Sunday, November 14, 2010
There's an App for That
Saturday morning I drove up to Healdsburg to meet friends for the 12th Annual Wine & Food Affair "Tasting Along the Wine Road," a weekend of wine and food pairing in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. Complete event info located here: http://www.wineroad.com/annualevents/2.
As I had afternoon plans, we were able to visit only a few of the participating wineries and I'm sure I missed some highlights. First off for us was Pedroncelli as Deb and Nat needed to pick up their wristbands and glasses there. They offered a Sauvignon Blanc with a leek and goat cheese tart
as well as port with truffle
Next up we went to Kachina, a winery I had not heard of before.
They were featuring Cabernet with a Braised Pork Shoulder with red Redyed Gravy and Cornbread, which was a nice dish, but with a bit more sweetness than I thought optimal for the wine. They also had a port with truffle
Then to one of my favorites, Ridge for a Syrah/Grenache Blend with a cannelini bean soup with duck confit. Although I enjoyed the wine, I thought the 07 Lytton Springs which is just lovely right now, was a better pairing. But that may simply be that I am really have with where the Lytton is right now.
The Deb suggested Sonoma Cutrer which featured some of the loveliest croquet courts I have ever seen. had I not been in a hurry, I would have played a game. There pairings were some of the best of the day with an 07 Russian River Pinot and Wild mushroom tart and 06 Les Pierres Chardonnay: Smoked Scallops with Lemon Aioli. We also snuck inside for a taste of the 98 Cutrer and it was interesting to see how a California Chardonnay can age.
Last stop for me was Twomey where they were featuring 4 different pinots, Santa Barbara, Russian River, Sonoma Coast and an Anderson Valley paired with Pumpkin gnocchi with brown butter, walnuts and sage
Deb and Nat then dropped me off so I could rush to to check in at Jordan Winery http://www.jordanwinery.com/ as I had been lucky enough to be offered a stay in one of their guest cottages for the night. Upon arriving at the Winery, I met up with my friend Lorraine who had driven up to join me. Since we were running late, my fault this time, we headed out for the tour before checking in to our cottage. Our group of five, including a sommelier from Seattle and a woman from the Berkeley Rep, set out on a tour of the grounds. First stop was the new wood burning oven out doors with views overlooking the kitchen garden and olives trees below where we learned that three-quarters of their acreage remains dedicated to natural habitat.
We then headed inside to see the production facilities. First stop crushers and bins, with the smell of the newly harvested grapes in the air. Second stop, automated tanks, that the winemakers can check remotely on their iphones. As Lorraine said: "There's an App for that." Next up, we admired the oak barrels, with thoughts of earthquake safety and learned that green marker on the barrels meant they were French. Then onto the wooden tanks, with their, as our guide stated "S&M like straps." The wine resides in these 6,000 gallon oak tanks, originally constructed in 1976, for three months followed by an additional twelve months of aging in oak barrels.
Upstairs we ventured into the library without any books, before heading through the secret door into the tasting room. On a long table we were presented with a cheese plate, with estate made olive oil. Our first wine was an 08 Russian River Valley Chardonnay. Crisp, with nice acid on the finish, it paired well with the tuna appetizer. Next up were both an 03 and an 06 Alexander Valley Cabernet. The 03 was showing well, with classic cocoa on the nose and strong fruit with structure on the palate. It was a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc and was barrel aged 12 months in 68% French oak and 32% American oak; 3 months in American oak tanks.
The 06 was young, fruit dominated at this point, but with time began to open and show its potential. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19.5% Merlot, 4.5% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec, it was aged 12 months in 66% French oak and 34% American oak with an Alcohol Level of 13.5%.
Lorraine and I then convoyed down to our accommodations, a two bedroom secluded guest cottage with lovely decks that made it feel almost as though we were in a tree house. Bright and airy, the cottage featured a full kitchen, living room with gas fireplace, a large main deck with a second bedroom and deck up the spiral staircase. On the table was a bottle of chardonnay chilling in an ice bucket and a fruit bowl with plums and apples sat on the counter. As the weather was still lovely, we sat outside on the deck enjoying the oaks and serenity until eventually stirring ourselves to head inside and prep for dinner with a friend.
All in all, a very good day.