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!

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.

Bud Break!!!

So I guess this confirms my status as a total wine geek (as Lenn just asked about), but I have never seen bud break before so I was super excited to be in Sonoma for it this year! We didn’t see any on our first two days, but finally, on the 3rd day (March 18) we witnessed it! These shots were taken at Acorn Winery where Patrick told us we should definitely not miss a tasting (and I agree, highly recommend the place.) These are, if I remember correctly, the Sangiovese vines.

Wannabe Winos on the Road!

Well, we are headed off to our annual trip to California. I had hoped we were going to be able to visit another part of CA wine country this time, but we’ve decided on one more trip to the Dry Creek/Russian River/Alexander/Anderson Valley area, due to time constraints and a few other factors. Plus, we do really love the area, and it brings back nice memories of our honeymoon.

We will be in the area this Saturday evening through Wednesday morning, so really 3 full days. I’m trying not to plan too much this time, and I’m avoiding making appointments on this trip. Any you would absolutely say are MUST SEEs that don’t require appointments? And if you have any restaurant recommendations in the area, I’d love to hear them! I’m fairly set on stopping in again at Roederer, so we will be up in the Anderson Valley, and I would like to try to run by Bella and David Coffaro again to taste their newer line ups and restock my cellar with some of their offerings. With that said, here’s a list of the places we’ve previously visited:

Alexander Valley Vineyards
David Coffaro
Davis Bynum
De La Montanya
de Lorimier
Dutcher Crossing
Ferrari Carano
Hop Kiln
Michel Schlumberger
Mounts Family
Nelson Family
Robert Young
Yoakim Bridge


Share Your Favorite Sonoma Area Places!

I’ve got a friend who is planning a celebratory trip out to the Sonoma area this summer. She and her husband will be there for 5-6 days (have I mentioned that I’m very jealous?). I’ve already suggested some of my favorite wineries that we visited, plus places we ate and other things we did (like a day trip up to Mendocino). However, that won’t fill all the time (and I know if Matt and I get a chance to return I’d like to have a little more of an attack plan so we could make the most of the time)! So if you had 5-6 days to spend in the area and had never been there before, what would you not want to miss?

I know where I’d go again, so those are the places I have suggested so far. Anyone else have any thoughts?