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August 18, 2011

Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley Tasting Tour 2

Filed under: Blog Articles,Experiencing Wine — Nicole @ 6:52 pm

Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County contains 9,000 acres of vineyards with more than 60 wineries.  This area is known for Old Vine Zinfandels that were planted in the early 1900’s and of these we toured Mazzocco and Esterlina / Everett Ridge Wineries.

Mazzocco Winery

Open Daily from 11 – 5:00

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Mazzocco WineryZin lovers have to visit Mazzocco Winery.   It’s always fun when you taste great wine after another with a host as bubbly as Charlotte.   What a wonderful experience of tasting Antoine Favero’s great wines and sharing giggles.

The first thing you’ll notice from their tasting list is an enormous collection of  Zinfandels, which makes sense since they are known for single vineyard Zinfandels from all over Dry Creek Valley.  The next thing you’ll notice is that most of them are sold out – and with good reason – we arrived a week too soon.  We were informed their next vintage was soon to be released.  Hopefully some of you can stop by and let us know what you think.

Most of their wines are produced in the Dry Creek Valley, however their Stone Zinfandel is from their Alexander Valley vineyards.  We were interested in tasting the difference between the Zinfandels from these two different areas side by side, but the Stone was sold out.  Be sure to check this out on their next vintage.

Tasting List Includes:

2010 Sauvignon Blanc Alexander Valley

2008 Stuhlmuller Reserve Chardonnay

2008 Briar Zinfandel

2008 West Dry Creek Zinfandel

2008 Orchard Reserve Zinfandel

2008 Warm Springs Ranch Zinfandel

2008 Warm Springs Ranch Reserve Zinfandel

2007 Aguilera Petite Sirah

The wines here are all fantastic.  We highlighted a few in bold that stood out but they are all delicious!  The 2010 Sauvignon is very unique with it’s HUGE presence of grapefruit.  Mazzocco’s 2008 Briar is award winning, earning the Best of Class / Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  Another Gold medal winner is their 2008 Smith Orchard Reserve.  This Zinfandel has flavors of berries and spice.

At top of our list is their 2007 Aguilera.  This Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah is so delicious.  It’s dark fruit lingers with hints of  vanilla and cacao.  The winemaker’s tasting notes describes it perfectly, “The robust finish is laced with black cherry, cinnamon stick and a smidgen of laurel.”  In addition to tasting delicious wines, Mazzacco Winery’s new and airy tasting room is filled with one of a kind stave musical instruments and wine furniture pieces.   It’s worth a stop if you’re in their area and love Zins.

Everett Ridge Vineyards & Winery

Open Daily from 10 – 5:00

Everett Ridge Vineyards has outside seating overlooking an unbelievably stunning view of rolling vineyards and mountains.  Our tasting host Bobby nailed our tasting experience from start to finish.  We Highly Recommend tasting at Everett Ridge.  We had such a great experience, we decided to kick back, take an extended visit and finished our tour here sipping winemaker Lynn Krausmann’s well crafted wines.

Tasting List Includes:

2010 Everett Ridge Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Esterlina Cole Ranch Riesling

2010 Diabilta Rose

2008 Esterlina Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

2007 Estate Zinfandel

2007 Diablita

2006 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 Everett Ridge Petite Sirah

Estate Port

You won’t believe what they serve with the tasting — cheese puffs!  This childhood favorite snack went surprisingly well with their wines.  It warmed our appetite so we tried some of their enticing Sonoma Pesto cheese that’s for sale in the tasting room.

Adam’s favorite wine is their 2009 Riesling.  This refreshing wine has an elegant balance of acidity and sweetness while the aroma shares notes of both fruit and floral.  Bobby shared a story about sharing this wine with his family on Thanksgiving.  Shortly after everyone had a taste, it vanished within minutes.

One of my favorites is their 2008 Esterlina Pinot Noir.  This exceptional wine has a lovely nose of strawberry, black cherry, allspice and vanilla.  The flavor is rich with dark fruit flavors with a lingering finish.  The 2007 Zinfandel has aromas of plum, vanilla and clove.  The mouth feel is fruitful like some Paso Zins but then has this unique spice to it.  You’ve gotta try it!  You also have to try the Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah blend called Diabilta.  This wine is named after the families first female child, Heather.  Bobby told us the story is even after 65 years she’s a little devil, LOL.  The 2006 Cabernet is unique too.  It has the bouquet of a Zin but the finish of a Cabernet.  All the wines are amazing!  You’ll have to fit this family owned winery into your tasting tour.  Thanks Bobby for a memorable time!

Downtown Healdsburg

We finished off the evening in downtown Healdsburg which offered an impressive number of shops, restaurants, art and bars.  Here are some of the recommendations from Charlotte and Bobby which included:

  • Flying Goat which is a locals spot for coffee
  • Spoon Bar recommended for it’s cute atmosphere
  • Bar & Diva for a unique selection of modern drinks
  • Bistro Ralph
  • Scopa Italian Restaurant
  • Baci Cafe & Wine Bar

We dined at Baci which we also highly recommend.  Our waitress recommended the Stinco d’ Agnello Al Forno for a dinner entree.  It’s organic slow braised lamb shank in the natural jus, polenta, wild mushrooms, lamb demi and vegetables.  Wow!  I can’t wait to visit and have it again.  Adam enjoyed their homemade Gnocchi.  This is an excellent Italian restaurant located in downtown Healdsburg.  I wish we  had more time to check out those other locales — at least we have a reason to come back.

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