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Author Topic:   May Trip - Sonoma
posted 05-29-2012 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Trecini also makes an exceptional Sauv. Blanc IMO. They took best in class at Harvest Fair year before last.


posted 05-29-2012 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message

No, I don't recall you mentioning Trecini. But will add to my notes about their Merlot. Went to their website & looks to be mainly a Merlot house and very reasonable. Guess what, they have a Rockpile Zin! Office in Santa Rosa open 11 - 3 and need appointment. Maybe something for your upcoming visit.


Have made a note about the Parker's Estate SB and will see if we have locally as well.


posted 05-27-2012 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Thank you for that tip. I've wanted to taste Robert Young wines for ever, but the first year we were in the area was right after he died, and I just felt that it would be weird to go...don't even know if they were re-opened yet at the time. I am very interested in this SB by Kelly and will absolutely look into it.
I keep meaning to mention Trecini to you...did I do that and forget? That is, without question, the best Merlot that ever crossed these lips. Fruit forward with a beautiful finish...just like silk. I get dreamy thinking about that wine.
We ae currently working on our summer whites for the porch...I'm heavily into the Suzy's Toast Rousanne by Glen Lyon at the moment, and the Sauvignon Blanc by Parker's Estate...a wine I took a chance on at the grocery for $9.99. ...that was a good one.
I think that the busses really hit Sonoma Valley and the south county worse than the upper regions because of the proximity to SF and Napa and because they are easier to get to than on those windy roads up north.
We try to go for the smallest places we can find on the weekends to avoid that predicament.
Keep posting, I'm taking notes!

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 05-27-2012).]


posted 05-26-2012 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks, yesilovewine, for the nice comments. You did mention that Mauritson had nice SB's, but them and the rest will have to wait until next trip. Gotta save something for next time!

Did make it out briefly while Mrs RC at the spa.

Deerfield Ranch Winery: all tastings in the cave. Very nice touch. However, didn't get a chance to try. It is the weekend now and the tour buses are at every winery! They had 2 pourers.....1 had a group of 10+ from a bus, and the other was busy with the other 15 or so. So, me as a single didn't have a chance. Next time though.

Across the street to Kunde. Great grounds and nice area to sit with a picnic or to just enjoy a glass/bottle. Again, about 8 tour buses in the parking lot plus a couple of limos. Packed inside. No tasting. Again, next time though.

Ledson: Was going there anyway to pick up lunch for us to eat back at the hotel before we headed over to Round Pond in Napa for the Olive Mill tour. So, I did a tasting there. I was met at the door and the gentleman took me into a room that was set up for a group of 30 due in. He said he had time, so was fine by me! Don't have a Riesling back home and have a friend that likes Rieslings, so tried/bought their 2009 RRV Riesling Dry. A Little sweet, but good. Does have a dry finish. Bought their 2009 RRV Sauv Blanc. Pretty much what you expect in a SB. Next their 2010 Carneros Chard 'Tres Frais'. Fairly acidic on the front for a Chard and is unoaked. Smoothed out a little, but a no go for me. On to the reds. 2004 Alexander Valley Merlot.....only Merlot purchased so far. Full body and heavy fruit, but fairly low tannins. Still would need to be pared for me to enjoy. Ok, I did try their Cabs: 2007 Sonoma County Cab & 2007 Alexander Valley Cab 'Elegance'. Both were OK, lighter tannins than most Cabs, good fruit taste, but not my cup of tea (or wine). Lastly, 2006 Dry Creek Valley Zin. Jammy as damombo would say....lots of fruit taste and very good. Not bad at $32, but again, no purchase from me.

OK, now that's it from Sonoma. See you over on Napa board later.


PS. Almost forgot. At dinner last night at The Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg (if you have never been, please go here. Absolutely amazing dinner. We did their Chef's tasting menu and was great. Ate thing that I would never order and were superb. Anyway, on Friday nights they have a guest sommelier. Last night was Jim Young representing his wife's label Kelley Young Wines. He manages their 'other' business Robert Young Estate. He was pouring her 2010 Sauv Blanc. How lucky is that! Our favorite wine. This was an exceptional wine. I would rank near the top of all SB I have tasted. Citrusy but not acidic. Light, crisp. But the surprise was how it smoothed out to a finish much like a Chard. Jim spent a good bit of time explaining how they achieved this.....picking the fruit a little early and then aging in new French Oak barrels for 4 months until transfering into stainless. More to it than that, but that the jist. Anyway, put this on your list. Very good SB. www.kelleyyoungwines.com.

[This message has been edited by RC456 (edited 05-26-2012).]


posted 05-25-2012 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
One vote for HUGELY AWESOME!!!
Great Report...all the right stuff for this reader.
Should have told you that the Mauritson Sauv. Blanc is worth drinking and you may want a few of those on hand.
We are members at Harvest Moon and just love the "quaintness" of that place. Enjoyed one of his Zins just the other night. I insisted that we buy a bottle of the sparkling Zin when it was offered last fall but have yet to open it. Looking forward to the "interesting twist" on our favorite varietal.
I think that you will be happy with your Matrix PN purchase. My notes for that wine are a giant ...and I don't make many giant ones. That was another surprising PN producer for us...we are learning that we can, indeed, be taught. ( That's not to say it won't be a lengthy process, however... )
I really believe that you need to try some of the smoother Zinfandels, like the Dutcher Crossing Maple Vineyard and the Wilson Tori Vineyard...and Armida's Tina's Block...any of those could turn the tables.
thanks again for such a detailed review of your trip!
Hoping the Mrs feels better for your Napa excursions.....


posted 05-25-2012 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message
May 2012 Sonoma

Have written each evening and have a little time to go ahead and post most of the Sonoma side of things. May get to a few more places in the morning while Mrs. RC enjoys her time at the spa.

Day 1, Wednesday: Bright, beautiful day. Clear as can be, low 70’s and on the breezy side.

1. Lynmar Estates: Great Pinot Noir house. 2009 Russian River Valley PN was our favorite. Blend of PN from 6 different vineyards in the RRV. Bright & spicy. WS 91. Also tasted 2009 Quail Hill Vineyard PN. Rich with peppery finish. 2009 Hawk Hill Vineyard PN would have thought it was a Zin had I not watched him pour…really bold w/ more tannins than what I’m used to with a PN. So, you Zin lovers might like this PN. After tasting the Hawk Hill, sorta killed the other 2 PN’s poured (Freestone & Terra de Promissio). Had decided on getting some of the 2009 RRV PN shipped home (they ship direct to all states but Utah) and at the last minute decided to try the Chard he was pouring…..and we are glad we did! Really great. 2009 RRV Chardonnay is definitely not your normal oaky or buttery Chard. Has big fruit taste up front with citrus kicker…again could have been fooled into thinking a Sauv Blanc. Added 3 bottle of the Chard to the 3 PN to ship home. Really great place. Will make this a regular stop on future trips.
2. Hook & Ladder: This may be very picky on my part, but these were some of the smallest pours I have ever seen since we have been coming to Wine Country. My wife & I always share tasting…..but was really hard to do here. Barely enough to get two sips out of. Don’t get me wrong, we will generally dump more than we swallow, but really short pours that just got under my skin! I looked around at the other guest and she was not just singling us out. But anyway, was not impressed with much of the things I was looking for: PN, SB, or Merlot. Tried their Gewurztraminer and was not a late harvest, but really too sweet. Believe it or not, bought their Zin blend called Station Ten. Needed a Zin in storage for guest (my brother mainly) and we found this unexpectedly good after being disappointed on the others. But being a blend probably will kill it for the real Zin lover…..lots of fruit but low tannins.
3. Harvest Moon. Randy was behind the counter & pouring today which is always good. What better than to have the main guy pouring while giving insights, opinions, and suggestions. Picked up his 2008 PN and 2011 Estate Gewurztraminer. The PN is just what you look for in a great PN and the Gewurzt is an early harvest that is really dry with high acidity. Really good. Tried his Sparkling Zin that he makes in the champagne method. It was good in an unusual way, but passed on buying.

Audible was called after Harvest Moon and headed way south to drop in at Jucuzzi….not for the wines, but for the Olive Press store. Mrs. RC needed to stock up on a variety of Olive Oils and such. Check them out online….ship free with $75 purchase.

Last for the day: Didn’t make it back into the RRV until dinner reservations at Cork’s which is on property at Russian River Vineyards. But did buy a couple of bottles of their 2010 RRV PN to ship home…..had this with our meal and we both liked a lot. Got to meet Chester, who is the face and namesake on a couple of their wine offerings.

Day 2, Thursday: Bright & sunny! Again in low 70’s & breezy.

1. Started today at the Windsor Oaks Vineyards. Not on the wine maps that we are all used to using, but look for Chalk Hill and Windsor Oaks has adjacent property. Over 700 acres to be exact. Appx 350 of that planted. Mainly a grower for other wineries (Chalk Hill one of them), they do reserve 5% of the top yield to produce under their own label. Will be expanding that to 10% in the future. This is by appointment only and do have wine clubs. Don’t want this to start sounding too much like an advertisement, but you got to check them out! Go to their website: http://www.windsoroaks.com for more info. We did their personalized tour….about 3 hrs. Brian Khoury, their Estate Business Development Mgr, took us all over the property. He was very knowledgeable and passionate about all that they do there. Took the time in the vineyards to show and explain many different aspects of fruit growing, techniques, how they get the fruit from the vines through the winemaking process, and, ultimately into a glass. I recommend highly to spend time with Brian if you truly love the “behind the scenes” info of winemaking and running of a vineyard. They grow & make a variety.
We tasted (and bought) the following: 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, 2010 Sauv Blanc, 2009 Reserve Zin (yes, me a Zin….moderate tannins but big fruit upfront), 2008 Reserve PN 4 Dijon Clones (really great!), 2008 Malbec Mountainside (amazing color & texture), and lastly 2009 Rose of Pinot Noir “Vin Gris” (chill this down a bit more than normal 50 degrees to around 42 – 45. Will push back the sweetness off the front according to Brian. We had it around 50 – 52 and just a bit too sweet at that temp.) We did not taste but bought on his recommendation the 2010 Unoaked Chard…..we are learning that we prefer the unoaked Chards.

Back to the hotel for Mrs. RC. Unfortunately, she came down with a case of bronchitis before we left. Doing well, having gotten steroid shot and a Z-pack before we left, plus other meds. So I stayed in with her for a little while before venturing back out for a couple of stops.

2. Arista. Pinot, Pinot, Pinot! I think they told me they make 20 different Pinot Noir wines! They were also pouring a Zin that they make. The Zin was not bad and only $36 a bottle. But with me having already bought 4 bottles of Zin this trip, that will probably do me until next time. Their 2010 Mendocino Ridge / Anderson Valley blend was quite good & not bad priced at $38. But it just wasn’t memorable enough for me to pick any up. I did buy their 2009 Hawk’s View Vineyard PN out of Willamette Valley Oregon. Have been reading really positive things about Oregon wines and this one was really good. Heavy on the berry taste with a spicy kicker. Also purchased was the 2010 Bacigalupi Vineyard PN. If I understood correctly, this vineyard is the 2nd oldest in the valley (or maybe it was just in the Russian River AVA). It was more earthy than fruity, yet had a great nose. I did taste another PN from them, the 2009 Mononi Vineyard PN, but can’t tell you anything about it. Was probably me and not that the wine was forgettable. After the earlier big tasting at Windsor Oaks and then the Zin, followed by 3 more PN’s, the last one just sort of got lost and was tasting the same.
3. Matrix. I forged ahead for one last tasting for the day, but on the drive up to Matrix from Arista, told myself I would not taste anything red! So, started with their 2011 Sauv Blanc Anderson Valley. Quite good, bought a couple of bottles & at $20, a good buy. Next was their 2009 Chard, Balletto. Really acidic - not real oaky, even though oaked. Not as buttery as the pourer was trying to convince me it was. A no go for me. Next the 2009 Chard Reserve, Stuhlmuller. Taste much more oak in this one, but again lacked a stronger buttery or butterscotch finish. Also a no go. She could not believe that I would not taste any of their PN’s. Asked if I realized that I was in the middle of the Pinot Noir world? I assured her that I did, and explained that I couldn’t tell a good one from a bad one at this point. Finally she understood. I did however buy their 2009 PN RRV R. Buoncristiani Vineyard based only on her assurance that it would not disappoint. So, I can’t tell you anything about it yet.
That was it for Day 2. Back to hotel to pick up Mrs. RC and then out to Jenner by the Sea for dinner at the River’s End.

Day 3, Friday: Cool this morning & still breezy. High only going to be in the upper 60’s with partly cloudy skies.

1. Late start today. Out to Dry Creek General Store for lunch. Was good….a bit pricy, but made up by the atmosphere and historical presence.
2. Dry Creek Vineyard. No tasting here, but had already had their Sauv Blanc back home. Bought some to ship back along with their Fume Blanc.
3. Road all the way up W Dry Creek just sightseeing. Back down to Yoakim Bridge Rd and over to Dry Creek Rd headed north up to Sbragia. Absolutely the best views in Sonoma County from their balcony! We just bought a bottle of their SB and sat outside for a while enjoying the views. Clouds rolled in and drove us inside to sit in their tasting room finishing off the bottle. After the bottle was done, I tasted both of their Chards. One more oakey and the other more citrusy. Bought a bottle of each to ship home.
4. Mauritson. Stopped in only to buy a Rockpile Zin in honor of yesilovewine. I will give to my brother for a Christmas gift. No other tasting or purchases here.
Went into Healdsburg for a bit to just walk the square and shops. Will be back their tonight for dinner at the Dry Creek Kitchen.

If I make any other Sonoma County stops, I'll add later. Other than that, the rest of our stay will be over in Napa and posted over on that board.

Hope you enjoy reading about our trip....sorry if too long! This is really my first attempt to give a trip report back on the board, even though have been a member for a while and made other trips. Let me know what you think.



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