Tuesday, September 15, 2009
We began day 2 at Verite. These are some of the finest wines made, period. The tasting was expensive, the wine, really expensive, and the experience, outstanding. No latest release tasting here, we drank 10 year old wines. We were the only people there, sitting at the table in the tasting room, tasting along with an employee. You can go to all the touristy wineries and $5 dollar tastings you want, but make some time for the upper level wineries.
And this is where a tip comes into play. You can schedule your trip (assuming you're not just hopping on a tour) and pick all the wineries you want to visit, but leave some space for the recommendations you will receive from winery and restaurant staff.
Hence, Stonestreet. Never heard of them. Verite recommended we stop by. The grounds are spectacular, the wine distributed mostly by mailing list, and outstanding Cabs, Chards, and a perfect Savignon Blanc.
Then it was on to Ridge Lytton Springs. They make great Zin, and have Zin grapes to taste. Now Ridge is a wine you can find anywhere, but they have wines only available at the winery. We joined their club and look forward to receiving limited release wines.
So then, over a slice of Pizza at Sonoma Plaza, I get a message. A federal judge called my office. Not his assistant, him. Before I left I was asked to file a pleading on the status of discovery in a case. I did. I updated the judge and asked to be able to report further the Friday after I get back from vacation. His call - he wants my assistant to contact me and tell me that the deadline will be the Monday I get back.
OK, I can deal with that. I've been doing this a while. A few years ago that would have bothered me tremendously, but now, I just ask myself "how would he feel if I called him on his vacation?" I know, I'm the lawyer, he's the judge. I'm an officer of the court. If a judge wants me to get a message while on vacation, that's just the way it is. I could go on, but I quickly returned to vacation mode, as I will here.
Heading to Sonoma proper, we went to B.R. Cohn. Bruce Cohn is the manager of the Doobie Brothers, so you can imagine what the tasting room is like. Memorabilia everywhere. I wasn't gunning for a visit to this winery. I had, up till then, avoided the touristy wineries with many non-wine drinkers mainly interested in the tasting fee. But the wines were good and moderately priced. I walked out with a Zin and a Cab. They also have a great gourmet shop with over a dozen types of Olive Oil.
We then headed over to Arrowood. Great view from the tasting "house." They have a good reserve Cab, and a Cabernet Chocolate Sauce we took with us.
Seghesio. Their 2007 Sonoma Zin (one of many they make) was a top ten on last years Wine Spectator List. While you can find a lot of Seghesio in wine shops, they again, like Ridge, have many wines that are limited release, and only available to their Centennial Club members - including Venom (thanks for the couple bottles)and a new one, Defiant.
Seghesio is family owned and has a great tasting room with a lot of merchandise. They have a newer Zin called "Rockpile." Outstanding.
We ended our tasting day with probably the best tasting in Sonoma - Williamson Wines. This was recommended by our server at Dry Creek Kitchen.
No winery visit here, they have huge tasting room in Healdsburg. Go there and you'll spend a couple hours with Aussies Bill and Dawn Williamson. They'll give you a food pairing with every taste, and great conversation. Bill Williamson and his "I don't give a crap what anyone thinks of my wine," is a guy you just want to have a dozen beers with. I think the tasting is $40, waived with purchase. I would have paid much more. These are fantastic people, with spectacular wines. They are not distributed, rated, or hyped. This was another wine of which I had never heard. I am now a member of their club and have a case on the way. Their '02 Merlot is unique. I didn't buy their $495 bottle, but apparently many do.
Dinner was Bistro Ralph. Casual, good food, no wine for us.
Off to Kamen, a few more Sonoma places, and then over to Napa.
Thanks to the Honor Mansion for a great stay, including an upgrade, "just because."
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com