Had the pleasure of tasting through the Mora Estate wines with Fabiano Ramaci. His Amarone is the first from the US and its rich thick succulent character will make you fall in love with this beautiful blend as he did years ago in Italy. The only thing more beautiful is how each bottle is hand painted.
As seen at my new favorite tasting room in Sonoma…
If you are a responsible driver and just tasting in the Sonoma square, you have many tasty options. Adobe Road and Charles Creek have small production yet bigger varietals like cab and zin. R2 has Rhone varietals from the best places in California. Walt is for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir lovers who really want to see the diversity of these grapes.
But a favorite will always be Eric K James. Tucked away in an alley but certainly not quiet. On Friday and Saturday nights they stay open late and play New Orleans style jazz. Their winemaker/operations/tasting room host makes your time there fun and is always interesting to talk to. His wines are all well crafted and represent the ultimate typicity.
When you get tired of the usual tasting room experience, make an appointment at Scribe Winery. When you want something different than the trend toward unnaturally high alcohol wines available today, make an appointment at Scribe. Or, when you just want to look at the most beautifully calming view of the land, call on Scribe. The day I stopped in was not even particularly good weather, but the view was still calming, soothing, and breathtaking. Check out these pics from their rustic tasting room:
If these photos don’t take your breath away, perhaps this will: their wines tell a parallel story to the trend back to traditional values. It’s not just a laid back attitude. Their wines are designed for a traditional soul in search of smoothness and light. They do not add yeast. Instead, they let fermentation happen naturally, which takes a bit longer but yields the most succulent juicy yet well balanced and elegant wines.
Get your Italian varietal fix at VJB who not only has varietals like Sangiovese and Barbera, but also an Italian style deli, and Prosecco. Aaaaaah, Prosecco. Do you need anything else? Are there other bubbles more profoundly approachable and lightly crisp and refreshing.
I mean hold it close to your heart. The Mayo Family Winery, who has been making wines for generations and all family employees, serves one winner after another and varietals across the board. Their Sauv Blanc has a wonderful crisp acidity yet not overwhelming in gripping grapefruit. My fave whitie was a Pinot Gris with banana thickness and lovely body.
On the dark side, my fave was the Ursus, which is a Bordeaux style blend. It was the perfect pot roast wine with deep red cherry flavors, nice acidity, and a long yummy smokey peppery finish.
Those of you in search of deliciously flavorful food lovingly prepared by a chef that cares and uses all fresh ingredients should walk past Sunflower Caffe and turn the corner. The Epicurean Connection is gonna give you that fix and more. They not only make their own cheese, they have wine pairing seminars, tasting menus, as well as cheese and beer pairings. Their owner/chef greets every guest and takes pride in the dishes she serves.
About those dishes, they are somewhat sort of your usual suspects but have an extra oomph. Grilled cheese has been around forever. But what about cheddar with ham, mustard and red pepper tapenade? And where else can you find a brie, salami and aioli sandwich?! That’s not a question cuz ya pretty much can’t find it elsewhere. Love their passion! The décor is a little bit etsy and barnyard but always delightful and refreshing.
The tasting room experience at B Wise is exquisite. Not just because the wines are delightful and well-crafted. But also because the tasting room attendant was amazingly helpful, informative, and excited about the wines. Ironically, that last one matters more than the first two. If someone is excited about the wines they pour, they are probably going to know more about the wines, winemaker, and the vineyards. They’re also going to take care of you. No, I don’t mean babysit. I mean, they’ll talk to you about what you are tasting, zero in on what you like/dislike, and cater to you.
You know who you are… you pinot noir apostles. You flock to the coast and cooler climates where you find more brethren. You worship this single grape above all others. Then, your dark side covets Merlot in a styrofoam cup from a greasy burger pit. Make haste! Get thee to Walt!
Show yourselves! Second thought, don’t show your pinot. Nobody wants to see that. Sip and savor the many (about a dozen) hand crafted different pinot noirs on the Walt tasting menu, each with a unique profile. All are from regions where this grape thrives and some are even single vineyard wines.
Cheers to the lovely and lively Paula at Cottage In and Spa in Sonoma because if it were not for her daily recommendations and constant directions and suggestions, I’d be drinking mediocre wine. We all know life is too short for that!