After the Wine Bloggers Conference finished up on Sunday, Joel Quigley of Paige Poulos Communications invited us up to C. Donatiello winery in the Russian River Valley for a private tasting. On hand to taste were Joe from 1WineDude, Lenn from Lenndevours, Becky from Smells Like Grape, Nick from Wine Scholarship, Thea from Luscious Lushes, Megan from Wannabe Wino, and Patrick from Oenophilia. Upon arriving, the first thing we drank in was the beautiful gardens and views that surround the winery. We were then greeted by Chris, the “C” in C. Donateillo, in their private tasting room. Laid out before us was a magnificent spread of 7 wines, a tasting pad, and a glass of water ready for us to taste.
The winery is located in the “cradle” of the Russian River Valley (RRV), and is highlighted by their certified organic Maddies Vineyard that is located in the Middle Reach of the RRV. Surrounding the winery are beautiful gardens and fountains that include a magnificent aroma garden. The organic aroma garden was created specifically with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in mind, and contains a plethora of flora reflective of the aromas found in these two wines. For a sensory geek like me, walking through this garden with a glass of Pinot Noir in hand was truly a magical experience. Check out the great video that Lenn shot of Chris explaining the details of the aroma garden.
The winery produces about 6,000 cases from their state-of-the-art gravity flow production facility. They produce primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also produce a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc and Rose that is only offered to wine club members.
My Tasting Notes –
Sauvignon Blanc (aged in neutral oak barrels) Nose: citrus, hay and grass. Taste: apricot, stony fruit, with green apple on the finish.
2007 Christie Vineyard Chardonnay (aged in neutral French Oak) Nose: oak, vanilla, apple. Taste: apple, spice, nutty almond, hint of butter on the finish.
2006 RRV Chardonnay (9 mos. In 50/50 New/Old French Oak) Nose: buttery, apple, lemon. Taste: fairly oaky, butter cream, and honey
2006 Orsi Vineyard Chardonnay (20 yr old vines, 60% aged in 50% New French Oak for 8 mos.) Nose: fairly tight with citrus, mineral, and granny smith apples. Taste: apple, nuttiness, light toast, fresh hay and lemon rind.
2006 Maddies Vineyard Pinot Noir (10 mos. in 50% new French Oak) Nose: very floral mostly of rose, raspberry, sage, and cranberry. Taste: undistinguishable bright red fruit, hint of chocolate and plum. Very nice mouthfeel and dry finish.
2006 RRV Pinot Noir (10 mos. 40% new French Oak) Nose: allspice, cherry. Taste: allspice, raspberry and wheat toast, bit of pepperiness at the finish.
2006 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir (10 mos. 50% new French oak) Nose: rose, leather, earth. Taste: cherry and red currant.
Of all the wines my favorites were the Orsi Vineyard Chardonnay and the Maddies Pinot Noir. I purchased the Pinot Noir to take home and cellar for another 2 years or so. In addition, Chris gave us all a bottle of their Rose to take home and enjoy.
After our tasting, Chris took us around the property and showed us the rest of the facility as we sipped and enjoyed some more of their wines. Thanks to both Chris and Joel for a fabulous end to our weekend in Sonoma.