My First Barrel Tasting!

So does that belong in a scrapbook next to “My first steps” and “My first birthday cake?” As a wine enthusiast, I certainly think it might take a place among those milestones 😉

While in Sonoma, Matt and I were lucky enough to be shown all over town by Patrick (more about Patrick, his wife Genevieve and their wines later) of Iridesse Wines. We were also joined by Russ, the Winehiker himself, for all of one day and part of another. It was so much fun to meet more wine folks, and especially to finally put faces and voices with people’s internet personas. We couldn’t have asked for a better host, and I find it to always be great to go out and about with someone who lives in the area you are visiting…not only did we have great wines, we also went to fabulous restaurants! We met up with Patrick and Russ at the Flying Goat in downtown Healdsburg, and Patrick quickly whisked us away to Chateau Felice, where we were fortunate enough to be offered the chance to taste everything (and I mean everything) that was in the barrels.

Aside from the sheer joy and fun of being up close and personal with wine barrels and getting to taste the wines in their various states of development, the wines were really good. I also got to spit on the ground for the first time… pants may have come out a little bit worse for wear from that experience! As you can see, the grounds at Chateau Felice were absolutely picturesque. I can see why it’s a popular place to have a wedding. Before we tasted, Patrick showed us all around the vineyards.

All of these were barrel samples:

2007 Chardonnay: (Clone 76) Apple, tropical fruit, crisp, not oaky at all, pineapple, great acidity, yum.

2007 Chardonnay: (Clone 96) Pineapple, little creamier than the 76, a touch of toast and butter, peach, the wine was definitely still in the maloactic stage.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: Dusty blackberry, cherry, strawberry, white pepper, baking spices, very nice, layered, cherry, layered, definitely needs some more time.

2006 Cabernet Franc: Herbal, berries on nose, boysenberries, nice strawberry in the mouth with licorice and milk chocolate. Very well done.

2007 Merlot: Chocolate berries, plums, nice fruit, very good structure, kick on the end.

2006 Syrah: (out of tank) Peppery, vanilla, black fruit.

2006 Zinfandel: (out of tank) Peppery, light color for a Zin, vanilla, spice, red fruit, a touch of blackberry.

2007 Zinfandel: Chocolate malt, herbs, boysenberry, sweeter than 2006, still prickly from being in the barrel.

2007 Zinfandel Port: Very much like a late harvest Zinfandel, syrupy, boysenberry, blackberry, high residual sugar.