Last night's wedding was great and I woke up exhausted and achy, but I was on a mission so by 10am, I was at my first winery. We all have our crosses to bear and in order to create such in depth and interesting articles for you all (er, my mom), this is what I must do.
10am, Paul Hobbs
Paul Hobbs is a craft winery and one of those places you have to make an appointment. They don't have an ornate tasting room like many of the other wineries, but the proof is in the glass and Hobbs makes beautiful wines.
My condensed notes:
Chardonnay: Like something out of France and not California (read, not over oaked and buttery); Crisp, acidic with notes of tart fruit - think a crisp green apple or under ripe pear
Pinot Noir Lindsay Estate: Light, thin, but juicy; Cherry on the nose but tastes of plum and jam, after sitting for about 20-30 minutes it had a nice strawberry note on the finish
Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: Classic California Cabernet; Thick, fruity, but with restraint, lots of acid and a long finish, I bought 2 bottles: one for me and one for my newly married friends as an early 5th year anniversary gift because that's how long I plan to lay it down
Cabernet Sauvignon Stage Coach: Thanks to a lovely couple from Long Island who are also loyal members of the Hobbs wine club, we got to taste the Stage Coach Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich, big, lots of fruit. If a chef were in the house I'd have ordered a medium rare filet mignon -- and I rarely eat red meat. I'll just have to aspire to buy a case of this wine one day.
Malbec Marchiori: Dark, dark, inky purple in color. Smoother than you'd expect given all the pepper on the nose. Also notes of perfectly toasted oak with a long finish.
Oh, and Hobbs served the most aromatic wines I've had with some of the best noses.
12pm, Gary Farrell
Enjoyed the wines and ended up picking up a few bottles of their Ramal Pinot Noir (very fruity nose, but light on the palette with some dryness and a little bit of acid). The best reason to visit Gary Farrell is that the tasting room has an amazing view - it's up on a hill and overlooks one of the many gorgeous mountains in the area.
I'd heard amazing things. I had also been told that they had a reserve pinot that you could only get at the vineyard and each person could only buy 3 bottles at most. Either that only happens at certain times of the year or they've changed their tasting because I only received an estate sauvignon and an estate pinot noir, both of which are available outside of the vineyard and neither of which was great.
2pm, Ridge Lytton
Their wine is widely available, but they always make good stuff and I thought it'd be interesting to visit. Staff was great, wine was a bit underwhelming. It's nice to know, though, they really are sending a lot of their best stuff out and not just holding it at the vineyard.
It was recommended by the proprietor of Amanti Vino, my favorite store back home, so of course I had to go. I wish I'd gone earlier in the day because I'd barely eaten all day and my palette was pretty shot. I really enjoyed a bottle of their Rockpile Zinfandel 2007 and picked up a bottle to enjoy with some good friends back in NJ. Ready to drink now, but could be laid down for a few years.
One note - I wish more wineries would offer food. So many of the wines I've been tasting would be even better with food and I'm such a sucker the wineries would make that many more sales. I'm just saying......
In any event, hope everyone is having a good week.