Because as a woman in her thirties life is too short to drink bad wine, this past weekend the newly formed, “Society of the Traveling Boots,” headed off to wine country.
Driving on Westside Road towards Dry Creek Valley was like travelling back in time. Familiar wines, centerpieces to special moments already lived, greeted me along the road to the left, while to the right, the colors of fall, yellow, orange and sometimes red splashed the ocean of vines that could be seen growing, row after row, until they reached the horizon of Pines at the opposite end of the last long curve. October, after the harvest and right before the frost leaves the vines bare and exposed, is a beautiful time to go wine tasting.
Our agenda was simple: visit some old favorites and discover something new. The goal: come home with some new bottles. Both were accomplished.
Old Favorites- Quivira Vineyards
We discovered Quivira about 4 years ago and were instantly impressed by the fact that all the wines on their tasting list, (even the whites, which we are usually not such a fan of), were excellent.
So how was it 4 years later? Crowded. Loud. Which is unfortunate because these outside factors really do affect the tasting experience. The tasting rooms are there to showcase the wines, but also to sell the patron on a fantasy, a feeling, the story of the land, and their winemaking philosophy or ideal. All of these factors are intangible. All of these are impossible to acquire when the bar is crowded, the tastings come sporadically or feel rushed, or when the only info we get on the wine is what is on the tasting menu, and a map that the pourer points to when he fills our glasses.
Ok, ranting aside, the wine is still really good. I am not going to pretend like I am a sophisticated wine connoisseur and explain each wine’s flavor profile. What I can say about the wine is that I like it so much, I am considering being part of their wine club so that I can get this yummy wine delivered to my house, like Christmas presents that come in the mail year round.
Something New- Thomas George Estates
I was sold at wine cave. I know, how shallow of me, but hey, it is my belief that wine tasting is like Disneyland for adults. Each new tasting room is like a new ride. We don’t know what to expect with every pour and if the adventure occurs in an interesting space, like a cave or barrel room, even better. Downside, the cave was really, really cold.
Wine cave aside, Thomas George was pouring from two distinct tasting lists. The first list poured an array of whites and reds, starting with a Sauvignon Blanc and finishing with a Zinfandel. The second list was pouring all Pinots. Like everyone else who became obsessed with the movie “Sideways,” I too went through a Pinot only phase, so this tasting was especially of interest. The tastings were expensive. Like Napa Valley tasting room expensive. So while we were not thrilled to be paying $15 and $30 to taste from each list, it was well worth it.
We tasted Pinots from their various Thomas George estates. The list went from a lighter Pinot to a more aggressive and full-bodied Pinot. It was interesting to compare how the same grape, but grown in varying climate zones with varying terroir, could taste so different. We came home with a couple of bottles of the Cresta Ridge Vineyard Pinot and paired it that same evening with some Spanish style Gambas al Ajillo, or Garlic Shrimp. And in case you are wondering, bold and peppery, the Cresta held up just fine.
By: W. Castellanos-Wolf