Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 2 – Wine tasting trip report

We started yesterday's travels at the Palmaz Vineyards. This place was fascinating. The vineyard itself dates back to pre-prohibition. During the prohibition era all of the fines were pulled and replaced by various fruits. Dr. Palmaz purchased the vineyard in the late 90's with the intention of turning it into a family run business. The former radiologist who invented the heart stent funded the venture with money earned during his illustrious medical career. Dr. and Mrs. Palmaz are very involved in the running of the vineyard and making of the wine – as are their children. The facility that they build was designed to support producing wine using a gravity-flow method. It's an 18 story underground building with tons of storage capacity. It's all very high-tech with computers monitoring the various tanks. We were treated to 2 wines, their 2005 Chardonnay and 2005 Cabernet. They were both delicious – but pricey. We left with 2 bottles of the Cab which we intend to cellar.
From there we drove to the Reynolds Family winery. Steve Reynolds assured us that we would have fun at his place, and he wasn't kidding. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The Reynolds winery was a start contract to Palmaz, kind of like the difference between walking into a sterile operating room vs a barn. Okay – maybe not quite that much of a difference. The Reynolds place is run by Steve, who used to be a dentist. He's passionate about wine and for years struggled to balance his career in dentistry with his desire to be a winemaker. This is an organic farm staffed by a handful of friendly and yes, fun, people. We tasted their 2006 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We were about to move on to the 2005 Estate Cab when Steve interrupted. I'm so glad he did. He led us to the back where the 2007 barrels were being stores and we spent about an hour tasting from the barrels and listening to Steve tell stories. He's an entertaining guy – I could have listened to him chat all afternoon. We sampled the 2007 cabernet, merlot, and zinfandel. I particular liked the zin and will be curious to see you it turns out.
We were then treated to a sorely needed lunch. Shrimp, chicken, and beef tacos served with rice, beans, and his 2005 Estate Cabernet. The food was terrific and we ate outside by the garden. We finished off with a taste of the 2005 Persistence with is a blend of a variety of grapes. Wow. This was something special. We left with a half-case.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect at the next stop – Soda Canyon Caves. This place is currently under construction. The project is approximately 85% completed. There's still a ton of cosmetic work to be done. If enthusiasm is an indicator of success, then theses guys are going to have something spectacular. The short story is that 3 winemakers have joined forces to create this storage and winemaking facility that will be underground-dug into the side of a mountain. They took us through the caves, showed us some beautiful mountain views, and had close to a dozen different wines for us to taste. I tasted about 4. My favorite by far with the Waugh Zinfandel, which we intend to order after we get home.
By the time I left Soda Canyon I was wishing for a hot bath, dinner, and bed. But we had one more stop to make and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. We were handed a glass of chardonnay as soon as we arrived. After brief introductions we were taken out to stroll amongst the wines. We meandered around back to the garden where a Pinot was waiting for us, along with some appetizers. I sampled a spicy tuna cerviche with paired nicely with the wine. The garden was a beautiful place and I would have liked to have stayed longer – but dinner was announced. We were let down into the Rudd caves for dinner. We didn't leave until midnight. What an experience.
Rudd Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Sardines layered with lemon, bread crumbs, pinenuts, and chilies
Rudd Crossroads Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Rabbit braised with fresh figs and ginger
Rudd Oakville Estate Proprietary Red 2005
Bourbon glazed pork belly, pickled peaches, fried green tomato, and wild arugula
Edge Hill Mixed Blacks 2006
Whole roasted baby spring lamb, porcini, guanciale, medjool date, baby swiss chard
Rudd Oakville Estate Proprietary red 2004
Red wine poached beef tenderloin seared foie gras, red onion and mustard chutney, truffle jus.
Edge Hill Vintage Port 2005
Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta, Shortbread, and Silverado Trail Strawberries.
Now you see why we were there until midnight. All of the wines were outstanding. Our favorite was the Edge Hill Mixed Blacks 2006, which we ordered.
This morning were going to start the day at Siduri. Time for breakfast!

No comments: