Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sonoma County wine road barrel tasting

On a rainy Sunday last weekend my friend KY and I went to our favorite Dry Creek winery for once a year barrel tasting. As long-time wine club members, we've been watching their wine making efforts improve every year. And of course we couldn't miss tasting the future release of their wonderful Bordeaux style blend "The Mariner", out of the barrel. Composed of the classic five Bordeaux grapes, with a different proportion every year, the 2009 version displays beautiful balance and dark fruit flavors, and is although it will be released in 2013 and has a 5-7 years aging potential, it's perfectly drinkable even now.
When we started on the trip we didn't realize that it's not only our winery's event. In fact, most wineries on Sonoma County wine road, that runs through three valleys and wine making appelations: Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, and Russian River Valley - open their cellars to the public and pour the future releases of their wines out of the barrel. It's a marketing opportunity for the wineries, who sell futures for their next releases, and endless fun for the visitors, from serious wine enthusiasts to out-of-state tourists exploring California wine country, to loud parties in stretch limos, out for drinks.
As we were not planning on visiting multiple wineries on this trip, we didn't have too much time, and there was no tasting plan. So we decided to just drive around, enjoy the vistas, and stop in whatever wineries we encounter.
Here is where we been and what we found:
Teldeschi winery didn't have an actual new release barrel tasting. Instead, they were pouring a selection of their library Petit Sirahs from 1998 on.Smooth, respectable, well aged wines.

Eveterre Ridge delighted us with a beautiful, smooth, silky and deep 2010 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. The wine is not yet released, and available only as futures. The previous vintage sold out...
The wood burning oven on the patio overlooking the entire Dry Creek Valley produced flatbreads scented with thyme and rosemary from their garden, to go with the tasting, and everything pizzas for wine club party.
The cozy Rued Winery suprised with a 2008 zin produced from the grapes that grew next to a site of a  forest fire. As a result, the wine has a distinctive smokey flavor that reminded me of my homemade Canadian bacon!
Mill Creek Winery featured several perfectly crafted wines, including one of the best examples of California Sauvignon Blanc, that started with citrus and tropical fruits and ended with delicate honey flavor.

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