Virginia Dare Winery was suggested to us by our host at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and I must say that is was a very welcome suggestion. Our host Vicki was charming and full of the history of Virginia Dare the person and the Legend.
2013 White Doe – a blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier. Fresh bright citrus aromas greeted my nose followed by a well-balanced refreshing flavor profile. An excellent choice.
2015 Chardonnay – A beautiful, slightly oaked nose with hints of vanilla and tropical fruit. Mangos and pineapple on the mid palate and super smooth texture.
2015 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Really nice red and dark fruits with a mild hint of earthy nature on the nose. Silky mid with flavors carrying thru to a superb finish.
**2014 Lost Colony – A wonderful blend of Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Viognier. An excellent nose of blueberries and plums which is quite robust and it continues with a silky smooth mid. The finish is soft and slightly spicy. Superb tannin structure. This will be one of our Thanksgiving wines . . .the history coupled with the excellent wine.
2015 Manteo – A blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bright red fruit aromas with a fruity, robust and silky mid. And a slightly dry finish.
*2014 Two Arrowheads – A gorgeous blend of Viognier, Rousanne and Chenin Blanc. A very floral nose with white peaches. Peaches and Nectarines on the mid palate. Texture is magnificent and finish is crisp and clean. Had to bring one home.
Virginia Dare Winery is a gem that deserves to be researched and enjoyed.
Pedroncelli Winery in Geyserville is one of the oldest wineries in the western US and one of the several I was really looking forward to tasting. Our host, Gary, gave us a great rundown of some of their history. On to the wines . . .
2016 Sauvignon Blanc – Beautiful floral and lemongrass nose, peaches and melons on the mid palate with a tart, crisp finish.
*2016 Friends White Blend – 60% Sauv Blanc / 40% Gewurtztraminer – Bursting with tropical fruit both in aroma and flavor. Nice bright acidity to finish. I believe this one would qualify as a “porch pounder”.
2016 Dry Rose’ of Zin – Mild nose though the flavors are quite prominent on the palate. No extraneous dry mouth feel, great balance.
*2014 Red Wine Blend – Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Sangiovese – Bright cheery red fruit on the nose and a silky mid palate. Great flavors and texture with an ever so slightly dry finish.
2015 Sangiovese – Beautiful red and dark fruit on the nose, flavors are more slight not as fruit forward as I would have hoped. and it finishes quite dry.
2014 Mother Clone Zinfandel – From their 100+ yr old vines – Bright dark fruit and a hint of blueberries both ont he nose and the palate with a solid texture and smooth to slightly dry finish.
2014 Cabernet Franc – Light nose. . a touch earthy. Good fruit on the mid and a nice smooth texture.
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Wisdom– Great deep dark fruit ont he nose and equally great fruit on the palate. After 18 months in French Oak this is a great classic Cab. It finishes silky and dry. Classic.
2015 Petite Sirah – Earthy and forest floor nose with good fruit that is slightly smoky on the palate. Finishes quite dry. My wife’s comment about the aroma, ” It smells like the Disneyland candy shop . . .old wood and sweet.”
2012 Vintage Port – They use four of the traditional Portuguese grapes when making this wine. Great nose, not as much dried fruit aroma as some ports I’ve sampled, which is very good. Gorgeous flavors and wonderfully silky satin on the palate. A fantastic port.
Some fun facts . . . The founders son who is currently 86 still works in the winery and with the viticulture team. They are a 4th generation family owned property. There are only a few of the original vines left that are 112 yrs old and still producing. A very worth-while visit.
Back into Healdsburg to visit another long-standing institution of wine.
2016 Vermentino – From Russian River Valley – Peaches and tropical fruit on the nose that carries over onto the palate. Nice acidity that produces a crisp and clean mid palate. Very nice.
2013 Venom – Sangiovese from Alexander Valley – Nice dark berry fruit on the nose and the mid palate that continues with a smooth texture. The flavors are really robust. Fantastic wine, but a bit outside my price range.
2014 Barbera – Bright red and dark fruit on the nose. A smooth mid palate leading into a bit of spice with a moderately dry finish.
2013 Maffei Zinfandel – Dark fruit with bright aromas and a silky mid that carries with it a bit of spice. Quite surprisingly the finish is smooth to the end, no astringent dryness. Very nice.
*2013 Cortina Zinfandel – Beautiful dark fruit on the nose, those traditional Zin aromas and pure satin on the tongue with just a touch of spice. The finish was extraordinarily great. This one is going home.
2014 Monte Rosso Zinfandel – Super bright red fruit and the flavors are robust and wonderful. A very smooth silky texture and a great finish.
2009 Aglianico – A mild nose with a slightly mineral, dried fruit flavor profile. With a nice easy finish.
*2010 Dionigia – Port-style blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Grand Nora. the nose is very brooding . . .deep and dark. The flavors are wonderful, satiny texture and able to make you lose yourself for a few moments.
2013 Pagani Heriage Red – 50/50 blend of Zinfandel and Alicante. Brooding nose. Fruit is prominent on the palate for a minute, then transmogrifies into a warm blanket. The tannins are incredibly well-integrated.
Our host, Amanda, was incredibly well versed in the history and stories of the Seghesio family. They just celebrated their 115th anniversary as a winery. They have about 400 acres in vines, primarily Zinfandel and a few Bordeaux varieties. You can find a plethora of info on them here.
Williamson Wines was suggested to us both by our resort and by one of the stops we had made previously. So, since we were walking around Healdsburg taking in the sites, we figured . . .why not. This tasting was a little different from all the rest. This was a seated food pairing and tasting, very fancy.
2015 Rousanne – Bright lemon/lime aromas and a crisp mid palate. Very nicely balanced.
2015 Viognier – Bright and crisp though no distinct aromas came to me. It was very clean and refreshing.
2014 Grenache – Bold red/dark fruits . .almost like Pinot Noir on steroids. Good texture, a tiny bit spicy and a great finish.
2014 Cuvee – A bit of spice on the nose alongside the red fruit, very subtle fruit though. Dark fruit on the mid and it goes dry immediately. The paired food was a pepper jam relish and that intensity went way up. So, positive note there.
2013 Indulge – Cabernet Sauvignon – Classic Cab Sauv aromas, moderate dark fruit flavors and finishes dry. The food pairing was a cheese that changed the finish to something much smoother and longer. Nice save.
I wasn’t really a fan of these wines. They seemed too engineered for my tastes, not a natural outpouring of the fruit itself and their price point were double what I had seen pretty much everywhere else. OK . . one more.
La Crema Winery came to my attention for several reasons. I have seen them readily available on the store shelves, they are one of the many wineries in the stables of Jackson Family Wines and they create Pinot Noirs from fruit purchased near my home in the Yamhill Valley. Many good reasons to see what they have to offer. Unfortunately for us, they didn’t have any of the Willamette Valley Pinots available to try in their tasting room.
2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Beautifully light chocolate cherry nose, smooth texture and great structure. And a warm, mildly spicy finish.
2014 Saralee Vineyard Chardonnay – Nice tropical fruit aromas, some pineapple notes and a silky mid palate texture. Coupled with a Citron truffle it is fantastic.
2013 Bennet Valley Pinot Noir – Traditionally good Pinot Noir nose and good fruit carry through. A smooth mid and a great finish.
2014 Fog Veil Pinot Noir – Light cherry notes on the nose and onto the palate with a more pronounced baking spice mid palate. The fruit carried through nicely and the finish was nice as well.
2013 Saralee Vineyard Gewurtztraminer – Honeysuckle and tropical fruit caress the nose. Luscious peach flavors greet your tongue. A really nice balanced and refreshing wine. The passionfruit truffle was greatly improved by this offering.
An excellent last full day of wine tasting in the Sonoma Valley.