Yesterday I was running around the Russian River Valley. We also drove out to Bodega Bay and visited Goat Head Rock. While driving around, we went to three wineries to taste.
My wife and I used to come out to California and wine taste all the time. But we haven’t in a while and there are some newer places to taste that didn’t exist back then.
One thing we like to do is try and find places that don’t ship wine to Chicago. In the old days, it paid to come out here often so you could find up and coming wines and get on mailing lists.
One thing is for sure, wine is just grape juice. Instead of storing it like some old trophy, I prefer to drink it! We do age some wines though.
Yesterday I hit two new wineries that we hadn’t been to, and went to an old favorite that you sometimes find in the midwest and sometimes don’t. All three are worth your effort to find.
Dehlinger is an old favorite. Pre-internet, I was on their mailing list. They make an estate pinot noir that is beyond delicious. It’s so good-they are out of it. We bought some Syrah and a Chardonnay.
The second, John Tyler, used to simply grow grapes for wineries and now produces some wine. The reason they are interesting is they grew some of the grapes for the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the famous 1976 Paris tasting. How could you not buy some Chardonnay from here?!! We did, and some pinot.
The Bacigalupi vineyard is legendary. That tasting put US winemaking on the map. At the winery, they have the receipt for the sale of the grapes to Chateau Montelena. One interesting tidbit they told us was that it was much easier to make wine than to farm great grapes in their opinion. The vineyard is a lot of work.
The last one we went to before dinner at the Applewood Inn was Hartford Family. They make some tremendous pinot noir. We bought some, and were also surprised at how good their Highwire Zinfandel was.
With the advent of the internet, it’s much easier to access these harder to find wines. You can communicate with the winery much easier than we used to in the old days.
But, nothing beats tasting them in the vineyard. Especially in the sunshine.