WBW #60 Round Up: I Have Zinned

A hearty thanks to all who busted out some Zin to participate in the 5th birthday of WBW! As you probably gathered by now, I set the theme for this momentous occasion to I Have Zinned. I asked everyone to grab a bottle of Zin and pair it with their favorite grilled or BBQ food.  Zin and BBQ is one of my favorite pairings and it seems to be wbwlogosome of yours too! Though I did discover this time that Zins that have aged a little don’t seem to have the oopmh to stand up to sweeter BBQ sauce.  I think several others had the same revelation!

Overall, 30 folks joined us for WBW #60, with posts on 29 wine blogs!  Across the board, 46 Zins were reviewed for this WBW.  I’m happy so many joined in for the 5th birthday celebration of WBW!  I know participation lags in the summer as folks tend to be on holiday and such, so I appreciate the effort! Below are snapshots of all the posts, click through to read everyone’s full take on Zin and BBQ (or pizza in John’s case…though I kinda wish he’d grilled up some tofu or something 😉 )

Our first entry came in over a week early from David at Cooking Chat. He picked the 2007 Ridge Paso Robles Zin to pair with his ribeye. Sadly, he found it to be a bit underwhelming for the price point, though I expect it might have needed a little more time…07 is young for a Ridge Zin! Read his whole take here.

Ryan over at Oe-no-phile also joined with an early entry. He went off the beaten Zin path and picked a 2006 Old Vine Zin from Sineann, a winery with a Zin vineyard that straddles Oregon and Washington…so technically it’s a Washington State Zin. In short, he loved loved loved it.  Check out his fully review here.

Another early entry, Jason of This Blog and 20 Bucks Can Definitely Get You a Great Bottle of Wine (wow, that’s a mouthful!) picked a Zin I am very familiar with the 2006 Camellia Cellars Leconi Vineyard Dry Creek Zinfandel.  He paired it with an Heirloom tomato salad and grilled Moroccan chicken. You can read his review and check out his dinner here.

Randy, The Wine Whore, joins us for the WBW, and chose a Zin that I also have hanging around waiting for me to taste it!  He picked the 2006 J. Keverson Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfandel and presents us with a fun pictorial review of his experience tasting it.  Visit The Wine Whore for his review.

Bill from Wine for Newbies brought out the big guns for this WBW, tasting through 6 Zins! Though he admits he only tasted one of them with his BBQ! All 6 hail from Lodi and he picked the 2007 m2 “Old Vine” Soucie Vineyard, the 2007 Bargetto Zinfandel Old Vine, the 2007 Macchia Zinfandel “Oblivious”, the 2006 Mettler Vineyards Zinfandel “Epicenter”, the 2006 Harney Lane Zinfandel “Lizzie James” Vineyard, and the 2006 Michael David Gluttony “Old Vines”. Head on over to Wine for Newbies to read all about them.

Richard, who writes Silene’s Cellar, told us a lovely story of his first eye-opening Zin experience with a 1977 Monteviña Special Selection Zin.  He follows up that tale with a a blind tasting of 3 Zins (great minds think alike!).  Richard picked that 2005 Hendry Block 7 Napa Zin, the 2005 Dendor Patton Wisdom Mendocino Old Vine Zin, and the 2005 Sequum Riverwash Dry Creek Zin. Which won? You’ll have to visit Silene’s Cellar to find out!

Next up, Shea of Just Grapes. Shea chose to write up his visit to Mazzocco Winery after the Wine Blogger Conference where they make many Zins (I’ve visited before, but not in years). He tells us about the 6 Zins he tasted, with his favorite being the mighty pricey $120 2006 Antoine Phillipe Reserve. Read about them all here.

My roomie from WBC, Catie, aka the Walla Walla Wine Woman, brings us, what else? Zin from Walla Walla, Washington! I was actually surprised by the number of Washington Zins that popped up for this WBW, though I would expect nothing less from Catie!  She picked the 2005 Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel and paired it with Bulgogi, which sounds delish! Head on over for her recipe and wine review.

Our first Zin mishap comes from Rob over at Wine Post. (Who, by the way, recognizes how multi-talented I am at smiling and talking at the same time.) He picked up one of my favorites, a 2006 Titus Zinfandel. Sadly, he found it cooked. What a shame, it’s a great wine!

Then there’s me. I also did a blind tasting of 3 Zins! I chose the 2003 Sky Saddle, the 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs, and the 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Cemtery Vineyard.  I tasted mine with BBQ and found my BBQ sauce seemed to overwhelm the Zins, but of course, I didn’t let that get in my way! Read about my Zins here.

Kevin over at Under the Grape Tree joined us with a Zin from afar.  Now, I don’t see too many Zins coming out of Australia, so I was thrilled with this obscurish pick.  He chose the 2006 Groom Bush Vine Zin from Barossa. Over two days, he paired the wine with a grilled steak and BBQ ribs, and thankfully had better luck than I did with the BBQ sauce pairing! His review is here.

The Brix Chicks went all out for this WBW! Brix Chick Janesta reviewed the 2006 Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel one of many Zins the Brix Chicks tasted that evening! They also smoked some meat and Janesta posts a photo of Sean Connery as 007…how does that connect with the wine? You’ll have to read to find out!

Jim from VineGeek submitted the post on Zin he did last month, seeing as how he had just written about the exact topic at hand, I decided to let him slide 😉 He chose the 2006 Cline Bridgehead Contra Costa County Zin, and sadly found it a bit lacking for the price point.  His full write up is here.

Gwendolyn, aka the Art Predator, (gee, what’s with all these bloggers with several aliases, lol), joins us with yet another Ridge Zinfandel.  Folks love Ridge Zins, one of the kings of Zin in my mind! She picked the 2006 Ridge Lytton Springs to go with her marinated tri tip and it blew her out of the water! Check out her review here.

We got another Brix Chick post out of the event too! Liza wrote up several of the other wines that they enjoyed with their brisket.  To round out the tasting, they enjoyed the 2006 Harney Lane Lizzie James Vineyard Old Vine Zin, the 2007 m2 Wines Soucie Vineyard 1916 Block Lodi Old Vine Zin, and the 2007 Newsome Harlow Big John’s Vineyard Calaveras Zinfandel. Quite the tasting. Head on over to the Brix Chicks for the details!.

Over at Drink What You Like, Frank brings us yet another Washington State Zinfandel! That’s three so far! I had no idea so much Zin was coming out of Washington, but that makes my mission clear: I must have some.  Frank searched through 5 wine shops in Seattle before finding the 2006 Maryhill Zinfandel.  He find it to be a decent QPR wine and hopes to taste more Washington Zin in the future. His review is here.

Joe, the Suburban Wino, has a great sildeshow/video up of the tantalizing ribs he made to go with his Zin. It’s worth a visit just for the drool worthy BBQ, as well as his review! He chose the 2006 Cartlidge and Browne Amador Zinfandel. It appears he preferred his ribs to the Zin, but thought it was fine for the price point. Visit Suburban Wino for the full review!

Our 4th Washington State Zinfandel comes from Kori over at Wine Peeps! She tasted 2 Zins blind (clearly another great mind!), the 2005 Forgeron Zin (same as Catie!) and the 2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Zin.  The meal she had with it made me want to hop on a plane and beg her mother to make BBQ for me too!  Find out which Zin prevailed by heading over to Wine Peeps.

Not a traditional WBW post, but Hello Vino participated by bringing us some info about Zin!  They write about the history of Zin, talk about how alcohol levels affect the fruit, and offer suggested grilled and BBQ foods to pair with it! Head on over to Hello Vino to read all about Zinfandel.

A fairly new wine blogger, Dee Wineo loses his WBW virginity on the Zin and BBQ theme!  He BBQ’d up some pork steak (which I just learned about last week when friends of mine made it for dinner while I was out in St. Louis!) and pulled out a value Zin to pair with it, the 2007 Foxglove Zinfandel.  Read about how his pairing turned out here.

My favorite Lush, Thea, aka Winebratsf, of course joined us for this WBW as she has a similar affection for Zinfandel like me! Raising it up yet another notch, Thea attended the ZAP summer outing and visited 3 wineries and tasted a plethora of Zins. She chose to focus on Rockwall Wine Company and D-Cubed Cellars in her post, highlighting 2 of their Zins along with the BBQ at the event. Visit Luscious Lushes for the full report.

Debbie, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, had a mishap with her post too: her dog ate her tasting notes! Now there’s a new twist on the old “the dog ate my homework” excuse!  Not to fear, being a trooper, Debbie sacrificed and opened another Zin in time for WBW! She chose the 2006 Truett Hurst Red Rooster Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfanel.  Read her review here.

My friend John over at Anything Wine joined in on the fun, though being a vegetarian he skipped the toss some meat on the grill part….I think he should do a follow up on how Zin pairs with grilled tofu or veggie burgers! John picked the 2006 Seghesio San Lorenzo Block 8 Zinfandel.  A sure winner, head on over for his take on the wine.

Now, I hope the link for this participant will work. Grace, the CellarMistress, posted her WBW on FaceBook. I’m not sure if you have to be her friend to read it, if so, let me know and I’ll reproduce the whole thing here. Grace chose the 2006 Seghesio Family Vineyards Della Costa Alexander Valley Zin.  You can (hopefully) read her review here!

Michelle from My Wine Education had to do a local twist on the theme, being loyal to her beloved Cincinnati (and also started Wine Blogging Thursday)! She picked the 2006 Zincinnati Zinfandel from Mendocino. The story on this wine is that a local distributor teamed up with a CA Zin producer to create this wine! Swing by My Wine Education for the full story!

John of Brim to the Dregs came out of WBW hiding to join in on the BBQ and Zin theme on Wine Blogging Thursday as well. He had a little trouble with the grilling part…first it rained and then his cooking skills failed him and his steaks were a bit more well done than intended. Good thing he had an excellent bottle of Zin to make things right! John chose the 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Zinfandel (one I’ve had many times!) and you can read his review here.

Our founding father Lenn also came in for Wine Blogging Thursday 😉 with a Zin he had trouble finding.  He picked the 2000 (oldest Zin for this WBW!) Neyer’s Pato Vineyards Zinfandel. Unfortunately, he thought it seemed tired and speculated that perhaps it hadn’t been stored properly for the time it lived in the store. Head on over to Lenndevours for his review.

Another Wine Blogging Thursday participant, Jill of Domaine 547 came out of blog, Zinfandel, and WBW hiding to join in the fun! Jill doesn’t drink a lot of Zin, so I appreciate her stepping out of her wine zone and trying a Zin! She picked the 2007 Homefire Homecoming Dry Creek Zin. It made her reconsider stocking some Zins in her soon to be open brick and mortar store! Read her review here.

For a Wine Blogging Sunday entry, we have Andrew of Spittoon, our first international participant for this WBW!  He had a bit of trouble finding a Zin, his stores only had two options.  With little in the way of choices, he ended up with the 2007 Bonterra Vineyards. Sadly, he didn’t find it very food friendly.  Read his full review here.

And finally, joining us for Wine Blogging Monday is Erika of StrumErika.  Erika plucked the 2007 Merryvale Jan Vineyard Napa Zinfandel from the share pile at work to pair with her sister’s famous hot wings.  While the wine didn’t live up to expectations, the hot wings sound mighty fine to me! Visit StrumErika for her full review and wing recipe!

Thanks again to everyone for breaking out the Zin in honor of WBW’s 5th Birthday and Zinning with me. And as always, a nod of the hat to Lenn for founding such a lasting event and for having me host this month! If I missed your post, please let me know and I will happily add it in!


Duck Duck Duck Zin!

I recently found a butcher near our house and I am SO excited. I really missed having someone to order meat from and to cut what I want exactly like I want it to be cut.  So I stopped by the butcher and picked up a couple fresh duck breasts. YUM! Matt played chef for the evening and made seared duck breast with a Zinfandel fig reduction sauce. We chose the 2004 Foppiano Zinfandel to both make the sauce and drink with out dinner.  I purchased this at the winery in 2008 for $15, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

This sat out on the table open for about 4 hours and it still seemed really hot right off the bat. It took a while for the alcohol to integrate into the wine.  After a while, I went back to the wine and found brown sugar, blackberries, pepper, herbs, spice, grape hard candy, and vanilla cream on the nose.  In the mouth I thought the wine was grapey.  I also got berries, spice, pepper, vanilla, cedar, and chocolate.  Overall, the wine was smooth and is probably at its prime.

Gewurz Time!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Mill Creek Winery.

Tonight I felt like a spicy white wine. Our weather is hot hot hot! And white wine is just the ticket for nights like tonight.  I picked the 2007 Mill Creek Winery Gewurztraminer out of the basement to sip after dinner.  We had leftover meatloaf and I didn’t think the wine and and the meatloaf would work so well together….this is my second Mill Creek Winery wine and I’m digging them!  The Gewurztraminer (I have such trouble spelling that grape!) clocked in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for $18.

On the nose I find white flowers, spice, lychee, almonds, spicy pears, lots of flowers, the slightest hint of tangerine, and a touch of honey.  I love the nose on Gewurztraminer.  I could have kept smelling this one for hours, but Matt was eyeing my glass, so I thought I best get to it!  In the mouth, the wine is crisp with a great spciy characteristic.  I get the tangerine more in the mouth, with lychee, flowers, almonds, and exotic spices.  This is a tasty Gewurztraminer, and if you are so inclined to eat spicy foods, this would make a great match!

Frei and MacMurray

At the top of MacMurray Ranch

At the top of MacMurray Ranch

Back at last year’s Wine Blogger Conference, I met Kelly from Gallo Family Estates.  She sat next to me at the speed dating/live blogging/whatever you want to call it first event where we were introduced rapidly to about 14 wines. At the time, I think she was a little bemused by the flurry of activity, everyone being on twitter, and all that was going on.  But she must have liked what she saw as she will be attending again this year! We exchanged cards, and that was that.  Several months later, she sent me an email and wanted to know when my next trip to the Sonoma area was going to be. She happened to be the first person to contact me, so my schedule was wide open and we settled on a day, she wanted to take me to see two of the wineries owned by Gallo.

Trying out my camera skillz

Trying out my camera skillz

Usually I would write up winery visit separately, but we visited both Frei Brothers and MacMurray Ranch, and the whole experience was completely intertwined–tasting Frei Brothers while at MacMurray, asking questions and learning about the Gallos at both, so I’ve decided to write up the visit as one big post.  We headed first to MacMurray Ranch where we met up with Sally, a hospitality host. Sally promptly handed us a glass of the 2007 Frei Brothers Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and got down to talking about all the vineyards the Gallos own in California and then focused her presentation to MacMurray Ranch, giving us a bit of the history of the vineyard.

Among the vines

Among the vines

2007 Frei Brothers Sauvignon Blanc: Melon, lemon, has that nice acidity you can smell on the nose, tropical fruits, lime, grapefruit, stone fruit, crisp and dry.

MacMurray Ranch is 1600 acres, with only 465 acres planted to vine.  The Gallos purchased the property in 1996 from the MacMurray family and started the MacMurray label in 2001.  The property is extremely cool…the old ranch where the MacMurray family lived is on the property and has been fully restored, including many of the original furnishing and memorabilia from the MacMurray family–Fred MacMurray was a famous actor and his daughter is very much involved in the brand and the winery.  She helped with the restoration of the ranch and added the family touches to the decorations.



Kelly arrived shortly thereafter and accompanied us around the house.  After touring the house and the immediate property, we headed to the porch for a leisurely lunch, where the chef had outdone herself! Cheese trays, brisket, fruit platters, macaroni salads, quite the spread for the 4 of us.  We enjoyed several wines over lunch.

2007 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris: Lemon grass, vanilla, spice, oak, green apple, lemon, grass/hay, stonefruit, crisp, clean, very lemony.

2007 MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: Smoke, leather, earth, cherry, chocolate, raspberry, floral, nice red fruit, brown sugar, caramel, tart.

Lots o vines

Lots 'o vines

We headed from lunch up to the top of the valley to have a look at the MacMurray vineyards and the beautiful view as well as enjoy some of the wine amongst the vines from which is was made.  I learned a lot of the Gallo family on this trip. Overall, the portfolio consists of 60+ brands and 18 members of the Gallo family still work for this entirely privately held corporation.  I also had no idea, but the corporation follows a 50/50 giveback plan whereby of all the land they own, they leave 50% of it untouched, undeveloped, and wild.  So at MacMurray Ranch, while the whole property is 1600 acres only 465 acres are developed.  At Frei Ranch, the property is 1500 acres with 700 developed.

More poppies

More poppies

From MacMurray, Matt and I hopped in our red Ford Mustang rental car (somewhere I have a picture of this…when we picked it up it had 6 miles on it!!) and followed Sally and Kelly over to Frei Ranch, where a blending seminar was going on! Looked like lots of fun.  Both Ranches were bursting with activity the day we toured…MacMurray had a bbq going on that smelled delightful!  At Frei, we started on the porch by tasting some Barefoot Bubbly Chardonnay. Now, I will admit, I’m pretty skeptical of the Barefoot brand, but the Bubbly is $7 a bottle and shows yeast, lemon, nuts, sweet peach, and apple.  It’s easy to drink, and for $7…well, you can’t really beat that price for a fun bottle of bubbly that would go great with a day at the beach.

After the porch, we headed on a tour of the property.  First, we stopped at a pretty lake out by some of the vineyards.  I took some pictures of the poppies in bloom and we tried some more wine!

2005 Frei Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon: Vanilla, cream, cedar, strawberry jam, spice, pepper, deep red fruit, some black cherry, nice structure with some tannins.

I must admit, I’ve never seen a production of this scale before.  We checked out the tanks….there were so many! And so many different kinds.  I couldn’t believe it.  And then the barrel room! I believe they said it holds 50,000 barrels.  50,000 barrels??!!??!  Holy cow.

This isnt even the beginning

This isn't even the beginning

I’m really glad I took Kelly up on the offer to come on this tour.  I learned so much about the Gallo family and what they do, plus, I’ve just never seen anything like this.  The two properties we toured were gorgeous, though I favored MacMurray Ranch…with the house and all the old barns, it just seemed so homey.  I leave you with a string of pictures of the most barrels I’ve ever seen!



More Barrels

More Barrels

And More

And More

And a tower

And a tower

Making the Rounds

We had some time to kill after our appointment at Mounts and before we met up with lots of folks at the Healdsburg Bar and Grill for drinks and food.  I remembered that on the way into town is Seghesio’s tasting room, so we decided to swing by and see what Seghesio has going on as it’s been a few years since we visited.  At this point, we encountered the windiest portion of our day, which managed to whip open the enormous heavy wooden doors at Segehsio all on its own.  Later we heard that power got knocked out to much of Healdsburg, which didn’t surprise me as we had a few brown outs while tasting at Seghesio.

2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris: $20. Lemon, honey, spice, light, zesty, orange blossom.

2008 Arneis: $20.  Melon, slight mint, light, citrus, crisp, tart fruit, refreshing. We took home two.

2007 Costiera Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: $42.  Smoke, cherry, raspberry, earth, strawberry, bright red fruit, herbs, tannic. Nice.

2006 Cortina Zinfandel: $36.  Blackberries, fresh pepper, red berries, pepper, dark, spicy, tannic.

2006 Block 8 Zinfandel: $28.  Pepper, mint, herbs, anise, blackberries, pepper, spicy, spicy, spicy.  We bought one.

2005 Home Ranch Zinfandel: $36. Blackberries, floral, perfume, some red edges, very fruity, smooth.

2005 Home Ranch Petite Sirah: $38.  Pepper, earth, dark, molasses, brown sugar, dark berries, blue fruits, blueberries, dark.

2007 Barbera: $28.  Campfire, smoke, dark black fruit, earth, black black fruit.  Matt really liked this one so we took one home.

Seghesio makes a Zin that retails for about $17 or so that I buy for parties and for everyday drinking by the case at Total Wine and More.  It’s always a hit, even with folks who say they don’t like red wine.  So I like to stop by their tasting room when we visit to see what’s happening at the winery.  Tasting the Arneis added another grape to our Century Club search!

Marvelous Mounts

Dont forget to duck!

Don't forget to duck!

Two years ago, we were the first ever (literally, the first) visitors to Mounts Family Winery.  We had made an appointment that day for first thing at Michel Schlumberger, a close neighbor of the Mounts’ property.  We finished up there and were heading down the road with no particular agenda, only to see some balloons flying in front of Mounts, though we weren’t really sure what was up that long gravel road at that point! What we did discover was a family owned and operated winery just producing their very first vintage.

We wanted to return to Mounts on last spring’s trip, but we were short on time last year and Mounts now mostly opens by appointment only.  So sadly, we missed it.  This year, Mounts is on Twitter, so I ran across owner Lana before we left for CA and scheduled us in for our first afternoon in the area.  We moseyed on over and met Lana’s husband for our tasting around 2:30.

2008 Rosé: $16.  Strawberry, blueberry, lime, cranberry, extremely dry, nice fruit. Two bottles made their way home with us.

2006 Zinfandel: $26. Black pepper, blackberries, perfumey, vanilla, dark fruit, cream, pie, nice structure. We took one bottle home.

2006 Syrah: $26.  Cedar, dark fruits, plums, chocolate, dust, earth, pepper, long finish.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: $32. Milk chocolate, flowers, little red fruit, something herbal dark, tannic.

2006 Petite Sirah: $32.  Blue fruit, chocolate, maple, big blueberries, pepper, dark fruit, red berries on the edges, tannic.  We bought one bottle.

2007  Cabernet Franc: This one just got bottled, and isn’t really released yet, but they had a bottle open so we got to taste is and we loved it! That surprised me since I’m not a huge Cab Franc fan.  Leather, tobacco, smoke, strawberry, herbs, dark, slight chocolate and vanilla notes, nice structure.  While this one is just a baby, you can tell it will be great.  We took home two bottles to live in the cellar for a few years.

Two years later Mounts wines are just as fabulous as I remember.  While they now make a bit more wine (though not much, honestly, they started with 500 cases and are up to 2000 now) and are experimenting with some new types (I hear wonderful things about the Malbec in barrel), they are still a small family winery that is well worth your time to visit on your next trip to Sonoma.

Traipsing By Teldeschi

I’ve had a hankering for some more 1998 Teldeschi Petite Sirah ever since Lowell and I drank the last bottle on election night.  So I put it on the top of my list for a visit on this trip.  So much so, that we drove in from the San Francisco airport, after having left our house in VA nearly 12 hours earlier, and went straight to Teldeschi.  We did just visit Teldeschi on our last trip, but the yummy wines drew us back in again…plus, we clearly didn’t buy enough last year as we had already gone through it!

2005 Zinfandel-Berry, cherry, currants, brown sugar, black cherry, big fruit, dry, well done. We took one home.

2000 Terranova-Dark, mint, barnyard, funk, big berries, tart cherries.

2000 Petite Sirah- $36. Chocolate, berries, fruits, blueberries, licorice. We brought home two of the 1998s.

2008 Zinfandel Port-Black fruit, berries, dark fruit, black berry, nice structure, great acidity.  We bought one for my dad.

We met Bill again this year, that would be Bill Wertzberger of the most excellent Grenache we tasted at of barrel last year and mistakenly attributed to Teldeschi, and tasted one of his wines in barrel this year.  Oh, and we took home a bottle of his 2005 Syrah which he assured me I would like if I loved his Grenache so much!

We tasted the Wertzberger Golden Chalise (need to look that up, as I think I wrote it down and spelled it horribly wrong!), something I’d never had before. It tasted and smelled of honeysuckle, almonds, nuts, honey, and lemon. Overall I found it to be delicate and very light.

A great visit, and one I’m sure we’ll repeat (again), as the wines are well worth the trip.  And, I’m still waiting for Bill to bottle that Grenache. Folks, it was so good, it’s a year and a bit later and I’m still talking about it!

Visiting Lambert Bridge

I must confess, whenever I hear the name of this winery, I get a song stuck in my head from when I was a little kid. It came from a cartoon called “Lambert, the sheepish lion.” Cute cartoon, and a random memory!

We stopped at Lambert Bridge on our last day in Sonoma. Their website doesn’t have much information that I can find about production size, specialties, etc. The tasting room was rustic looking from the outside, but gorgeous on the inside. A huge tasting bar filled the center of a long, skinny room, and behind the tasting area was a giant barrel room. Our tasting host was very friendly, and we picked out his Boston accent right away!

The wines:

2006 Sauvignon Blanc: $22. Grapefruit, smooth, citrus.

2006 Viognier: $30. Pear, honeysuckles, spice, very pear. We bought one bottle.

2005 Chardonnay: $32. Caramel, pear, oak, round, full body.

2005 Winery Ranch Zinfandel: $30. Very fruity, berries, cherries, spice, anise. One came home with us.

2005 Maple Vineyards Zinfandel: $40. Cherry, spice, tannic, chocolate, currants blueberries.

2004 Merlot: $40. Has some Petite Verdot, Cab Franc, and Malbec blended in. Raspberry, dark fruit, oak, vanilla, licorice, herbs, blueberries. We took home one.

2004 Crane Creek Cuvee: $85. Plums, black cherries, chocolate, big fruit, oak.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon: $90. Vanilla, blackberries, spices, currants.

Overall, while I really liked the tasting room and thought the wines were tasty, the prices on some of them were really steep.

A Trip to Teldeschi

On our 3rd and final day in California this spring, Matt and I parted ways with Russ after a stop for sustenance at the Dry Creek General Store. Sadly, Russ had to go home and needed to get on the road before rush hour became an issue for him. After he departed, we sat around for a bit, pondering what our next stop would be, and decided it was obvious, since Teldeschi Vineyards sits right behind (and up the hill a bit) the General Store.

Teldeschi’s tasting room is small, but the guy running it was extremely friendly. Like many others, he asked where we had been that day, and we told him Bella and barrel tasting at David Coffaro. He immediately said he couldn’t be outdone by a barrel tasting there and whisked us into the back to taste from his barrels! There, we tasted what is arguable my favorite wine from the entire trip. I signed up for the Teldeschi email list just so I could know when it comes out and scoop it up.

2007 Grenache: (Barrel sample). Very aromatic, bananas, berries, plums, blueberries, fabulous wine, I can’t wait to buy it.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: (Barrel sample). Nice red fruit, berries, spice, tannic.

1996 Zinfandel: Dark berry fruit, spice, cherry, smooth.

1998 Terranena: $22. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Valdigue blend. Peppery, black fruit, floral.

1999 Petite Sirah: $32. Blueberry, cassis, vanilla, licorice, yum.

2004 Syrah: $32. Dark, rich fruit, velvety, blackberry. Yum. We took home 2 bottles.

We also took home a bottle of the 2000 Petite Sirah, which we did not taste, but our host told us I would like it even more than the 1999, so I took his word for it. One of the more unique things about Teldeschi’s tasting room is the way they store their sample bottles. Each time wine is gone from the bottle, they transfer it to a smaller bottle, all the way down to a tiny itty bitty glass medicine bottle. I’ve never seen anything like it! I very much look forward to the release of the Grenache and will definitely return to Teldeschi.

The picture at the top is me squinting into the sun in front of some vines at Teldeschi.

Drinking with Patrick, Genevieve, and Russ

As I’ve mentioned before, Patrick was kind enough to escort Matt, Russ, and me around his stomping ground of Healdsburg one of the days we were out in California this spring. Not only did he play tour guide, but he also chauffeured us around, acted as the local restaurant critic, and provided Russ with accommodations!

For dinner that night, we were joined by Patrick’s wife and partner in crime, Genevieve at Zins in Healdsburg. An excellent choice, I’m still enamored by the Zinfandel glazed duck breast I had there, and I hope to return on my upcoming CA trip this October. While at the restaurant, Patrick put on yet another hat and played sommelier and wine provider!

We tasted through some of his and Genevieve’s current offerings from Iridesse wines, as well as through some of the wines Genevieve made while at Chateau Felice:

Iridesse 2005 Lodi Albarino: 13% alcohol, $18. From Sueno Vineyard. Floral, lemon, tropical fruit, crisp, almost a hint of cream.

Iridesse 2003 Russian River Valley Rose: 13% alcohol, $9. From Rodgers Family Vineyard. Berries, candy, spice, white pepper, very aromatic, really dry and refreshing.

Chateau Felice 2002 Tall Woman Likes Red: 13.8% alcohol, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel blend. Baking spice, white pepper, blackberry, plum, peppery, spicy, blueberry.

Chateau Felice 1999 Cabernet Franc Reserve: 14.5% alcohol. Dark, layered spice, strawberry preserves, full, fruity, earth.

Libe Lula 1999 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: 14.1% alcohol. Strawberry, cherry, earty, smooth, spicy, red fruit, very nice.

Many thanks again to Patrick and Genevieve, and to Russ for the company! Looking forward to seeing you all again in October!