Monday, May 18, 2009

Hot Day in Sonoma

We headed up to Sonoma with our buddy Alan Baker (@cellarrat) to check out some wineries and run some errands. Alan is moving to Healdsburg to get back into winemaking full time. We are on the lookout for a host winery (still).

We first hit up a small collective tasting room with about 5 or 6 wineries. It was a great room but for some reason we could only taste from 2 of the wineries. Not much of a "tasting" room. What we had was nice. Nothing knocked my sox off. The Owl Ridge cab was the standout.

The grabbed some sammies in Hburg and headed to Arista to get a picnic table and a bottle of Gewurtz. Not an original idea; the places was busy and the tables packed. I liked what I tasted. Some classic Russian River pinots, nice location and super nice staff. This is a great place to take out-of-towners.

It was about 95 degrees outside by now, but the windows were down so we could soak in the wine country air. The growth of the vines is coming along nice and there are flowers setting up. The hot weather following a bit a rain a few weeks ago is playing out well.

Neither Aaron or Alan had been to Porter Creek, so off we went. These guys are doing it right! Nothing we tasted was off the mark. The tiny tasting room was packed and Mike made sure everyone was taken care of and explained the Porter Creek wines well. I ended up taking home a 2005 syrah and a 2007 Carignane. Which is odd, because I just about never go for Carignane. My wallet couldn't handle the pinot prices.

Mike @ Porter Creek

Next it was Thomas George which occupies the former Davis Bynum site next to Porter Creek. They sure improved this site. The tasting room has plenty of light and there is a huge cave being excavated into the hills. The standout was an unoaked chardonnay.

The one thing Aaron and I really needed to do was get to Woodenhead to buy some Fruitland Ridge pinot. You just cannot find this stuff around San Francisco these days. We bought 5 bottles and drank one on the deck overlooking the valley. We tasted only one other wine while we were there and it was epic. Again, $60 for this Anderson Valley just wasn't happening for my funds. We were on edge to see what Alan made of the Fruitland Ridge wine. We had built it up all day and a bit affraid we'd over hyped it. Apprently not! Add Alan as a believer in Southern Humboldt.

Aaron takes it all in at Woodenhead

Time to get out of the 95+ temps and back to the perfect weather in San Francisco. Alan tried a barrel sample of our 2008 pinot and we opened a bottle of the 2007 Wahluke syrah. Feedback was quite positive. A large neighborhood BBQ ensued, lots of bottles were tasted, meat eaten, kids going nuts and a rough Sunday morning. Needless to say we didn't make it to play baseball nor run the Bay to Breakers.

Highlights: Getting out of town, tasting great stuff, seeing wineries busy as ever and getting honest feedback on our wines.

Alan starting Bay to Breakers
(12 hours early).

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