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  Sonoma Valley Reserve

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Author Topic:   Sonoma Valley Reserve
yesilovewine
Member
posted 06-12-2011 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Received notice that this event may be offered again in the fall, and perhaps become a quarterly offering in the future.
Winery response was apparently very good, and it looks like patron response was positive overall.
I would encourage anyone looking for a good introduction to Sonoma VALLEY wines consider this event. Its a great deal- 4 winery/vineyard tours with winemaker interaction at most, lunch, and chauffered travel for under $100.
With something like 20 theme options there are tours to fit most interests, so finding something worth seeing won't be a problem.
Watch the websites featuring Sonoma Valley events for future dates.

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-18-2011 11:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Sunday we did the Cabernet Tour which, due to administrative mis steps had a few trials.
Beyond the hiccups, this too was a fun day and if weather had cooperated it would have been stellar.
Our first winery was Auldessa; they have a very nice tasting facility in the old Pope building in Glen Ellen. Its right across the street from the Jack London Saloon and Jack London Lodge.
We were treated to a wonderful tasting that started with their Cabs and then somehow flowed into an exploration of nearly all their wines. We ended up with extra time somehow and, well, good things ( for us) happened.
Eric Bradley is the winemaker here and he spent the full hour + talking with us about his wine, the choices they make in their wine production, his history with Richard Arrowood....it was AWESOME! The key here, in my opinion, was that Eric talked WITH us, not to us or at us, and that makes all the difference. He is as engaging socially as he his talented and we just can't say enough good things about this visit. Eric is also the winemaker for Sojourn Cellars, so those of you who have enjoyed that wine will certainly like these, and vice versa.
Oh, yeah, DO NOT miss a chance to grab some of the Cabernet/Chocolate sauce.... !
Next stop, Amapola Creek. More Administrative hiccups left us hanging a bit here, but we did have lunch and a very nice zinfandel to go with it. This is the new venture by Richard Arrowood, and he was a very gracious host to our group. Again, listening to a master describe his craft was just fascinating...I can see why he was a successful college professor along the way as his easy style of discussion sort of cathes you up in the story. We purchased a bottle of the '07 Monte Rosso Vyd Zinfandel, which was the wine we were served with lunch ( it goes great with a steak sandwich! )
Next Stop was Stone Edge Farm, a certified organic facility. This was an interesting experience on several levels....being an organic producer gave a new twist to things, and they only have 2 wines, a Cab and their Surround blend.
Final stop, Hamel Family Wines which is about as small as you can get; they have neither winery nor tasting room at the moment but they have big plans and I suspect that we will all have heard of them and want to know more in a few years. They had 2 Cabs to offer- the '06 and '07 Pamelita Estate Cabernet. With 290 cases of '06 and only 178 cases of the '07 made, this was by far our smallest producer. We were offered a barrel tasting of the 2010 Tejon Estate Zin, and folks, watch for this one. YUM Bunnies.!!
I have to applaud the Hamels' effort to take the time to prepare a space for us to come and see what they offer. The yukky weather was an unfortunate turn of events for them since outdoor seating was the only option, but they made the best of things and did a great job, in my opinion.

So, our second tour could have used some improvement over all, but administrative screw-ups happen in the best of situations even in long term events, so nothing that we experienced would prevent us from giving this another try. Its a good idea, it offers some great opportunities to see places that you would not usually get access to, and all you have to do is sit and enjoy the day- no driving/no worries!
Our hats are off to the organizers and we hope to do it again.

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-18-2011 11:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Sonoma Reserve tours:
Saturday we did the Limited Production Winery tour which included Westwood, Haywood, Little Vineyards and GlenLyon. Of this group, only Westwood and Little Vineyards currently have tasting facilities, but Haywood is planning to open a tasting room at the Plaza later in the year.
Production at Westwood is less than 2000 total cases- their largest production is 640 cases of their Rhone Blend. We talked with John ( sorry no last name in my notes) the wine maker for a good while here and had a nice lesson in his wine making philosophy and the effect of vineyard location on wine flavors.
Next was Haywood, my personal favorite, where we had our lunch ( provided as part of the tour package) and then a guided vineyard tour given by Peter Haywood himself. Such an interesting man and so down to Earth....no pretense here. His property is beyond the Ravenswood tasting room and sweeps around the canyon there. A mite under 300 acres of God's country where you could sit and gawk for a couple hours, never tiring of the view. Peter is one of the largest growers in Sonoma Valley and grows 11 grape varietals.
His Morning Sun zinfandel is available in local restaurants and I highly recommend it.

Next stop was Little Vineyards which is located in close proximity to B.R. Cohn winery. These were not our favorite wines, but we enjoyed our hosts immensely and aside from our tasting with small bites we were treated to a short tour of the property where we were treated to a visit to the on-site recording studio ( yes, it has had some big name artists at the mics; most recently Elvin Bishop)which is made from recycled materials, and the cottage which is available for vacation rental. As music is a big part of this family, it's no surprise that several of the wines have a musical name. We liked the Band Blend ( Zin, Syrah, Cab and Cab Franc) well enough to buy a bottle.
Last visit for the day was GlenLyon Winery, an ultra small producer located in Glen Ellen. A wonderful visit, hosted in the home of owners Squire ( yes, his given name) and Suzy Fridell which over looks their 10 acres of grapevines in a stunning setting. Squire is uber proud of his new "state of the art" winery and he would just love to show it to you.
The Fridells are performers by former trade- Suzy was a dancer on Broadway and Squire has done numerous commercials but is probably most known as Ronald McDonald, which he played after the first commercial Ronald retired. ( Not Willard Scott, the other guy). As you might imagine, their presentation about their wine and vineyards was super enjoyable- they are really funny and very passionate about their wine. Suzy made delicious treats to accompany the wines we sampled and she made an unbelievable goat cheese and dried fruit spread that pairs beautifully with their Parmalee Hill Chard. Their wines are currently sold only through allocation.
Any of these places would be very interesting to visit, especially if you can score a conversation with the wine maker. They are all interesting people with interesting stories.

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-18-2011 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi damombo. Yup, here I am. Hope the hub's knee is feeling better. Having had knee surgery, I can relate to the yukky recovery. Hang in there....find something he DOESN'T like and won't care if you drink....it'll make YOU feel better.
Ok, Reserve review comin' up

IP: 98.232.221.183

damombo
Member
posted 05-18-2011 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Thank goodness you are back! Things are slow on the old boards...

IP: 98.198.194.134

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-18-2011 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Greetings friends.
We are back and I will review this event in a couple days. I want to put my notes together. Please look for it on the Thing to Do category.
Short version- DO THIS EVENT!!!-
This was the first year so there were some glitches, but the concept is excellent, the wineries love it and it is about the best thing next to a privately scheduled one-on-one that you will ever have a crack at. For the price, you can't beat it.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 05-18-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

damombo
Member
posted 05-09-2011 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Why was Dr. Suess running through my head?

Have a great trip and enjoy your private tour!!

IP: 98.198.194.134

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-09-2011 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Response to this has been slow so far- less than a week to go and we are the only ones booked on our tour!!
Still working on the full itinerary for our trip. Will check back when we return; itinerary may be very loose this time as we have a mouse in the house and can't get it out!!!! I'm panicked we won't be rid of it before we leave...:} I'm spending all my time disinfecting stuff instead of planning.
Hawkeye, y'all stay safe. That rising river is not lookin' too good.
Damombo, good luck with the hubby's rehab.
Everybody else- be prepared for several long trip reports when we get back next week...hoping to score between 26 and 30 visits this time.
Cheers!

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-05-2011 09:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Y'all, I was looking over the options on this event and I have to say that its an impressive collection of choices. Many of these places produce less than 2000 cases; no wonder you never hear of them!
I'm going to work on making this event.
Will keep you posted.
As a side note, while researching the places in the Reserve event, I came across this website for Bennett Valley Grape Growers which has some interesting information about that area ( located, generally speaking, east of Santa Rosa between Hwy 12 and 101. Find Matanzas Creek winery and that is the area).

IP: 98.232.221.183

Hawkeye
Member
posted 04-05-2011 08:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Damombo,

You don't have top look for it, I said it, and I will back it up. That is how confident I am that you will enjoy their Pinot. Just sayin'

IP: 68.169.189.111

damombo
Member
posted 04-04-2011 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Speaking of Sojourn - I just made an appointment.
Hawkeye - Taking you up on the idea that I might like their Pinots... I'll have to go back and find it, but I believe you said something about sending me a bottle of wine if I'm not impressed. Bwahahahaha - I'll find that post, never fear!

IP: 98.198.194.134

Hawkeye
Member
posted 04-04-2011 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Yesilovewine, I must have done the comparison tasting because all 7 of the wines I tasted were set up side-by-side. WOW, what a lineup! We came home with six of the seven, all four of the Pinot and 2 out of 3 of the Cabs. I don't remember being charged a tasting fee.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 04-04-2011).]

IP: 68.169.189.111

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-04-2011 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hawkeye,
Regarding Sojourn, did you go for the regualar tasting or did you have an appointment for the Pinot/Cab comparitive option?

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-02-2011 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Its quite an array, isn't it?? I will do some research as well and share what I come up with. Might help somebody along the way...

IP: 98.232.221.183

Hawkeye
Member
posted 04-02-2011 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Yesilovewine,

This does look interesting. I have copied all of the visits to my WINERIES TO VISIT file and will take a closer look at them for my October trip. Sojurn is definitely worth visiting. Makes me wish I had another trip before October.

IP: 68.169.189.111

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-01-2011 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Just called the director- a new event this year so no way to get reviews.
You sign up for 1 tour/day...spend about an hour at each winery....boxed lunch is provided and you eat at one of the wineries
on your tour.
I have never heard of many of these venues, so if you check this out and know about some of the more obscure places, please give a shout out.
Hawkeye...I see that Sojourn is participating one day....!

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 04-01-2011 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Kids!
Saw this event on the sonomavalleywine.com events calendar and wondered if anyone has been to it! I'm a little confused about how it works. Some unbelievable options seem to be possible....just up my alley.

IP: 98.232.221.183

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