Sonoma-Napa Trip Day 1


Tasted June 25, 2009 - June 26, 2009 by OneLastSyrah with 999 views


We took our 9-mo old son on his first trip to wine country last month. We brought along both my parents and my wife's parents to help out and spend time with their grandson. We rented a house in the Forestville area that worked out great for us.

Flight 1 - Notes from Cooking In, Day 1 (3 notes)

We picked these up at Bottle Barn to try with our first dinner at the house.

2008 Breggo Cellars Pinot Gris USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
Pale appearance. Chalk on the reticent nose. Touch of honey and smoke. "Sweet" peach, pear, lemon fruit. Medium bodied with good concentration. Somewhat Alsatian in profile to me. Pretty nice. $19. 14.8% ABV.
2007 Breggo Cellars Chardonnay Savoy Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
14.8% ABV. $34. Smoky oatmeal nose. Medium deep gold appearance. Rich pear and French oak flavors. Lengthy finish turns somewhat structured for a white wine. This is a pretty serious tasting Chardonnay.
2007 Breggo Cellars Pinot Noir USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
14.7% ABV. $35. Medium deep color, translucent garnet. Bit simple, but pretty good. I didn't make any additional notes.

Flight 2 - Morning at Sojourn (7 notes)

Craig and Randy were great hosts at Sojourn. They have a strong lineup. Enjoyed the '07 Pinots quite a bit. They have a celebrity TCA-sniffing dog who likes to liven up the tasting room.

2007 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Translucent light garnet. Interesting nose - earthy, flinty. Little fruit on the nose. Touch spicy. Pretty strawberry fruit, tangy. Potting soil.
2007 Sojourn Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Translucent, but a bit deeper in color than the Sonoma Coast Pinot. Light cherry nose. Cola. Rich dark cherry fruit, but a touch savory as well. Great velvety mouthfeel. Late cola and spice. Took on a slightly gamey note revisiting this a few minutes later.
2007 Sojourn Pinot Noir Gap's Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Root beer on the nose. Translucent touch of blue in the color, but overall light in appearance. Nice nose of high toned bark or cinnamon. Sweet cherry touch of cola. Good.
2005 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
70% Mountain Terraces vineyard, 30% Valley Floor. 40% new French oak. Translucent garnet appearance. Aromas of vanilla cream, oak. Leafy, cherry currant palate. Medium full bodied. Just okay for my palate. I have to add a caveat that there is something about the mountain terraces Cabernet fruit that does not agree with my palate - a sort of green herb quality - your mileage may vary.
2005 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Mountain Terraces USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
Earthy red currant fruit nose. Somewhat chunky. Deeper currant fruit. Okay. List price is a bit high in my opinion.
2006 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Home Ranch Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
Sweet nose, touch of mint and eucalyptus up front on the palate. Slightly tangy currant fruit. Nice, distinctive, and a pretty good value.
2008 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
Barrel sample - Toasty oak nose. Translucent garnet appearance. Bright currant fruit. Slightly woody finish. Pretty good. Decidedly young.

Flight 3 - Quick stop at Chateau St. Jean (7 notes)

The CSJ stop was an opportunity for my inlaws to see a bigger winery.

2007 Chateau St. Jean Fumé Blanc Lyon Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
90% stainless. $20. Tangy lemon lime fruit with a slight creaminess. Pretty good, but not taking any home.
2005 Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay Reserve USA, California, Sonoma County
Cereal smokiness on the nose. Rich toasted oak and pear fruit. Good length. Nice Chard, but a bit over priced.
2007 Chateau St. Jean Viognier St. Jean Estate Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
Light color. Dead on honeysuckle nose. Medium-bodied, a bit short. Lighter handed Viognier. Pretty good. $30.
2006 Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir Reserve USA, California, Sonoma County
Cranberry nose. Bit simple and uninteresting, especially at this price. $60.
2005 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Cinq Cépages USA, California, Sonoma County
Somewhat complex nose of pencil lead, graphite, leafy greens. A bit unbalanced on the palate. Somewhat underripe tannin? $75.
2004 Chateau St. Jean Merlot Reserve USA, California, Sonoma County
14.6% ABV. $90. 3 yrs in barrel and another two in bottle. 86% Merlot, with the balance being Cab Sauv and Malbec. Nice nose of powdered sugar and a touch of chocolate. Rich cocoa dark fruit. Nice, albeit pricey.
2003 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve USA, California, Sonoma County
Bit stemmy, coffee nose. Tannic smelling. Chewey rough tannin. Somewhat austere. Pass.

Flight 4 - Visit with Mike O. and then on to Arnot-Roberts (6 notes)

We stopped to visit Mike O. in Santa Rosa were we barrel sampled mostly. I'm not including notes, since the wines were not finished. Everything was delicious, as you would expect. Unfortunately, their production for '08 is way down due to frost damage. After finishing up with Mike, we headed to meet Duncan Meyers at the Arnot-Roberts warehouse in Forestville. It was a pleasure meeting Duncan and his wife Erin and getting familiar with Arnot-Roberts. As an aside, there is a great bakery in Forestville called Nightingale if you have need of some delicious bread.

2008 Arnot-Roberts Chardonnay Green Island Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
Napa-Noma Summer 2009 - Picked at 21.5 brix according to Duncan. Steel fermented with 6-mos in neutral barrels. About 12.9% ABV. From Green Island Vineyard and a Sonoma Coast vineyard. Crisp with tangy green apple fruit. A fairly unique California Chard.
2007 Arnot-Roberts Syrah California USA, California
Napa-Noma Summer 2009 - Cofermented with about 10% Viognier. 13.7% ABV. High toned Syrah fruit. exotic nose. I don't recall it having obvious peach or stonefruit on the nose, but the Viognier was noticeable. Rich concentrated. Some chalk nuance. Good. This only saw neutral barrels. The grapes were sourced from Griffin's Lair, Brousseau, and Petaluma Wind Gap.
2007 Arnot-Roberts Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
13.7% ABV. $60. High-toned cool climate fruit nose. Deeply colored, slightly translucent. The nose on this reminds me of some hypothetical super-ripe olive. Tangy fruit. Additional nuance that didn't make it into my notes. Nice.
2007 Arnot-Roberts Syrah "North Block" Hudson Vineyard USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
This was whole cluster pressed. Fruit is all Clone 99. Gamey nose. Touch of stinky cheese bacon fat and blood. Tangy fruit. Not my favorite.
2006 Arnot-Roberts Cabernet Sauvignon Bugay Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County
Includes some Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Nice aromatics of charcoal oak, minerals. Deeply colored nearly opaque. Rich black currant. Slightly chewy tannin. Nice.
2007 Arnot-Roberts Syrah Griffin's Lair USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
14.7% ABV. Inky smelling. Touch of iodine and saline. Concentrated cool climate fruit. Interesting. Savory.

Flight 5 - Dinner at Farmhouse (1 note)

We also tasted a Copain Roussanne and a Carlisle Two Acres.

2005 Culler Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
Had this with Dinner at the Farmhouse Inn. No notes at the time, but I really enjoyed this wine. I recall it being pretty open for business with dark currant fruit, graphite, charcoal and some powdered sugar-like sweet oak.
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