Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sonoma Favorites (part 1)

I know I haven’t done any justice for those of you following as I’ve taken a bit of time off.  No worries, I’m back!

I recently spent time in Sonoma, California where I had the pleasure of re-visiting wineries I’ve favored in the past along with some new gems.  We travelled out of San Francisco on a Sunday morning just in time for lunch at the Freemont Diner in Sonoma.  If you haven’t been, it’s definitely worth a stop.  Everything is homemade including some tasty smoked meats.

Our first winery stop was at Tin Barn where Michael Lancaster is the owner and wine maker.  It’s not your typical winery as their tasting room and winemaking facility is in a warehouse.  Very cool setup and don’t worry, there are many other wineries located within this complex.  On my next visit, I plan to stop in at more.  One of my favorites was the ’09 Syrah that had rich aromas of black raspberries and licorice.  The flavors were full of dark fruit, blackberry and cherries.  With a deep ruby color and medium body finish, this was my first choice to purchase.  The ’11 Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley) was also a winner with aromas of crushed strawberries and hints of black peppercorns.  Jammy flavors full of dark cherries with an earthy, dry finish gave hints that this will age nicely to drink even better within the next 2-5 years.

Gundlach Bundschu was our next stop and other than having some great wines, they also have beautiful outdoor areas to enjoy your wine or a picnic.  My first taste was something I would have never found myself liking as this varietal tends to be somewhat sweet for my taste.  It was their ’12 Gew├╝rztraminer and it absolutely changed my pre-conceived thoughts for this grape!  For this vintage year they only made 4,500 cases so contact the winery directly if you’re interested.  The aromas were similar to that of a Sav. Blanc with grassy, herbaceous scents, citrus and lemon.  Flavors on the other hand were not like a Sav. Blanc and had butterscotch and ripe pears with mild citrus traces.  It was an amazing wine with refreshing flavors and not too sweet.

Another wine, which I liked a lot, was called Mountain Cuvee.  Aromas of black pepper and smoke gave hints to flavors of currants, plums and hints of mocha on the finish.  Having 7 varietals made this a tough guess for me but I did try and got 5 of the 7 correct.  It was pure luck…trust me!  37% Cab. Sav. and 31% Merlot are the primary grapes.  Cab Franc and Zin at 10% each followed by small percentages of Syrah, Petite Verdot and Malbec complete this great wine.  This is a serious everyday red blend with full body and long finish.  Enjoy with a hearty meal, grilled steak or your favorite aged cheese.

Stay tuned for part 2 in a few days.

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