Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tasting Barrels, Differently

Great mission, with a new cohort.  2011, Barrel Tasting, provided by the masterful orchestration of Wine Road.  Lots to explore, inspect.  We hit 3 valleys: Russian River, Dry Creek, Alexander.  Incredible wines, all around us, enjoying.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures of...everything.  We had a bit of a mission plan, flexibly so.  Our first stop, one for which I hold a fervent fondness, Inman Family Wines.  All tasted, spectacular.  I didn’t sip at this spot, only Jon. He expressed fondness for the Whites, Pinots.  Good to see Mary and Kathleen again.  Need to pop the Pinot I bought a tad in past, speaking of which.

Next, Suncé.  Festive, organized, epitome of variety.  Still wasn’t tasting at this point, left that to the blogging buddy.  Sangiovese, Barbera, a Meritage, Cab, among much else.  I think the mystery of Russian River may finally be exposed, unlocked, with a discovery like this.  Olivet Road, still gifting wineries luminous.  Almost had to kick the Self.  Why?  Wish I would have tasted, especially after talking to the winemaker/owner, visitors, employees.  The barrel Room, and you all know how obsessed I am with barrels’ symbolic significance, all but put me in a catatonic cloud of amorousness.

To Dry Creek.  Our only target, the famed Armida.  I honestly don’t have words for this experience.  Heaven, Hell.  Sensational, even better.  Sauv Blanc, some Zins, a blend, more.  Didn’t know how to react.  Watching the footage we shot, wish I could go back.  To me, not having done barrel tasting too many times, this is what this wine country event, LIFE, should entail: fun, something different, oenological randomness, surprise.  Loved the sounds, colors, scents, wines.  In both Heaven and its more entertaining sibling, HELL.  Exteriorly, have always loved the grounds.  That pond, the vine views, that one tree.  Poizin, always good to see you.  Had to take pictures of each strategically stationed statue.

Hawkes, first and only stop in Alexander Valley.  Cabs, Cabs, how about another Cab?  This was one of the wineries that had wine in barrels that tasted ready.  For consumption, for sharing at a dinner, and, more importantly, for me.  I believe it was the first barreled Cab, from the Red Winery Vineyard, that winemaker Jake Hawkes thieved for me, that had a pervading and punctuating orchestra of chocolate, cherry, cigar box, dark herb, pepper.  Was more than tempted to purchase some futures.  This was a difficult location at which not to wallet whip.  Can always go back.  And I will.  Trust.  
In the finale, Healdsburg’s adorable square, downtown.  Vintage Wine Estates, with all their incredible wines and merchandise, not to mention the welcoming staff and atmospheric urgency.  Always have been fond of this spot.  The final Room, Longboard, where I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite winemakers, Susie Selby, and see my old buddy Andrew.  The wines here, frighteningly flavorful and charismatic.  Pinot, Syrah, beyond.  Perfect way to end an elementary ideal blogging mission.  Barrel tasting, to me, about spontaneity, education, experience.  You just to go see what’s out there, in the various valleys, see what everybody’s doing, the different approaches.  And that’s what Jon and I did.  Incredible.  Next year, too far away.

No comments:

Post a Comment