Sonoma County Barrel Tasting Weekend
Nancy ~ The Wife Of A Dairyman
It was a beautiful, sunny, spring-like Sunday.....a perfect day for Barrel Tasting Weekend with the girls. But first, on our drive out of my driveway, at the commodity barn, we come upon two other 'girls' that were doing a little tasting for themselves......in the grain variety. Two heifers had escaped, either through the fence or over the fence, not sure from where. That's okay, I'll just find Dominic down on the ranch on our way out.....nope, couldn't find him. Hmmm, what to do? Well, precious barrel tasting time was a wastin'. I knew the heifers wouldn't move from their location with all that grain and tall green grass available to them, and I also knew Dominic would be driving up the hill to our house within 10 minutes or so.....he'll find them. Photos taken through my car window, (directly into the sunlight).... Driving past..... Okay, on to barrel tasting! The Barrel Tasting Event always lands on the first two weekends of March and it is your chance to sample wines still in the barrel, buy "futures" and meet the winemakers. There are over 100 wineries that participate in this event. The event covers Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley, all in Sonoma County, CA. We decided to stay in the Russian River Valley to do our sampling for the day. We began our day at Harvest Moon...... Most of the wineries offer food pairings with their tastings for this event.... Our next stop was at Hook and Ladder Winery..... Here I am receiving a sample from the barrel from the Winemaker. I loved it so much, I ended up buying a bottle of the 'Station Ten' 2006 vintage. Station Ten is named after the San Francisco firehouse where the winery owner served his last ten years as a firefighter. Hook and Ladder definitely had a party atmosphere.... Debbie and Devi (our designated driver) thanks Devi! Our next stop was at Sunce....... Devi and me at Sunce. The have a beautiful outdoor setting, complete with a Bocce Ball court. You can also sample wine from their bottles along side the barrel. Debbie found a cocktail tank top....."If the ice melts you're drinking too slow" Our next stop was DeLoach Vineyards. Kellie and Debbie sampling from the barrel... DeLoach has a beautiful outdoor setting. They have a patio just outside their tasting room with tables, chairs and sun umbrellas. We met up with our friend, Jody here and I could have stayed the remainder of the afternoon, sitting on their patio, chatting and sipping wine. This is their outdoor sculpture..... On our way to the next stop, we spy a draft horse grazing under the trees....beautiful... We all loved Benovia Winery. I especially liked their Pinot Noir. Kellie at the entrance..... Benovia vines..... Enjoying some live music..... Benovia had a blues band playing just outside their tasting room.... Benovia paired crab cakes, mini duck sandwiches and cream of mushroom soup with their wines. Benovia's tasting room..... Debbie, sampling from the barrel..... We arrived at our next stop, Kendell Jackson at 4:01 (barrel tasting ends at 4, but most serve until 5) The parking lot attendant told us to go ahead and go in to taste, but when we walked into the tasting room we were DENIED! We were told if we wanted, we could pay $10 each for a sampling from their bottles.....we chose not to. We knew wanted to make our last stop of the day a great one. We stumbled across Robert Rue Winery and we were SO happy we did. We had so much fun here, at this little winery. They were so welcoming, talkative and informative. Kellie sampling from the barrel.... Les was giving out samples from another barrel.......we're happy. We were able to meet and talk with Robert Rue himself..... I love Zin..... Robert and Les insisted we snap a photo in front of the old truck just outside the tasting room... We didn't want to leave, the day was too short. We had so much fun at Robert Rue, we'll definitely be back real soon..... A perfect ending to my day was to come back to the ranch and celebrate George's birthday (my father in law) with the family.....a wonderful night! Update: Dominic DID find the two 'escapee' heifers right after I left. Happy Monday!