VIsiting Seghesio Vineyards

Our very first stop on this trip to Sonoma was at Seghesio Vineyards. Unfortunately, I left my camera at our B&B and didn’t take any pictures. The tasting room is fairly close to the center of Healdsburg, so is a great stop for after lunch in town, which I would have thought of had I actually mapped everything we wanted to get to in relation to each other rather than making individual maps for each thing! Enough of that. I loved the yard in front of the tasting room. It had a single row of vines growing up close to the property line and was very well manicured with flowers all in bloom. Inside, the tasting room was very spacious, with a long tasting bar against the back room. I thought it was great that through the windows behind the bar you looked directly into the barrel room which was dimly lit so you could see all the barrels lined up (I’m a little fascinted, oddly enough, by wine barrels).

Our tasting room attendant was very friendly, he encouraged us to come back on Friday for the food and wine pairing they offer, but we weren’t able to swing back by. Sorry about that! He chuckled at my note-taking, but said he’d check out my blog, so hopefully he will and catches this post! We tasted through 6 wines, following are my brief notes on each.

2005 Russian River Valley Pinot Grigio: $19.95. Light and crisp, lemon and vanilla flavors, nice finish. Good summer wine.

2005 Costierra Pinot Noir: $38. Raspberries, cherries, spicy. Very young. Seems like it should age very well.

2004 Sangiovese: $28, 14.8% alcohol by volume. Very pleasant aroma, juicy black fruit, very well done. This was Matt’s favorite of the tasting, we took home 3 bottles.

2004 Cortina Zinfandel: $36, 15.3% alcohol by volume. Pepper, blackberries, juicy, good structure.

2004 Old Vine Zinfandel: $33, 15.3% alcohol by volume. Blackberry tart, vanilla. Juicier than the Cortina. This was my favorite of the tasting, we took home 1 bottle.

2005 Home Ranch Zinfandel: $36, 15.3% alcohol by volume. Earthy, dark cherries, slight hint of vanilla.

Overall, a very nice choice for a first stop. The wines were a little pricier than I would have liked, but were all very well done.

Revisiting Trentadue

We first happened upon Trentadue last summer. And I quite literally mean happened upon. Besides the idea that we wanted to go to the Bodega Bay Wine and Seafood Festival at least one day, we had no plans on our first trip to Sonoma. That would mainly be a result of the fact that in a few short months (May 2006-August 2006) I graduated from law school, studied for and took the bar, moved to the DC area and got married. All I wanted to do on our honeymoon was relax and have as little in the way of structure as possible. When we arrived in CA, we basically grabbed a map of the Russian River/Dry Creek/Alexander Valley area, listened to our innkeeper and headed out on our merry way. And one of those tops was Trentadue, where Matt fell in love with the Chocolate Amore Port. While eating a delicious breakfast of Dutch pancakes and fresh berries on this trip, our innkeeper was chatting with us and asking where we planned to go. I had a list this time, and one appointment to make, but all the places I wanted to get to didn’t open until 11. The innkeeper suggested Trentadue, and got Matt thinking that he wanted more Chocolate Port. So off we went.

Trentadue’s tasting room reminds of a Spanish villa from the outside, with the yellow stucco walls and the burnt red roof. The gardens were looking gorgeous with plenty of new flowers blooming and if it were a little later in the day I would have wanted to stop there and picnic at some of the tables. Inside is a decent sized tasting bar with a very friendly tasting room attendant who was modeling the newest in Trentadue merchandise. Upstairs is an art gallery and in the tasting room are many different special bottlings, Magnums, wine gifts sets, posters, etc.

Our server chatted away with us about houses and trying to buy a house and moving and all such things as she poured 6 regular offerings and 3 Port offerings off a special menu. Additionally, they offer a reserve menu, but the above was quite enough for us. The 6 regular offerings were all great values, with only one bottle breaching the $20 mark, and several under the $15 mark. Following is a run-down of what we tasted:

2005 Sauvignon Blanc- $14. Pear aromas with pear and citrus in the mouth. Light and crisp, perfect for summer and for the beautiful weather that day. We bought 2 bottles.

NV Grand Cuvee California Champagne- $12. A very light sparkler with the scent and flavor of green apples, good structure and lots of tiny bubbles. We brought home 3 bottles.

2004 Petite Sirah-$18. Blueberry cobbler and blackberries on the nose, and intense aroma. In the mouth it was lighter than I expected and I thought it needed to age.

2004 Sangiovese-$18. Raspberries and spice on the nose, currants and cherries in the mouth. Drinking well now, but could age longer.

2004 Old Patch Red-$14. Spicy, oaky and dark berries on the nose. Raspberries, dark fruit and spicy inthe mouth, I liked this blend a lot. We took home 1 bottle.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon-$22. Vanilla and blackberries on the nose, blackberries and currants in the mouth. I liked this one too.

Special port tasting:
2005 Viognier Port- 375mL $25. Peach, pear and spice on the nose, citrus and orange in the mouth. A little sweet for me, but Matt liked it.

2004 Petite Sirah Port-500mL $25. Blackberries, dark spicy and smooth in the mouth. I loved this one and picked up a bottle for my dad as he loves port. A small thank you for the help he’s giving us fixing up our house.

NV Chocolate Amore-375mL $25. A perennial favorite in our house. Chocolate and raspberries on the nose, more of the same in the mouth. This wine is infused with chocolate. A lot of fun and great for something different. We bought 2 bottles.

Weekend Round-Up 4/6/2007

The Curious Grape in Shirlington will be hosting an Easter Wine Pairing on Saturday from 1-4. At least 4 wines will be poured.

On Monday at the Curious Grape the winemaker from Langmeil in Australia will be pouring 3 of his Shiraz offerings and the Curious Grape will also have 2 Australian whites available from 6-8pm.

At Out of Site Wines in Vienna tonight you will find Springtime selections on the tasting bar from 5-8pm.

On Saturday from 1-4pm Out of Site Wines will be having a double sized tasting bar with one featuring appetizer and ham wines for Easter and the second table featuring lamb and dessert wines.

Tonight at Arrowine in Arlington you will find wines from around the world being poured from the Country Vintner from 5:30-7:30pm.

On Saturday from 1-4pm at Arrowine you will find a Taste of Oregon on the tasting bar.

Weekend Round-Up 3/30/07

Lots of great tastings in the area for you to check out this weekend!

On Saturday Out of Site Wines in Vienna, VA will have “Superstars from France and Spain” on the tasting bar from 1-4pm.

Unwined in Alexandria is having a great event on Sunday at 5pm, West Coast Wine Tasting. You need to RSVP though as space is limited: Please RSVP to 703.820.8600 or vanessa@unwinedva.com

Tonight at Arrowine in Arlington you will find a tasting off Italian wines from 5:30-7:30pm.

Saturday at Arrowine there will be more than 10 wines being poured at the Super Tasting of values.

At the Curious Grape in Shirlington from 6-8pm tonight is a tasting of Springtime in Italy.

Tomorrow at the Curious Grape from 12-4pm is the Art of the Blend featuring “interesting” blends.

On Wednesday, April 4, at the Curious Grape (I know, not the weekend, but you’ll deal) are New Arrivals from Austria from 6-8pm.

Spring Selections from France and California will grace the tasting bar at the Curious Grape on Thursday April 5 from 6-8pm.

Tonight at Church Street Cellars in Vienna, VA wines from Australia will be poured.

Weekend Round-Up

So, being the wino I am, I am signed up for a ton of local wine shoppes’ email lists and I get updates (really, a ton of them) about local tastings and what’s happening on the weekends. I thought I’d try doing a quick summary of the events you can attend in the DC Metro Area.

At Arrowine in Arlington tonight there is a free tasting of Spanish wines being poured by a rep from Elite Wines. It runs from 5:30 to 7:30 and you get a discount (typically 10-20% on any wines purchased that were tasted).

Tomorrow at Arrowine from 1-4 there’s another tasting of wines from Michael Downey Selections.

At Out of Site Wines in Vienna tonight from 5-8 there is a pouring of wines from Schild Estate wines from Australia.

Tomorrow at Out of Site you will find 5 wines from JAO Imports being poured, including a 2005 Fontaine-Gagnard Bourgogne blanc and a 2001 Christia Beaumes de Venise.

At the Curious Grape in Shirlington tonight you will find Not to be Missed French Values and Irish Cheeses from 6-8.

Tomorrow at the Curious Grape there is an Italian Winemaker tasting from 1-3. As always, you’ll get a tasting bar discount and more if you buy a case, even a mixed one.

That’s it for now, thought I’m still missing a few emails.

Tasting with Best Cellars

I seem to have picked up a bug yesterday and am currently in my pjs on my couch, sitting up for the first time today and eating some ice chips…yum, ice chips. Basically, it means I had no wine last night (or really nothing at all, yum, ice chips….) and I will not be imbibing tonight either. Instead, I have a report on a tasting we attended a few weeks ago (part of my backlog of posts) with Best Cellars in Dupont Circle. It was organized by my college’s alumni club and cost us $30 for the evening for lots of yummy appetizers and 6 wines. A little pricey, but all the profit goes to the scholarship fund, so at least it’s a good cause.

We were presented with 3 white, 2 reds and a port to taste. It was done very nicely, with a new glass for each wine, the server explaining all the wines and asnwering questions that the participants had.

First up was a Botter “Spago’ Prosecco from Veneto, Italy. The bottle cost $11, is 11% alcohol by volume and is non-vintage. On the nose, it was sweet and fruity with a distinct scent of almond paste, plus a little honey. In the mouth it was very slightly fizzy, light and slightly slight, but with a nice crisp note to keep it in line. In the taste I got fizzy peaches and apricots. A good value.

Second was a 2005 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc from Napa. The bottle cost $15, is 13.5% alcohol by volume and has a screwcap closure. On the nose, this one showed grassy herbs and a tiny bit of apple. I was surprised when I sipped it and got a large amount of pear in the mouth, with a bit of apple and finishing with big grapefruit. Overall, this one had a very good structure and acidity. It’s exactly what I wanted with my crab the other night when I got an oaked sauvignon blanc instead.

Third up was a Crisol Torrontes from Mendoza, Argentina. The bottle cost $9. This wine showed honey, sharp white flowers (I’m not really sure what I meant by that) and passion fruit on the nose. In the mouth, there was a slightly sour note, but the rest of the flavor was all crisp green apples. At $9 this was a great value, I would definitely get it again.

Next we moved to the reds. First up was a 2005 Tortoise Creek Pinot Noir from Pays d’Oc, France (I didn’t get a chance to look at this bottle, but I was under the impression that the French didn’t name their wines by the grape….am I totally wrong?). This one was $12, was 13% alcohol by volume and had a screwcap. An odd fact about this one is that it is stainless steel fermented. The wine was ruby red in the glass, with a nose of raisins and black currants. In the mouth, I got more of the currants, plus a little earth. This one was a bit mouth drying, though smooth until the end and showing some cherries. My overall impression was “eh.”

Second for the reds was a 2006 Altos las Hormigas Malbec Reserva, again from Mendoza, Argentina. This one cost $13 and was 14.3% alcohol by volume. I got alcohol and plastic on the nose of this one, with a little spice. After that cleared, I got raspberries, cedar and black currants. In the mouth, some currants, and not much else. This was my least favorite of the evening.

Finally, we had a Ramos Pinto Tawny Port from Douro Valley, Portugal. This wine cost $15 and is 19.5% alcohol by volume. This wine smelled sweet and had alcohol on the nose. I also got some dark fruit on the nose. In the mouth, this was really full of alcohol, but I also managed to discern dried raisins, dried currants and dark fruits. Overall I thought it tasted like Robitussin cough syrup. But I’ll admit I’m not a big port drinker, so I don’t really know what makes a good port.

Altogether, a very nice evening and I’m glad we attended. I also really enjoyed some of the whites and the price was right for everyday wines. When I am in need again I will be seeking out the 2 whites I really liked, as I thought they were very good values.

Tasting at Arrowine

We decided to head over to Arrowine last night as I had gotten an email saying they were having a tasting. They ended up pouring a Sauvignon Blanc, an un-oaked Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir and a (cheap) Bordeaux. We bought a bottle of each of the whites, I especially liked the Sauvignon Blanc, but Matt was more partial to the Chardonnay. Neither of us were overally impressed with the reds, plus, we have bottles of red coming out of our ears. (You may think I’m joking, but at last count, I think we have 109 bottles.) The Pinot tasted like it had some potential, but it was young, only a 2005 and needed some time to come into its own. The Bordeaux was cheap. And it tasted cheap, heavily oaked and really unappealing.

Also picked up a few cheap bottles while there, though even the poured whites ended up being under $20 each with the tasting discount. More to come as we get into those bottles!