Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 2: Winetasting

After a nice breakfast on our patio at the Garden Snuggery, we headed for our first private tasting appointment at Sojourn Cellars tasting room just off of Sonoma Plaza.
Since I had just gone wine tasting in Napa in May, with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, I wanted to focus on Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels for this trip.  At Sojourn, we tasted four 2008 pinots: the Sonoma Coast blend, and the single vineyards: Rodgers, Sangiacomo and Gap's Crown.  They were all lovely, elegant Sonoma Coast pinot noirs, but our favorites were the Sangiacomo.  It was great to taste them side by side, being able to switch back and forth between them, to really appreciate the notable differences amongst the four pinots.
We also tasted two very good single vineyard cabernet sauvignons, the 2007 Home Ranch and the 2006 Mountain Terraces.  Of the two, I preferred the Mountain Terrace which had a bit more complexity and character.  It was nice to taste the difference between mountain fruit and regular fruit.  I still enjoyed the cabs that I tasted on my previous trip more, so we just picked up a couple bottles of the pinot noir and then walked around Sonoma, a charming and picturesque little town.
 After Sojourn, we headed up north towards Healdsburg and stopped the Copain winery, whose mailing list I have been a part of for a few years.  It was the Copain Kiser en Bas single vineyard pinot noir that made me truly fall in love with Sonoma Coast pinot noirs many years ago.  The Copain grounds are absolutely beautiful; it is up on a hill surrounded by vineyards and looks down on more vineyards, a scenic lake, with mountains in the background.
 Ironically, while they grow pinot noir on the property, they sell all their pinot grapes and source most of the pinot from vineyards up in the Anderson Valley.  While they are known for their pinots, we tasted quite a few varietals including their Viognier, Syrah and Rose of Pinot Noir appellations, a James Berry Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre, a library Syrah from Hawks Butte that they were nice enough to pour for us, and the 2007 Kanzler single vineyard pinot.
 We picked up a couple bottles of the rose and syrah: the rose was a nice, very drinkable summer wine and the syrah was a nice, restrained but still flavorful syrah.  The James Berry GSM wasn't as bold or fruity as I would have liked it to have been; I prefer Saxum's James Berry GSM more.  The Kanzler pinot noir was lovely, although we ended up picking up a pair of their other 2007 single vineyard pinots, the Kiser en Haut and Kiser en Bas.  Unfortunately, they won't be releasing any 2008 pinot noirs as they lost most of their grapes in a fire.  It was a nice leisurely tasting and we enjoyed several of the tastings sitting outside on the adirondack chairs enjoying the beautiful scenery.
After Copain, we stopped in downtown Healdsburg for lunch at Bovolo.  Like Sonoma plaza, the Healdsburg downtown is very quaint and charming with a bunch of shops and restaurants surrounding a green square.  Bovolo was located in the back of a cute bookstore, and we sat out on the patio out back and had a nice lunch. 
We shared the sausage and peppers pizza and a spinach and bacon salad, which really hit the spot in the midst of a wine tasting day.
After lunch, we went to Mauritson up on Dry Creek Road just north of Healdsburg to taste some of their zinfandels.
We tasted their 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Chardonnay, 2008 Zinfandel, 2007 Petite Sirah, and a side by side tasting of their 3 Rockpile single vineyard zins which they are known for: the Rockpile Ridge, Jack's Cabin and Cemetery.  We learned that the best zins come from really stressed soil and they showed us samples of the rocks that the vines are grown in.
They also dry farm and don't water their vines at all.  The zins were all very good, my favorite was the Cemetery which I felt had the most character.  Again, there's definitely something to be said for being able to have three glasses side by side.  It's definitely much easier to pick a favorite!
The history of Mauritson is pretty cool; they have been selling grapes since the late 1800s.
We were originally going to also hit up Ridge, which makes some of my favorite, readily available zinfandels but we unfortunately ran out of time, as we needed to head down to Monterey for our dinner reservation.  I really like Sonoma / Healdsburg.  The people are friendly, the towns are quaint and cute (with great, reasonably priced food), and most places don't require reservations so you can do your wine tasting and eating on a leisurely schedule.  We will definitely be back; we have many more places on our list to check out.

Sojourn Cellars (appointment only)
141 East Napa Street
Sonoma, CA  95476
(707) 938-7212

Copain Wines
7800 Eastside Road
Healdsburg, CA  95448
(707) 836-8822

Bovolo Restaurant
106 Matheson Street 
Healdsburg, CA  95448
(707) 431-2962

Mauritson Family Winery
2859 Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA  95448
(707) 431-0804

1 comment:

  1. Awesome trip. I'm jealous!

    Glad you liked Sojourn. I still haven't tried their wines yet. I just had an 03 Copain Hawk's Butte Syrah which was nice. Much more restrained in style than Saxum. Keep in mind that Saxum is about 25 bucks more these days (sadly).



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