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  Sonoma County     [all categories]
  Sonoma - Wineries to Visit
  Sonoma, Day 2

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Author Topic:   Sonoma, Day 2
posted 03-10-2011 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks Wolfman. I will look forward to reading your report, especially the overlap.


posted 03-10-2011 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Very nice report, Hawkeye! I am working on mine and I am excited because we have some overlap. It looks like we share some of the same opinions also.


posted 03-10-2011 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Well, Hawkeye, at least now you have been to Stryker! I am sorry that it didn't turn out to be a fave for you as it is for damambo and I, but that is ok too....it would be awfully boring if we all liked the same things.
Interesting though, that your sticking point is a lack of body because that has always been one of our greatest pleasures there...such nice full-flavor with enough viscosity to catch on the tongue and hang around for a good long finish. I'm thinking that something has changed with them that I've missed since our last visit 2 years ago.
We are out of all our Stryker wines now, so I guess I'll just have to squeeze them in next time....whenever that is.
I have a question regarding the Maple label zinfandel. Was it generally unappealing or was it just so tannic that you couldn't drink it? I'm asking because I read a review of their label on one of the food review sites, might have been yelp but I think it was that site with hedonism in the name, and the guy was saying that he had never had such a tannic zin before and had to "let it breathe" for a full 12 hours before he could drink it. And then it was a real gem in his opinion with storage potential for 10 years or more. Anyway, I think its interesting that Tina and Tom have figured that the making of the wine is not their 'thing' and will go back to persuing the 'growing' of the wine instead.
Thanks for such a great report. I have a few of these on my own list and will now have an idea what to expect.


posted 03-10-2011 07:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
The rain has stopped and the weather sunny and decent. Looking forward to a great day of tasting. Mrs. Hawkeye will go with me but says she will probably not taste. Today we will be in the Healdsburg area. Here we go . . .

ARMIDA WINERY - Wanted to stop here because of the Maple Zins that Yesilovewine likes so much. I had ordered the 07 Maple’s Maple Vineyard Zin a couple months ago, along with 08 Armida Maple Vineyard and the 07 Armida Maple Vineyard, Tina’s Block. We opened and tasted the 07 Maple’s Zin under their own label. I understand why they quit making their Zin, we poured out most of the bottle. It is probably fitting that they stick to growing the grapes and leave the winemaking to someone else. The 08 Armida Maple Zin was very tasty with lots of fruit and a very nice lingering finish. The 07 Tina’s Block did not meet our expectations as it was not as good nor did it have the smooth fruit of the 07. Their 06 Armida Stuhlmuller Vineyard Cab was tasting very nicely that day but we did not purchase any. Janet Linnett was the pourer on this day and quite friendly and knowledgeable. By the way, Mrs. Hawkeye was back in the tasting mood!

MILL CREEK WINERY - Kim Collins, the tasting room manager, led us through an array of wines offered by the winery. Since we skipped the whites, the first we tasted was the 07 DCV Zin which was a little to light bodied for my taste but did have a nice peppery finish. The 04 Alexander Valley Reserve Merlot was tasting quite well with good body and a nice finish, a very good Cab drinkers Merlot. The last tasting was of the 07 Sonoma Valley Cab which had great body and a nice smooth lingering finish. We did purchase a couple bottles of this Cab. They are members of the Visa Signature Card program, so our tasting was free.

EVERETT RIDGE WINERY - Again, we skipped the whites and tasted the reds. We liked two of the four we tasted. The first the 07 Estate Zin which had lots of fruit and Mrs. Hawkeye tasted a little chocolate. A nice smooth lingering finish rounded off at the end. This is the one we purchased to bring home. The 05 Alexander Valley Cab was very fruit forward with a lingering finish. They are members of the Visa Signature Card program, so our tasting was free.

It was lunchtime and I know that Mrs. Hawkeye is getting back into form because we went to the Center Street Deli and she had her chocolate shake. After lunch . . .

WILLIAMSON WINERY TASTING ROOM - This is our perennial MUST on the Sonoma County side. We tasted here with our small group last October and they all agreed that this was the tasting room of the day. We walked in and Dawn Williamson greeted us like we were family, and what a charmer she is. Last October, we had purchased the 06 Malbec and the 05 Cuvee which were new wines for us to taste so I was eagerly awaiting the tasting of the newer vintages. They did not disappont, however, today we purchased the 06 NV “Inspire” Cab, which was a dark ruby color in the glass with a very nice fruity nose. WOW, what a find. Williamson has many varietals that they offer in a range of prices so you are guaranteed that you will find something you like at a price you are willing to pay. While we were tasting, Bill Williamson sauntered in and out and gave his 2 cents worth. I again tried to get Bill to open his $500.00 Sojurn Cab to taste. I thought I was making some inroads when Bill said, “Let me go look for my corkscrew”. I guess he never found it because we didn’t see him again. These people know how to make wines and how to market them. It is such a pleasure to taste here. Oh, by the way, did I mention that the tasting was FREE and they even threw in some food tidbits to compliment the wines. We will definitely go back here again. They also host an Epicurean Dinner on Friday nights at the Dry Creek Kitchen featuring their wines which I hope to attend in the near future. Would you guess that I like these wines? No, I don’t own stock, but I do receive a FREE tasting when here . . . and so will you.

RAMEY WINE CELLAR - We had an appointment for a sit down tasting. The majority of Ramey wines are available at stores, even in Tennessee. The only one of note we tasted was the 06 Annum Cab. We probably would not taste here again.

STRYKER WINERY - Our last stop of the day and our palates were waning. I just do not have the enthusiasm for this winery as a lot of you do. I felt their Zins that we tasted were lacking in body. We were told that at Stryker they use the “free run” method for making their Zins. If I am correct, this is juice from the grapes that have not been pressed. Therefore, they do not get any of the color and boldness of the skins and stems. In my opinion, big mistake. I believe that a Zin should make you sit up and pay attention to what is going on. It should be bold, fruity, with a good finish. These wines did not do this for me. Just not enough body. They are members of the Visa Signature Card program, so our tasting was free.

All and all, a very good day. However, the majority of those tasted today will probably not be on our itinerary again. In this area, we will stay with Wilson, Mauritson, and a few others of that caliber. Even with our disappointments of the day, the Dry Creek area is still the place for Zinfandel!

After Stryker, we headed across the mountain to to the Stevenson Manor Best Western Inn in Calistoga for the remainder of our stay. I hear a lot about the problem of crossing the mountain on Hwy 28 because of the two points of road construction. Folks, the most you have to wait is 15 minutes! No big deal.

Days 3, 4 and 1/2 5 will be posted on the Napa side.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 03-10-2011).]

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 03-10-2011).]


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