WineSnobz

Monday, September 20, 2004

Our Trip to Sonoma

The Mrs. and I decided to spend a couple of days
trekking through the Russian River Valley to seek out some places we had never been before...and maybe hit one or two places we always like to stop.

We stopped a couple of places in Sonoma on way through
on Hwy. 12. The first was B.R. Cohn. $5.00 tasting fee with $2.00 extra for the
"limited release stuff". The owner, Bruce, is the manager for the
Doobie Brothers, and of course, the tasting room is adorned with tons of Doobie Brothers memorabilia. The wines were average. Nothing to write home about.


  • 2002 Carneros Chardonnay - 85
  • 2001 Sonoma Valley Merlot - 88
  • 2001 Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon - 86
  • 2000 Olive Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - 85
  • 1999 Special Selection Cabernet - 84


The Special Selection Cab was $100 and I wouldn't pay $40.00 for it.


Down the road a short drive was Arrowood. Also a $5.00 tasting fee, but the
wines were much better here than at B.R. Cohn. The tasting room is very nice. I would recommend a visit.



  • 2003 Russian River Valley Gewurztraminer "Saralee's Vineyard" -
    90
  • 2001 Russian River Valley Pinot Blanc "Sarahlee's Vineyard" - 88
  • 2000 Sonoma County Malbec - 90
  • 1999 Sonoma County Merlot - 89
  • 2000 Sonoma Valley Syrah - 90




Our tasting room host told us about two other places we should hit on out way out - Wellington and Loxton. I walked into Wellington and was met by a rather rude woman who pointed at a large wooden board behind the tasting counter and said (in a not-so-nice tone), "There's what we're tasting today." I said, "Ok" and walked out. We tried to go to Loxton, but it was closed because they also pour their wines in a tasting room and it was their day to pour, so we missed out there.


Feeling a little bummed by our two prior stops, we decided to visit Adam Lee
at Siduri. We missed Adam because he was in a meeting, but we did manage to
taste some wine.



  • 2002 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir - 92
  • 2002 Santa Lucia Pinot Noir - 90
  • 2002 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - 90
  • 2002 Novy Napa Syrah - 89
  • 2002 Novy Rosella's Syrah - 92


The Rosella's Syarh had the funkiest nose - grapefruit! But it was a great wine
and should improve with age.


We drove over to Iron Horse next for some bubbly and Pinot.



  • 1999 Classic Vintage Brut - 90
  • 1996 Brut LD - 88
  • 1995 Blanc de Blancs - 87
  • 1998 Brut Rose - 87
  • 2000 Wedding Cuvee - 89
  • 1999 Russian Cuvee - 88
  • 2003 Cuvee R - 86
  • 2002 Viognier - 87
  • 2001 Estate Pinot Noir - 89
  • 1999 Sangiovese - 90
  • 2000 Cabernet Blend 1 - 88
  • 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - 86




Our final stop yesterday was Martinelli. I stupidly didn't write down what we
had...but it was 2 Pinots and a white...all three I am sure I had the last time
I was there. :crazy:


Our stay on Thursday night was at the Grape Leaf Inn. I would HIGHLY recommend a stay here. I will have a separate write up on the B & B...it was that nice.


On Friday, we started off in dowtown Healdsburg at Toad Hollow. For those of you that are not familiar with Toad Hollow the owner is one Todd Williams, who has a very famous comedian brother. The wines here were not spectacular, but they were fabulous QPR wines! These wines are not meant to be long aging wines. They are meant to be consumed young. They are what I would call FUN wines!



  • 2003 Chardonnay, Mendocino, Francine's Selection - 88
  • 2003 Dry Pinot Noir Rose, Sonoma, Eye of the Toad - 86
  • 2003 Dry Pinot Noir Rose, Russian River Valley, Eyes of the Toad - 88
  • 2001 Pinot Noir, Russian River, Goldie's Vines - 87
  • 2001 Merlot, Russian River, Richard McDowell Vineyard - 88
  • 2002 Zinfandel, Paso Robles, "Cacophony" - 89
  • 2001 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, Erik's the Red - 88
  • Amplexus Cremant Brut Sparkling Wine, Limoux, France - 87
  • Risque, Methode Ancestrale, Sparkling Wine - 87


Like I said, these are FUN wines.


J Winery was next on the list. And what a wonderful experience. For $10.00
($5.00 extra for the reserve tasting) they pair 1 sparking and 3 wines with
food.



  • 1998 J Vinatge Brut with Petite Yukon Gold Potatoes with Smoked Salmon and
    Wasabi Tobikko Creme Fraiche - 90
  • 2003 J Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley with Poached Shrimp in Phyllo Cup
    Avocado Aioli and Magno Salsa - 89
  • 2002 J Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley with Sauteed Radicchio and Point
    Reyes Blue Cheese Feuilletes - 90
  • 1997 J Pinot Noir, Nicole's Vineyard with Medley of Olives and Roasted
    Cherry Tomatoes on Crostini - 91
  • 1999 J Pinot Noir, Nicole's Vineyard with Yukon Gold Potatoes with Laura
    Chenel Goat Cheese and Toasted Paprika - 92




We then headed over to Westside Road. Richard at the Grape Leaf Inn suggested a couple of places. First was De La Montanya. This is a fairly new winery just off Westside Road. They are open by appointment during the week and open to the public on weekends. We didn't know that when we stopped, but Greg and Mike were there and took GREAT care of us. Mike, by the way, is the winemaker and also makes a Zin under his own label called Darkhorse, which was poured for us at the B&B. I would give that a solid 92!



  • 2001 Viognier Russian River Valley - 90
  • 2002 Viognier Russian River Valley - 91
  • 2003 Viognier Russian River Valley - 92 (not yet released but will be
    KILLER!)
  • 2003 Pin Up Rose Sonoma County - 88
  • 2002 Pinot Noir "Tina's Vineyard" - 91
  • 2001 Pinot Noir "Tina's Vineyard" - 86
  • 2003 Flying Rooster Red Sonoma Coast - 88 (if anyone can guess what three
    varietals are in this wine, they will give you a bottle free)
  • 2003 Felta Creek Zinfandel Sonoma Mountain - 90
  • 2003 Primitivo Dry Creek Valley - 91
  • 2003 Syrah Dry Creek Valley - 91
  • 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley - 89
  • 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley (Barrel Sample) - 92-94


This was one great place to stop. A definite find!


Rochioli was next. We were a day early for their Estate Gamay. They start
pouring that tomorrow. Oh well.



  • 2003 Estate Sauvignon Blanc - 88
  • 2002 - Estate Pinot Noir - 91




We then headed to Davis Bynum.

  • 2003 Rose, Cabernet Franc, Dry Creek - 85
  • 2001 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley - 86
  • 2001 Zinfandel, Clopton Vineyard, Russian River Valley - 86
  • 2000 Merlot, Laureles Estate Vineyard, Russian River Valley - 87
  • 1999 Westside Road, A Red Meritage, Sonoma County (50% Merlot; 33% Cab
    Franc; 17% Cab. Sauvignon) - 85




A new one for us: Porter Creek Vineyards.

  • 2002 Pinot Noir "Fiona Hill" Russian River Valley - 87
  • 2001 Pinot Noir "Creekside Vineyard" Estate Bottled, Russian
    River Valley - 88
  • 2000 Syrah "Timbervine Ranch", Russian River Valley - 88
  • 2002 Zinfandel, Russian River Valley - 87




Gary Farrell was our last stop of the day. He is no longer bottles the Maple
Vineyard Zinfandel separately. He blends it in with his standard Dry Creek
Valley Zin.

  • 2002 Sonoma County Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - 91
  • 2002 Russian River Valley, Starr Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir - 91
  • 2002 Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel - 89


We tried to hit another new place called Lynmar Winery, but they closed just
before we got there. They have a tasting room in Graton. They specialize in
Chardonnay and Pinot and from what I understand it is pretty good juice. So ends another trip to wine country.

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