Visiting Brutocao Cellars


As we drove through the Anderson Valley on our first day in CA, I noticed we passed Brutocao Cellars on the way to Roederer Estates. I thought to myself that we should stop on our way back if we had time, since Brutocao holds a special place for us. On our first wine country trip, we had dinner at the Lion’s Den Bistro which is run by Brutocao Cellars. We were the only people there, it was our honeymoon, and it was a very memorable time. Made even more so by the fact that our kind server had offered to let us take home our favorite open bottle that had been poured during the pairing dinner, but when we got back to the bed and breakfast, we discovered he had given us a brand new bottle! We gleefully took it home and stashed it away, and drank it last summer on our first anniversary.

We did wind up with some time on our way back out of the Anderson Valley, so we made a stop at Brutocao. Brutocao is house in a large barn type structure. Inside, there’s a huge tasting bar and the tasting room is large, open, and very well lit from skylights. Sadly, the tasting room attendants didn’t seem too interested in us, one lady was selling some headbands she makes to other customers, and the other lady didn’t seem to know much, as I asked her about the Lion’s Den and she had no idea what I was talking about.

2006 Sangiovese: $14. Strawberries, not very dry.

2006 Pinot Noir: $26. Strawberries, cherries, earth, spice, good fruit.

2004 Reserve Merlot: Dark fruit, berries, cherries, a fun wine.

2005 Merlot: $20. Funkier, smoky, dark cherries.

2005 Primitivo: Plummy, musty fruit, cherry, spice pepper.

2005 Zinfandel: Deep nose, red fruit, licorice, smooth, really integrated, good fruit.

2005 Uber Tuscan: Cherry, currants, red fruit.

2005 Quadriga: Vanilla, cream, berries, great nose, nice finish, good fruit. Our favorite, we took home two.

2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Funky berries, wood, leather, saddle.

Oddly enough, we also took home two Sauvigon Blancs, and one 2006 Zinfandel, but I can’t find my notes for those. Perhaps I wrote them on the tasting menu, I have that somewhere, but can’t locate it at the moment. In all, a mix of wines here, with some I really liked. I think I mostly just annoyed at the tasting room.

2005 Merlot Mistelle: $24. Super sweet, chocolate/cherry syrup.

More Sauvignon Blanc

It looks like summer is here to stay. We skipped straight from cold rainy days in the 30s-50s to sunny and 80…which is lovely, but sadly, won’t last long and is just a tease before the 90+ full humidity days settle in perhaps 3 weeks from now.

The wine for the evening was a 2007 Brutocao Sauvignon Blanc from Feliz Vineyard. We picked it up on our most recent Sonoma trip at the winery. It had a plastic cork closure, clocked in at 13.7% alcohol by volume and cost around $14 (last year’s vintage price).

On the nose I found lemon, melon, honeydew, pear, and a slightly floral aroma. In the mouth the flavors were citrus, lemon, and pear. I really wish the melon had carried through to the palate. The wine was crisp, tart, and quite acidic. Definitely a refreshing bottle of wine and certainly an easy one to drink on a hot spring/summer night.

I served the wine with baked stuffed scrod, rice pilaf, and corn on the cob. It worked really well with the meal since the stuffing in the scrod was bread crumbs, spices, and butter and needed a crisp wine with lots of acidity to cut through the heavier flavors.

Anniversary Wine!

In some other year we will do the whole Champagne thing, but since I figured we had done a fair amount of Champagne lately with the new house thing and we had been saving this bottle for the occasion, a bottle of 2005 Brutocao Feliz Vineyard Dolcetto was used to toast the evening.

We were given this bottle by our excellent server at the Lion’s Den Bistro where we dined one Friday evening on our honeymoon. It was our favorite over the 4 course food and wine pairing meal and our server had indicated he would give us the remainder of the bottle to take back to our B&B. When we arrived back at the B&B we went to drink it and discovered he had kindly given us a brand new bottle and we decided to save it for our first anniversary. A little reminder of our honeymoon since we weren’t going to be able to make it back out to Sonoma for the occasion.

So with that said, the wine was free, had a real cork closure and clocked in at 13.8% alcohol by volume. We decided to eat in our dining room with all the fancy crystal and china and I served a meal of parmasean/honey dijon/breadcrumb encrusted rack of lamb with blue cheese polenta and green beans. It was a good match to the dinner, though the rack of lamb could have easily stood up to a really big wine. But I thought this was a good choice as the lamb with the crust and fresh herbs and such is really flavorful and I didn’t want a wine that was going to take away from those flavors.

Anywho, the wine. On the nose I found plums and sweet candy. I couldn’t quite put a finger on it, but I would describe it as a sweet candied aroma. In the mouth the wine was fruity and had a medium-light body. Mostly sweet plums in the mouth. Overall, a nice, lighter red wine that was easy drinking on a warm summer night. And a bottle with really great memories.

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