4th Annual Richmond Wine Opener

The 4th Annual Richmond Wine Opener is coming this fall to the Rotunda at the Science Museum.  Thursday November 6th, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Richmond will host a wine event featuring 150 wines from around the world and 10+ local restaurants serving up some of their finest fare for you to sample.  In addition musicians Noah Paley and Coyote will be on hand providing some great music to sip and savor to.  Also make sure to bring your checkbook, there will be great items up for bids in both live and silent auctions.

The event is $65 in advance and $75 at the door and it benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. ($35 dollars of each ticket is tax deductible)

I am trying to help build some awareness for this event through the blogging community here in Richmond, so I made the nice little badge you see to the left.  It would be great if you could snag it and put on your websites and blogs to help generate some buzz for this event.  Even if you aren’t a Richmond blogger, it would be cool if you can have it on your site, you never know what Richmonder might be reading.

An updated list of the wines being poured and the restaurants that will be sampling food will be out soon, and when it is I will post it up.

For tickets you can go to this WEBSITE or call Amy McCraken at 804.527.1500

Code for the badge – copy and paste the text below. When you grab the badge, leave a comment so I can know what sites have it. 🙂

<a href=”″><div align=”center”><img src=””></a&gt;

If you have problems getting the badge on your site email me at vcuspoon1 at comcast dot net.


Categories: wine, wine tasting | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Funny Picture

Well at least I think it is funny. I was browsing through the Wine Enthusiast gift catalog that came with some Christmas purchases I made, when I noticed this picture.

Why is this funny you may ask…. Well Arneis, the grape that is on the label is a white variety, and the wine in the bottle is clearly red. Arneis is the fruity, crisp, dry white wine from Piemonte that Megan and I discovered and fell in love with this summer while we were in Italy. Before it gained the popularity of being a great wine all on its own, it was used in the blending process with Barolo in order to soften it up a bit. If you have not yet tried the varietal, it is usually a great value and a great alternative to unoaked Chardonnays, although Arneis can sometimes see some time in oak.

Now back to the picture! Do you think they did it on purpose thinking most people won’t notice, but if a wine geek does it will be funny? Or do you think somebody made a mistake? Either way, Megan and I got a kick out of it.


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Categories: arneis, wine | 1 Comment

My November Wine Shipment – And Yes I’m a Dork

There is just something fun about receiving packages in the mail. Today I received our November wine shipments from Seghesio and Imagery Estates. When our wine shipments arrive I am like a kid (or just me at 30) at Christmas, ripping off the tape holding my wine safe in that flimsy cardboard box. A box so flimsy that I am in total disbelief as to how it ever makes its way from California in one piece. (That is the magic of the egg carton or Styrofoam wine bottle shipper.)

I eagerly take a look at the information sheet shipped with the wine first to find out what goodies I have received. Then I remove the outer shell of the egg carton shipper to unveil the glory of my new cellar treasures. Corny I know, but after a day of work – it is pretty exciting.


Take a look.


Categories: Imagery Estate, seghesio, wine | 3 Comments

Wine Tasting – 2005 Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma County

We received this bottle in one of our wine club shipments from Seghesio.  Seghesio has a great tasting room in the heart of the Sonoma Valley just outside of Healdsburg. We made a stop by there tasting room the last time we were in Sonoma, and decided to sign up for the wine club. Click here for my review of that visit!

A bit of background on the wine –

As the name would imply, the wine is made from old head pruned vines from vineyards in both the Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys.  The 2005 growing season was relatively cool and provided a long period of time for grapes to develop slowly and maturely. The grapes were harvested from the end of September to the 1st week of October at a nice high Brix (sugar content) of 26.4.  The 2005 Old Vine Zin saw 12 months of barrel aging in a mix of 75% French and 25% American oak, after 10 days of maceration with a final alcohol level of 15.3%.

My Tasting Notes –

Nose – Fig, raisin, sun-dried tomato

Taste – Boysenberry jam, fresh baby spinach

Mouthfeel – Full body, nice balance, good acid and no real “heat” with the high alcohol

Finish – Long and peppery

Stay tuned in the future for more wine reviews from Seghesio. We feel bad when we drink the ones that they only distribute from the tasting room or to the wine club, so we hold to them as long as we can.

Categories: seghesio, sonoma, wine, wine review | 3 Comments

Wine Tasting – 2004 Pascual Toso Reserve Single Estate Malbec

I received this wine for my birthday back in May from my buddy Mike and his fiancée Bobbi. Mike and Bobbi are huge Malbec fans, so I knew this had to be a winner.

A bit of background on the wine –

2004 was a good year for Malbec in Argentina, and rated up there with 2002 and 2003 that were considered excellent vintages for the region. 2004 saw fantastic weather for the majority of the season, although there was some late season rain, the crop was harvested under favorable conditions.

This wine was made from 100% Malbec grapes that are harvested by hand from vineyards in Las Barrancas, Maipu, Mendoza. After fermentation the 100% of this Reserve Malbec is aged in French Oak barrels for 12 months compared to only 30% of the non-reserve which is aged only 10 months. After barrel maturation, it is allowed to age in the bottle for an additional 6 months prior to release.

My Tasting Notes –

Nose – Blackberry, Swisher Sweet cigar, roasting coffee and candle wax

Taste – Blackberry jam, tobacco, black cherry towards the finish

Mouthfeel – Medium to Full body, very smooth

Finish – Nice and long with a lot of cherry flavors, good grip and slightly spicy

This is an excellent wine and a great value, especially if you get it for free, or if you pay for it. I think it retails for around $13.00.  This Malbec had a nice complex nose, with jammy dark fruit flavors and a long gripping finish.  Give it a try, I think it is pretty well distributed – about 4000 cases are made of the Reserve

Categories: Malbec, wine, wine review | Leave a comment

An Admission

Well this is an admission for those of you who don’t know me. For my friends out there already know that I was and always will be a Beverly Hills 90210 FANATIC. Go ahead, snicker and laugh – but one day there will be a game show devoted completely to 90210 trivia and I will win millions of dollars. 🙂 Ha-Ha

So the only thing that could be better than 90210, is 90210 and wine. I knew that star Jason Priestly had his own wine show called Hollywood and Vines which does not air in Virginia sadly, but recently Jason bought a winery in British Columbia.

From Wine Spectator Unfiltered:

Beverly Hills 902-wine-0? Jason Priestley, best-known for his portrayal of Brandon Walsh on the 1990s television series Beverly Hills 90210, is the latest to join the ranks of winemaking celebrities. The native Canadian has invested in British Columbia’s Black Hills Estate Winery, whose top wine is a Cabernet blend called Nota Bene. Priestley is known to be an epicurean and wine lover—though, sadly, not as well known for the great film Love and Death on Long Island in which he mocks himself, playing a former teen B-movie actor—and is currently co-host of a wine-related travel show on Canadian television called Hollywood & Vines. Priestley joined the board of directors of Vinequest Wine Partners, an Alberta-based investment group created specifically to buy Black Hills. Black Hills cofounder Bob Tennant is happy that the star power of the transaction will help bring attention to the Okanagan wine community, but wondered how hands-on Priestley will be in the day-to-day operations. “My first comment when I heard [Jason Priestley] was involved was, ‘Gee, I hope he knows how to prune.””

How cool would it be to saddle up to the tasting bar and have Jason doing the tasting?

Have a great weekend everyone – get out and drink some great wine.

Categories: 90210, wine | Leave a comment

Wine and Running

wine-and-barrel.jpg AND homer-running.jpg

So with the Suntrust Richmond Marathon happening tomorrow in town I thought I would write about wine and running. Obviously wine right before or during running serves no benefit and can actually be harmful to your body, but why would you want to reach for a bottle of wine during a race anyway. 🙂

There can in fact be some positive affects of wine on the cardiovascular system. Resveratrol (a compound found in wine) has been in the news a lot lately, mostly for its health benefits of reduced risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, etc.. But in the same studies on mice and rats, Resveratrol was seen to give the animals increased endurance while running on a treadmill. So could drinking wine give you edge need to wine the race? Probably not, but having a glass or two the night before a race will most likely not hurt your performance. One exception though is if you are running a marathon or other extra long race. This is because wine and other alcoholic beverages has a natural diuretic effect and may cause pre-mature dehydration during a long race.


A quick reminder – after next week Anything Wine will be switching to a wordpress address. The new site will be (which is the site you are viewing currently). I am posting to both currently, but after next will stop on the blogspot site. Please switch any feeds or bookmarks you have for the old address. Thanks so much for continuing to read Anything Wine.


Categories: reservatol, Richmond, wine | Leave a comment

Another Great Time at Barrel Thief


Another visit to Barrel Thief this past Friday provided us with another great time. (click here for my previous review)This time we took my sister Elizabeth and her husband/my best friend Jeff up to sample what B.T. had to offer. Although they were crowded, we did not have to wait for a table this time. They had a new selection of 12 wines by the glass this week, pitting American wines against their French counterparts. We decided to peruse the shop to decide what wines we would be having with dinner. However, when we sat down to order our bottles, our waitress McLane (hope I spelled that right), who was also our waitress last time, informed us that if you buy any bottle of wine currently available by the glass they wave the $6 corkage. Of course, this information changed the game completely, as we thought we had our wines all figured out after our walk around the store. Also since the bottles were on the by-the-glass list, she was able to give us a tasty taste of the wines we were considering.

 To start out for the evening we decided on the 2004 Robert Denogent Macon-Solutre Clos de Bertillones from Burgundy ($27). This was a really nice Chardonnay, excellent full bodied and round mouthfeel with just a hint of toasted notes and honey on the finish.

 We were impressed to see that even though it was only 3 weeks since our last visit (I know too long) they had made some changes to the menu.  On our first visit we had eyed the brie appetizer for 2 that our table neighbors ordered and noticed how good it looked and that it may take more than 2 to finish it. Since we were with Jeff and Elizabeth we decided to split it 4 ways.  It was covered with apricot preserves and slivered almonds, a change since our previous visit (looked like it had a dark berry topping). It was delicious, and it paired very nicely with our White Burgundy.

For dinner Megan and I chose the same Portabello Panini that we had last time, as well as one of the new additions to the sandwich menu – a grilled vegetable Panini with goat cheddar, olive tapenade and balsamic reduction. Of course we loved the Portabello Panini again, but of the two, the grilled veggie Panini was our favorite. Even though the sandwich contained 4 things with very different and powerful flavors – all were present on the palate and none were masked or overpowered by the other. Another excellent addition to the menu!

We were also excited to see a nice drizzle of Balsamic on the plates this time, dressing up those stark white plates very nicely. Another nice addition to the menu is the fact that you can now add a mixed green salad to your Panini for $2.

Jeff and Elizabeth also shared the Portabello Panini as well as the citrus smoked salmon, cream cheese, shaved red onion and capers Panini. They were also delighted with both and thought they were very tasty, but of the 2, the salmon won out for them.

 To go with these great sandwiches our second bottle of wine, which was also on the by-the-glass menu, was the 2005 Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches ($20). It was a really nice Cab Franc.  We were really impressed with its great red currant aromas laced with clove, and it had a nice slightly earthy finish with a hint of oregano.  Again, this wine paired very nicely with the sandwiches that we had chosen.

For dessert Megan and I chose the pound cake and Nutella Panini again, and it was again fabulous. Paired with our pound cake we shared a glass of delicious Vintage port that I can’t remember the name of. Jeff and Elizabeth decided to try the house favorite – Krispy Kreme Strawberry Shortcake. That is definitely a toothache waiting to happen, but they enjoyed it, and we may have to try it next time we are there.

Barrel Thief continued to impress – keep up the good work guys!
Barrel Thief on Urbanspoon

Categories: Richmond, wine | 1 Comment

Special Saturday Wine Tasting at the Wine Cellar

This Saturday, Nov. 10th, the Wine Cellar is having a special Saturday tasting from 1:00 – 4:00. They will be sampling some nice wines from Australia from the following producers: Cimicky, Berrys Bridge, and Langmeil Winery. Jeff’s email says the price range will be from $20 – $50 for the wines but as always the tasting is FREE.In addition to the wine Jeff will be sampling some great cheese and chocolates.

See you all there – Stay tuned later in the week for what Jeff will be serving on Friday night.

Categories: Richmond, wine, wine cellar, wine tasting | 1 Comment

Wine Tasting – 2005 Chateau Du Jaunay

2005 Chauteau Du Jaunay, Muscadet Sevre et Maine, Sur Lie

A bit of background on the wine – Muscadet is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape and is produced more than any other wine in the Loire valley. It is produced in the Western end of the Loire valley and this one in particular is produced in the Muscadet Sevre Et Maine appellation. The Chateau du Jaunay is produced from an 11 hectare vineyard site that is always picked by hand, usually in mid – September. The wine is produced in the sur lie style, meaning that it is kept on the lees (spent yeast that falls to the bottom of the vat/tank/barrel) after the fermentation process.My Tasting Notes:

Nose – Pear, floral, star fruit

Taste – Honey and lemon

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied but pretty acidic

Finish – Very dry, but not too long – disappeared fairly quickly off the palate

I believe this is the first Muscadet that I have had or at least the first one that I have had knowingly. It was a very nice wine with floral notes meeting you straight out of the gate. Very crisp and refreshing – similar to a Sauvignon Blanc in mouthfeel and balance but not so on the aroma and flavor profile. All in all, a good wine to try – it would be very nice to drink on the beach or a boat somewhere. We served it with Indian food, which was a departure from my normal Riesling, Gewürztraminer or Viognier that we usually default to.

Categories: wine, wine review, wine tasting | 1 Comment

The Evil Cellar Palate!!

I think the first time I read about cellar palate was on the website of Jim Law’s Linden Vineyards here in Virginia. He emphasizes that he and his staff taste wine from around the world on a regular basis to keep their palate honed and to ward off the evil cellar palate.A recent article by Jancis Robinson on brought the issue to my attention again. She reminds us that cellar palate is not just a problem for winemakers, but for consumers as well. Personally, I am not sure that I would define cellar palate as a problem for ALL consumers. If you always drink one particular wine or wine region, and that is all you drink and will most likely not drink anything else, then it doesn’t matter if the consumer adapts to the fact that the wine they continually drink is flabby or overly herbaceous and so on and so forth. In fact, in that case cellar palate may be beneficial, as consumers are able to gradually overlook deficits in their favorite wines. However, becoming accustomed to the poorer aspects of the wine would probably be accompanied by becoming “numb” to the best parts of the wine as well (the strawberry notes may taste less luscious over time).

On the other hand…

If you are a consumer like me who likes to drink many different wines, it may be a different story. For example, if you get on a pinot noir (soft, fruity, earthy) kick for a couple weeks, then go out and have a Syrah from the Rhone region, it may taste closer to an Aussie Shiraz. This is similar to a story that Jancis recounts in the first part of her article. Obviously, if you haven’t had this particular Syrah before (or ever had a Syrah), this first skewed experience could affect your opinions and purchase decisions for future Syrahs.

I think cellar palate further exemplifies the idea that every wine you drink is referenced against every other wine you have had before. As regular consumers, not trained expert wine panelists, we can have a hard time evaluating a wine on its own merits. Of course, most consumers won’t sit there and think “well this Cab. is similar to the one I had 2 years ago, but definitely better than the one I had at the tasting last week.” He/she evaluates against the whole collection of memories of Cab and in fact, not just Cab., but all wines they have had before.

So I believe to further your enjoyment of wine it is a good idea to take Jancis Robinson’s suggestion and drink globally. The more wine you can taste will serve 2 purposes. One, it will keep your palate fresh and keep you from falling susceptible to cellar palate. And two, it will really help you to learn what wines you really enjoy, AND THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART.

“Nobody tells you what you should put on your pizza, they shouldn’t tell you what to like about your wine.”- Gary Vaynerchuk

Categories: wine, wine education | 1 Comment

Friday Night Tasting at the Wine Cellar – 11.02.07

Below is what Jeff is offering up at the Wine Cellar this week for his free weekly tasting.1. PEDRONCELLI CHARDONNAY DRY CREEK VALLEY $10.95

I have not tried any of the wine above, which is the case a lot of the time at the Friday night tastings. But this week I have not even had any from these producers. So this should be a lot of fun, as USUAL!!

Hope to see you all there. FREE from 5:00 – 8:00

Here are some other tastings that are going on around town.

River City Cellars – Friday – 5:00-7:00
Corks and Kegs – Friday – 5:30 – 7:30
Private Stock Cigar and Wine – Every Friday and Saturday
Bella Vino (Midlothian) – Friday – 6:00-8:00

And also make sure to check out Can Can Mondays from 6-7. – Thanks to Scott for info on this tasting.

Categories: wine, wine cellar, wine tasting | Leave a comment

Wine Tasting: 2001 Northstar Merlot Columbia Valley

I received this bottle of Merlot from my parents for my birthday back in May but it retails for around $50. I knew it was supposed to be a rockin’ bottle of wine so we held on to it for just a little bit longer. We drank it the other night with some great veggie Stromboli from our local pizza joint Candelas.A bit of background on the wine – Northstar is located in the Walla Walla region of the Columbia Valley in Washington State and is famous for their ultra-premium Merlot. According to Northstar, 2001 provided a long stable growing season that lead to ideal (warm clear days with cool nights) harvest conditions in September. Ripe grapes were destemmed and crushed, leaving 25% whole berries intact, then inoculated with various strains of yeast including Prise de Mousse and Fermirouge. Individual lots were fermented separately in 2.5-ton fermenters and punched down 2-4 times daily during the 6-day fermentation process. After primary fermentation to dryness, the wine was racked into barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged for 17 months in primarily French and some American oak, using 83% new barrels and 17% one-year-old barrels. The final blend was created from 20 different varietal and vineyards lots. The final blend of the wine was 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and was bottle in June 2003.

My Tasting Notes:

Nose – Plum, black cherry and toasted corn husk
Taste – Blackberry, chocolate and leather

Mouthfeel – Rich, supple and smooth and very full bodied (especially for a Merlot)

Finish – long – over a minute

Wow, what an awesome wine. It is probably the most full bodied Merlot I have ever had. The wine itself was really big but very well balanced and I think it justifies the $50 price tag. Although I got it for free, I don’t think that swayed my opinion at all. Each sip was smooth and rich, and the flavors were all very powerful and the aromas just jumped out of the glass.

If you want a really nice wine for dinner, or are looking to get a nice bottle as a gift for a wine lover, the 2001 Northstar Merlot Columbia Valley fits the bill.

Categories: wine, wine review, wine tasting | 1 Comment

Wine Closure Systems and the Environment


Cork vs. Screw cap: A fight over the environment” is the title of a recent article in the Seattle Times. The title being what it is, I thought it would be a push towards screw cap usage to better the environment – I was surprised to read that I was wrong.

Apparently, cork farming is good for the environment on an ecological as well as a socioeconomic level. Cork trees take up 6.7 million acres of land in the Mediterranean regions where they thrive, and cork is a sustainable product that promotes healthy growth of the tree over its approximate 200 year life span.

Here is a quick primer on how cork is harvested (from After about 25 years of the tree´s life, cork used for wine can be harvested. It is after this period, the tree is considered mature and the cork is cut in the form of strips. These strips are then carefully removed and dried for 6 months or so, after which they are boiled for a few hours and then left to dry for around 3 weeks. Subsequently, they are cut and/or molded into the correct cork size. The cork trees can be restripped every 8-14 years throughout its lifespan.

Next, the washing process occurs where a variety of chemicals are used to sanitize the corks against bacterial growth. Some manufacturers are utilizing new technologies such as irradiation as a weapon against the potential bacteria growth, which results in cork taint. Corks are then sealed in bags containing inert preservation gases before being shipped to wineries.

Since the trees are not killed during harvest, it is considered a sustainable resource. The article points out that, as screw cap usage goes up, cork farms will begin to be neglected and will eventually die. Since the majority of cork forests are privately owned, the decline of business for farmers could lead a sell-off of land and subsequent industrial and commercial development. Obviously the ecosystem would be terribly disrupted, in addition to the sociological impacts of 100,000+ people losing their jobs, which could also be devastating to the economy.

So why do winemakers use screw cap closure systems if the use of them threatens cork tree existence? Well it is mostly an issue of quality. Cork is a pretty awesome closure system but it can have its bad days. The biggest reason for use alternative closures whether it be screw caps or synthetic corks is the removal of the possibility that the wine will get cork taint, chemically speaking TCA (2,4,6 Trichloroanisole). TCA will give the wine that famous musty, wet cardboard smell that affects an estimated 5% of all bottles sold. Also, screw caps aren’t susceptible to drying out and letting in air that can oxidize and ruin the wine, or just become brittle and break apart as someone is trying to open there bottle for dinner. So if your brain is anything like mine, you are thinking – well at least screw caps are recyclable? According to the article they are not. The typical process involves non renewable resources and a plastic insert that make it difficult to reuse and not acceptable to most residential recycling programs.

So my question to help settle the debate would be to ask, which manufacturing process is better for the environment? Does one process have less of an environmental impact than the other? Unfortunately I do not know the process of making screw caps nor do I know how much energy and/or waste is produced in the process for cork making outlined above. And at the winery level, which is most efficient on the people power as well as which method has the smallest carbon footprint? The question above is purely to settle the environmental/ecological side of the debate. There is no real way to account for the loss of 100,000 jobs unless you build screw cap mfg. facilities on the sites of old cork farms.

Obviously their are other debates out there on cork vs. screw cap like: screw caps take away the romance of opening the bottle, and only cheap bottles have screw caps. Well the second is definitely not true anymore as bottles over $100 are starting to show up on wine store shelves with brand new screw caps.

So what does everyone think? Give me a shout with your opinion on the subject.

Categories: wine, wine education, wine industry issues | 4 Comments

Napa Trip – Day 1

Megan and I just got back from Napa/Sonoma valleys, where we had an awesome trip exploring tons of wineries and loving every minute of it. The next few blog posts will outline our 3 days there and will have lots of pictures and information about all the wine tasting that we did, as well as about our cottage we stayed in and the restaurants were we dined. ENJOY!

Going over the Golden Gate Bridge

which way to Ferrari – Carano?

Day 1 – We left San Francisco, minus our luggage that did not arrive with us the night before, enjoying the beautiful views of the San Francisco bay…eagerly awaiting our first tastes back in the California Wine Country. On our way up to the Russian River Valley, we stopped in Healdsburg to get some lunch goodies from the Oakville Grocery. It is a great market with tons of cheeses and fresh made to order sandwiches, that are great for picnic supplies

Oakville Grocery Store – Healdsburg

Stop 1 – Our first stop of the day was Ferrari – Carano (you might have heard of it). As you can tell from the pictures below, their winery is palatial. Upon entering the tasting room we discover that they have two tastings, one for $5 dollars that tasted most of the wine they regularly distribute and then a $15 dollar tasting of wines down in the barrel room that includes reserve wines and wines that only go to wine club members and or tasting room patrons. We opted for two of the $15 tastings and split the list of 8 wines. The room that the tasting was conducted in was beautiful and adjacent to one of their barrel rooms, with lovely wood furniture and ornate iron chandeliers. Here is a list of what we had for tasting 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, 2004 Forella Chardonnay, 2004 Tre Terre Chardonnay, 2004 Reserve Chardonnay, 2003 Zin, 2002 Syrah, 2003 Sangiovese, 2002 Tresor. All of these wines were fantastic but I will comment on the 3 we purchased all of which are not distributed to the east cost for wholesale. The 2005 Sauvignon Blanc was great and is different from their Fume Blanc you may have seen on the shelves, and includes in addition to the Sauv. Blanc a bit of a Muscat Clone. It offeres great apricot and floral notes with peach and honeydew following in the mouth, with a very smooth mouthfeel and not as tart as some Sauv. Blancs. Our 2nd favorite/purchase was the 2003 Sangiovese which is completely dry farmed for that extra umph. It was delicious with blueberry, blackberry toast with a nice slightly spicy finish. 3rd favorite/purchase and these are not in any order of preference (just of how I wrote them down) is the 2002 Tresor which is a blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot with Cab Franc and Petit Verdot in the mix as well. The 2002 Tresor had 20 months in oak and aged 24 months in the bottle. Cocoa and Eucalyptus on the nose with a yummy taste of blackberry and raspberry layered nicely with a mild earthiness and a smooth tannic finish. It was an awesome wine!! Megan and I both definitely recommend the extra money for the reserve wines, they are all amazing and most are hard to find on the East coast.

Above are all from Ferrari- Carano

Stop 2 – Yoakim Bridge Winery
Yoakim Bridge is a small 2000 case winery (so everything is sold from the tasting room or wine club) in the Dry Creek Valley, just a ways down the road from Ferrari-Carrano. They have estate grown Zin and purchase all of the other grapes from local Dry Creek growers. The winemaker and owner is David Cooper who does everything in the winery by himself which is truly amazing. Check out the picture below of Megan and David in the winery, where he is displaying his beautiful Cabernet that is needing another punch down. David only has red wine and they are all fantastic. For tasting were the 2002 Zin, 2004 Merlot, 2003 Cuvee (Cab. Franc, Merlot, and Cab Sauv.) 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2002 Syrah. Our favorite and purchase from Yoakim was the Zinfandel. Beautiful with spicy raspberry that wasn’t too jammy, great chocolate and long finish. The Zin was estate grown, and blended with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon from Wallace Creek Vinyeard.

Megan with Yoakim Bridge winemaker – David Cooper

Stop 3 – Seghesio
Seghesio is another winery that most of you have probably heard, and there Sonoma Valley Zin is usually a staple on a lot of wine lists. Well Seghesio was tasting 5 wines that day, but we got to taste a few extra due to our enthusiasm and great discussion we were having with the tasting room associate who was a Seghesio herself (daughter of the current winemaker). Again, all of the wines we tasted were fantastic and here is a list of what we tasted. 2005 Pinot Grigio (light fruity and crisp), 2004 Costiera Pinot Noir (blackberry, cherry, not too earthy), 2004 Sangiovese (spicy, tobacco and earth), 2004 Cortina Zin (jammy dark fruit, spicy followed up with cocoa) and the 2004 Old Vine (black raspberry, not as spicy, smooth). Those were the 5 wines that everybody got, the next 3 are ones that we got to taste special – 2004 Saini Zin (similar to the Cortina, with lots of rich chocolate and raspberry), 2004 Home Ranch Zin (1896 Vines, smoother than the other zins, still spicy, with jammy dark fruit flavors), and 2004 San Lorenzo which wasn’t even for sale (a great wine probably the “lightest” zin of the bunch, a great Zin for beginners. Seghesio was great and all of there wines were fantastic, we signed up for their wine club so we will be getting 2 bottles qtrly. 2 of which are already on the way. Yummy. We also ate our lunch at Seghesio with a nice bottle of water due to all the wine we had been having (I needed to drive some more haha). They have a beautiful picnic area and it was a beautiful sunny California day.

Megan at Seghesio

Stop 4 – Landmark Winery
We hit Landmark was me made our way South through Sonoma county towards the Glen Ellen Inn. Landmark is most famous for the Overlook Chardonnay that you might have seen at Costco. Our favorite and the bottle we purchased was the 2004 Damaris Reserve Chardonnay. It was lovely with nice light fruit aromas accented by apple and pear with a great taste of hazlenut and caramel, a truly yummy chardonnay. Our other favorite was the 2004 Syrah that was completely organic. It seemed lighter than most Syrah’s (which we like) and was filled with aromas of black raspberry, a smooth mouthfeel and a spicy finish. Landmark is farely small by California standards producing around 15,000 cases. They have beautiful surroundings and are a great place to have a picnic. (although we didn’t).

Tasting bar at Landmark, with a beautiful mural

We headed on down the road to Glen Ellen which is about 12 miles North of downtown Sonoma. We had eatin at the Glen Ellen Inn last year when we were in wine country and remebered that they had six cottages out back along the creek for guests to stay. You check in at the bar in the restaurant and get your key. We were in Cottage number 2. Check out the pictures below, isn’ t it awesome.

Top picture of our cottage, bottom is of the courtyard out of room

That night for dinner we dined in the downtown Sonoma at the Girl and Fig, a great cozy restaurant that focuses on fresh local ingredients which is always great, especially when you are a vegetarian. I definitely recommend them, and they are a well known fixture in the Sonoma Valley.

All of the wines that we purchased on the trip were wines that you are not able to purchase back in Richmond. So even if we went to larger wineries we purchased the small lot stuff, that we knew would be a special addition to our “wine cellar”. All in all we came home with 2 cases of wine, stay tuned for Days 2 and 3 to come in the next week.

Swirl, Sniff, Sip.

Categories: napa, sonoma, travel, wine | 5 Comments