Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 1 – Wine tasting trip report

I'm happy to report that or first day of this trip was amazing. I can't wait to see what's in store for us today! The flight into Oakland yesterday was fast and painless.
It seemed like I just blinked my eyes and we were landing. That might have had something to do with the fact that I'd downloaded Cat Johnson's newest release, Unridden for the trip. That also explains why I wasn't able to take many pictures and post them from or last destination yesterday. My iPhone ran out of battery.
A chartered bus took us to our first stop. Enroute they serves bloody mary's and we had a light snack which was sorely needed despite the fact that we'd had a substantial breakfast before leaving San Diego. We arrived at Clos Pegase around 1:00. Although it appeared to be a lovely winery and the winemaker greeted us, the attraction there was Peter Thompson of Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards. We were treated to a vertical tasting of his Cabernet Sauvignon 2003-2005. As a bonus we also tried his Cabernet Franc. He spent quite a bit of time talking about the blending of the wines, which I found interesting. He was extremely engaging, inviting lots of questions. We're taking home 3 regular bottles of the 2004, plus a 1.5 liter bottle. They should continue to improve over the next 3-4 years, then hold for 15-18. Definitely something to put in the cellar and forget about for a while.
We then hit Lynmar in the Russian River Valley. This is mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir country. I'm not a big Pinot fan, but I do enjoy and drink quite a bit of Chardonnay. The selections there were a little disappointing. The grounds and gardens were lovely and I spend time meandering in them. That was really the highlight for me. I liked their Sereinite Chardonnay, but in wasn't remarkable enough for me to pay $70.00 per bottle. They also were pouring a Wente clone with was tasty. They had some light food pairings (VERY light).
The last stop of the day was Michel Schlumberger. This was an incredible experience. My only regret was that my iPhone battery died shortly after we arrived, so I was unable to take the photos that I wanted. Winemaker Mike Brunson, who was a fabulous host, greeted us. We began with a 2008 Pinot Blanc which we enjoyed in the garden as his Springer spaniel ran happily around. After a brief introduction, we set out to walk the field. This man knows every inch of the vineyard. Michel Schlumberger is completely organic and the love and dedication that Mike puts into his wine is apparent. This is a man who is passionate about his work. The end of our little hike culminated at the top of a hill overlooking the valley. The view was incredible and he opened a 2004 Merlot for us which we enjoyed before heading back to dinner.
Dinner was served right in the winery and Mike joined us, introducing each of the wines as they were poured. The food was spectacular:
2006 La Brume Chardonnay
Heirloom Tomato Caprese * Cresenza Cheese * Grilled Watermelon * Garlic Croutons
2006 Le Fou Pinot Noir
2000 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2004 Deau Terres Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Coteaux Sauvages
Red Wine Braised Waygu Beef Cheeks * Summer Bean Medley * Tomato Confit
2002 Semillon
Dahman confections Assorted Truffles
We left with a split case – 6 bottles of the 2000 Reserve Cabernet and 6 bottles of the 2004 Deau Terres. The 2000 is drinkable now and will hold for another 6 years, perhaps more. The 2004 is going to continue to age for a few years, then will hold for perhaps 10. These are very big, very delicious reds. Fabulous finds.
We didn't leave until about 9:45. By the time we checked into our hotel we were exhausted. Not I'm up, I've had a good breakfast, and I'm ready to hit the road and enjoy about day.

(P.s. I posted a variety of pictures to my twitter account yesterday and will continue to do so today. If I have time tonight I'll re-edit this post and add some.)


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