Friday, February 25, 2005

Sonoma Spotlight on Italian Wines

-Sonoma 2/20

Participating Wineries: Blackstone, Family Wineries, Kaz, Kunde, VJB and Wellington.

Highway 12 north of Agua Caliente heading into Kenwood...

Where our 1st stop was Kunde winery. Our host was John who poured '01 Barbera ($24) - very nice ripe red fruit with a nutty finish. Their other italian offering was '01 Sangiovese ($24) which has a wonderful nose, floral and a nice oak finish.

But the real gems were out in the main tasting room. Start with the '03 Chardonnay Nu ($20) - no malolactic fermentation - au natural! Don't miss the '00 Cab Franc ($24) - cherry cola taste with a touch of dark chocolate and finish up your tasting with '01 Bob's Red ($15) - a great value - robust red blend. '00 Claret ($25) berry with a pepper finish and the '00 Cabernet Sauvignon/Drummond ($70) - Rich, big andn tasty!

Continuing north on 12, then taking a left on Dunbar is Wellington. They sell over 25 wines ranging from Sauv. Blanc to Port. Unfortunately a bus had pulled in before we grabbed our 5 tastes and we're off...great wine, but too busy.

The next two were pleasant discoveries:

VJB Vineyards is producing some of the best Italian wines that Sonoma has to offer.
We were blown away from the '04 Sangiovese ($24) an unexpected french kiss - this gets you up front with amazing fruit burst. Get it fast only 125 cases produced.
'04 Belmonte Family Estate Montepulciano ($26) is even more limited with only 50 cases being produced. A nice medium red with ripe cherry and plum flavors with a touch of cedar at the end. '04 Primitivo ($26) - an Italian cousin to Zinfandel. This is a spice fruity red that was the one I'd ever describe as being effervescent - refreshing. '04 Barbera ($30) - deep color rich with a blackberry finish...had to taste a few times after the uniqueness of the Primitivo. VJB also produces a very nice Reserve Cab.

KAZ - if you're lucky enough to have the old Kazola wait on you - it will be a memorable trip.
His '03 Sangiovese and '03 Lake Co. Barbera were very nice. But their unique blends are a work of genius. We had so much fun here that I lost my tasting's been known to happen.

Don't miss VJB and KAZ during your next Sonoma visit.



Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Wine Tasting in Washington

Just moved to Seattle and after over 10 years in California, I was ready to sample the Washington Wines.

1st trip to nearby Woodinville was great.

Chateau St. Michelle - (on a rainy Sunday) - not crowded and their welcome wine would be one of the best I've tasted that day. 2001 Chateau St. Michelle Reserve - Syrah. Very deep in color and very balanced. List $29 was on sale for around $19. Great Value - need to buy more.

Take the tour at Chateau St. Michelle - the wall of awards is worth the trip. Plus you get to sample some different wines then what's available in the tasting room. Beautiful grounds...can't wait for summer concerts.

Columbia Winery: (same day) Was so excited to find out that I'm a member - because I'm in their sister's wine club Franciscan-Napa. So wine tasting was free and you get to sample all the reserve products. Fantastic service, but can get busy when the wine train is there - then a limited menu of wines is offered. Note: don't worry if you see a lot of people in costume - they do murder mysteries on the train. Columbia has some of the best Bordeaux blends. Full body with great finish.

That was enough wine for one trip. Details on wine tasting in Seattle coming up.