgeist Cellars, which I am going to have to check out. Funny how we are led to things!

Lee (Hawkeye)

IP: 173.247.28.96

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-25-2012 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Chris,

Where in Tennessee did you grow up? We live in the Chattanooga area (Hixson), moving here from Iowa (hence the Hawkeye) in 1974. Although we enjoy going back to visit Iowa, we have never looked back and have never been sorry. We are only about 20 minutes off I-75 so if you are ever going through, give us a shout and we will share a glass.

What a great report. I felt like we were with you on every stop. You have given me ideas for a couple stops in October.

The Hall Rutherford has to be one of our all time favorite stops, however, I do believe once is enough unless you are purchasing wines then you could go to St. Helena. I would go again if I were going to share the experience with friends. They do have some powerful Cabs.

Lisa Redmon-Mangelson is one of our favorite Napa people. She is passionate about her wines and rightly so. Just out of curiosity, did she charge a tasting fee? We are members of her wine club also. It sounds like we have similar palates.

I believe in October that we will check out Charmu. Being from Knoxville, they can't be all bad. Do they have tastings at their winery . . . I believe their website said it was in St. Helena.

Bennett Lane is another of our favorites. I was just looking at my wine inventory printout, and we have the 05, 06, 07, 08, and 09 Cab. What a flight tasting that would make. I am glad you agree about Maximus. The last person that went to BL on my recommendation, did not like it.

I checked Dancing Hares website and they said they are not open to the public. Did you have a special invitation?

And your last stop, O'Shaughnessy on Howell Mountain is one of our favorites also . . . and we, too are members of their wine club (similar tastes). We got both their 08 Cabs in our first wine club shipment. I believe the Mt. Veeder Cab was rated 98 by Parker and the Howell Mountain a 94. We have not broken the seal on either yet . . . but, the time is coming.

A great report, Chris. I really enjoyed reading it. A couple suggestions for your next trip:

Kelham Vineyards in St. Helena. Their tasting fee is a little stiff, but their wines are fabulous. They will not release their wines for 8 years after harvest. We have had some of their 01 Cab which is just about the best thing we have ever had. Will be trying the 03 tonight. Somehow, we missed the 02, but will take care of that in October.

Another is SALON St. Helena, the tasting room for Harris and Jones wineries. Both of these are Thomas Rivers Brown made wines. I was particularly fond of the Harris Jake's Creek vineyard Cab. The tasting fee is a little stiff but Asa is a great host and will talk your ear off.

Up on Howell Mountain, try Black Sears and Outpost, again both Thomas Rivers Brown made wines. We have not tried the Blue Hall Vineyard up there but will do that in October.

Lee (Hawkeye)

IP: 173.247.28.96

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-25-2012 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
You won't ever find folks on this board who complain about the lenght of a trip review, Chris. Especially when they are so full of interesting detail.
Thanks for the great read

IP: 71.65.244.48

gcb17
Junior Member
posted 05-25-2012 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gcb17   Click Here to Email gcb17     Edit/Delete Message
This will be my initial effort at writing up a trip summary and I will try and touch on the highlights for us. First, I have to mention how nice it was to run in the cool mornings compared to what we’ve been running in here on the gulf coast -very refreshing and the view wasn’t too shabby either!

We drove up Spring Mountain to Behrens Family Winery the afternoon we arrived and tasted with Robin. She did a great job detailing the path taken by the owners leading to where they are today and how they approach winemaking. It was nice to get a lot of the back story with each wine as we tasted. We tasted several Behrens wines and also a couple of others produced by their winemaker and a collaboration between Lisa Drinkward (Behrens) & Francoise Peschon. Great story about the birth of this collaboration - and was a very good wine. There were several good wines, but the standout for me was the Behrens 2009 Labor of Love - a blend of 67% Cab Franc, 20% Cab & 13% Petit Verdot. I cannot yet clearly describe the nose and flavors of wines, but this wine had great spicy aromas with dark fruit on the palate and a nice smooth finish. My partner’s favorite was the Drinkward Peschon (89% Cab, 11% Petit Verdot), and at $60 we feel a great value. We took home a few bottles but these two were the standouts. Tasting fee was $25 per/waived with purchase.

Our first full day was Friday, and what a great day that was. Started out with a nice run on a sunny 50 degree morning - absolutely perfect conditions. After breakfast our fist visit was Hall Rutherford; we had been looking forward to this visit after all we have heard on this forum and it did not disappoint. We were already familiar with Hall wines as we visited the St. Helena location last November; we loved the wines and joined their club last visit. I really cannot add anything more than what others have said before, but can echo that the setting/view is stunning and the cave/stonework and tasting room/chandelier are beautiful. Just a striking place. In terms of wine we tasted a couple of new wines (to us) including a 100% malbec which was very interesting (bigsemi may want to skip ahead J). Hall states it is produced in the Argentine style but with more ‘punch’, and I think that’s pretty accurate. I am a fan of Mendoza malbecs, and the Hall wines had some similarity but with some added complexity or power maybe? We shipped a few of these home. In addition we tasted the 2006 Bergfeld Cabernet and it was just a lovely wine with flavors of dark fruit and I got a little chocolate as well - with this vintage we now have the 06 through 08, so will be fun to compare after laying down for awhile. I have to mention that Hall had a great special for shipping - if you were shipping a case they charged $1/bottle for overnight. As we live in FL where we are already in the 90s it is the only was we would consider shipping wine right now- so for $12 we had a case overnighted and here before 11AM our first day back - sweet!

After lunch our next stop was Redmon where Lisa Redmon-Mangelson hosted us through a tasting of their three wines while discussing their history and winemaking philosophy. Lisa is just a very pleasant person to talk with and is so personable (she also loves Hawkeye). We really enjoyed all of the wines, but the Cabernet was especially good - very smooth with a nice long finish. My partner was really feeling the blend that day, so both reds got high marks. We brought some home and joined the club as well - great visit.

Friday evening we attended a ‘Meet the Maker’ dinner at Solbar where Charnu and Dancing Hares wines were featured (we had scheduled a visit to Dancing Hares previously and they had sent us the details for this event). We thought it would be a cool thing to try, and it turned out to be a great time. I won’t go into a lot of detail here but will say the food was excellent as were the wines. We had never heard of Charnu before, but thought their Cabs were very good, particularly the 07. Also the owners, Bob and Louise Dye, were very cool and Bob grew up in Knoxville, TN which is about an hour away from where I grew up. We were not able to visit Charnu this trip, but will certainly have them on the list for next time. We enjoyed Dancing Hares as well, but I will provide more detail when I highlight that tasting. One funny item here - we were poured a glass from each winery with the middle 3 courses, so 6 glasses in total. The first wine poured was the 03 Dancing Hares and our pourer/server was new I think. I was second from the end of the table and he poured our glasses over half full before one of his peers stopped him - we all had a good laugh over the mega pours. We met some great people and this was a lot of fun; would definitely do again.

We intentionally kept the weekend pretty light in order to enjoy some downtime and relaxation (while also avoiding increase in traffic/crowds). We were staying at Carneros Inn which is a beautiful property, the only negative being the distance from many of the places we enjoy visiting which are further up the valley. We visited Cade on Saturday and thought the property/views were stunning. We did the wine and cheese pairing and since we were staying at Carneros the fee was $15 per instead of $50, so that was great. The wines were good; we both especially enjoyed the 08 Howell Mountain Cabernet and took some home. We also tasted the Plumpjack Chardonnay and enjoyed it, which is a bit surprising as we don’t enjoy most Chards. I can count on one hand the number of Chardonnays we have purchased for ourselves, but this one seemed perfect for enjoying during the brutal FL summer so home it came.

We stopped by the Ancien Spring release event for a bit and sampled their latest Pinot’s. We found Ancien through Vintner’s Collective last November and really enjoyed the Russian River Pinot. That was reaffirmed with this visit and we also felt the Napa Mink Vineyard Pinot was a very nice wine - both had good smoke and spice.

We visited Bennett Lane Sunday and had a great time. You guys were right about the Maximus - very, very nice wine at a great price point. We also enjoyed the white Maximus and brought it home to enjoy this summer as well. The tasting room folks were great too.

We stopped by Vintner’s Collective before dinner and had another nice visit; friendly, knowledgeable folks there. This visit we really enjoyed the 08 Vinoce Mt. Veeder Proprietary Red (60% Cab Franc, 25% Cab, 15% Merlot). This trip has taught me a couple things about my current palate - I really enjoy mountain fruit and Cab Franc, and am liking wines of this composition. We also tried a very interesting Azur Rose which we also felt would be a great wine to enjoy this summer.

Our last day brought us to more great wines. We first visited Dancing Hares where Stacy hosted our tasting and a small tour of their facility and caves where we also sampled from barrels. They produce two wines - the Dancing Hares blend & Mad Hatter blend. The Mad Hatter is their lower price point wine and while good, we did not feel it stood up well compared to the Dancing Hares. It is comprised mainly of Merlot (59%) which is likely why we didn’t enjoy it quite as much. We were only able to sample the 03 Dancing Hares (47% Cab, 34% Merlot, 19% Cab Franc) during this visit, but we enjoyed it very much. We had already tasted this at the dinner at Solbar a few days before, as well as the 08 Dancing Hares - we enjoyed both very much. Unfortunately, the 08 had already sold out but we felt the 03 has aged nicely into a wine which is both smooth and complex on the palate. We have several of the 03 on weather hold and will welcome them this Fall. Stacy was a great hostess and the large sculpture of the ‘dancing hares’ from which the wine got it’s name was cool as well.

Our last stop that afternoon was at O’Shaughnessy up on Howell Mountain. Again, what beautiful vistas from these mountain vineyards. Just a lovely facility. We actually had a bit of bad luck with timing as they had sold out of their Howell Mountain Cabernet. As such, we tasted a Chardonnay, the 09 Howell Mtn. Merlot, and the 05 Mount Veeder Cabernet. We thought the Merlot was good and felt the mountain fruit made for more a Cabernet lover’s Merlot; however it did not ‘wow’ us. The 05 Mount Veeder, however, was an outstanding wine - probably my favorite of the trip. Both fruit and spice on the nose with great fruit on the palate. Just a very smooth wine with well-developed flavors and a long, smooth finish. Wonderful! We decided to join their club/allocation to make sure we get both these mountain Cabs for the cellar.

As I look at this now I typed up much more than I intended, so apologize for being long-winded. I want to thank everyone again for all the great suggestions and input. We did not make it to Chase Family or Summers this trip, but have both on the list for next time (maybe December).

Chris

IP: 108.9.21.136

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