Fall in Wine Country
Ah well, if you can’t beat it, join it. After enjoying this glorious late summer weather for the last week or so, some friends and I decided to take a day trip up to Dry Creek to enjoy a winery open house and stock up my sadly depleted cellar (ok fine garage). Much to my chagrin, the sunny skies were rudely interrupted by cold damp fog on Saturday morning, making me feel as gloomy as the weather. It was still cold when we arrived at J Vineyards (Price Search), and even colder upstairs in the event room where they were serving their ridiculously overpriced tasting menu. Note to anyone who enjoys the sparklers from this place: either join the wine club yourself, find someone who is a member (like I did), or only go there as a part of an event. I refuse to pay $25 for four sips and a few nibbles like the busloads of out-of-towners who don’t know any better. A tasting fee is fine, but a tasting rip off is not.
From there, we headed up Eastside Road to the Eastside Wineries Fall Fest. This event was new to me, and it was my favorite kind – where wine and food are passed out for free (yes kids, FREE! These things still exist occasionally) from smaller, lesser known wineries trying to encourage visitors. As we drove up the south end of Dry Creek, I am constantly awed that I live here. In the spring, it’s the waves of green and the new grape buds. In the summer, it’s the heat and the bunches of grapes hanging waiting to be picked. And, here we are, in the fall, where these intense flames of red, yellow and rust would make a northeast leaf chaser envious any day.
This is Sonoma County people! This picture was taken on the driveway to Walker’s Apple Farm in Sebastopol. If you want to know what a REAL apple tastes like, check it out!
By the time we got to a very crowded Mietz Cellars (Price Search), on Limerick Lane just south of Healdsburg, the sun had started to come out and we were not quite as chilled as we were earlier. Hmm could that be the sparkling wine and pinot from J having that effect? Mietz is a new winery to me and had some interesting offerings. I particularly enjoyed the Russian River Syrah, but they were too disorganized for me to buy, so we went across the street to Christopher Creek.
Christopher Creek (Price Search) is known for their zins, and rest assured I enjoyed several; surprisingly, the 2006 Sapphire Hill Russian River valley Chardonnay is what caught my attention. This is a light, fruity and fun chardonnay in the French style. I would challenge an ABC drinker to try this wine and then say “I don’t drink chardonnay” because it was GOOD! Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I left Christopher Creek with the chard and two zins, plus two tasting glasses and a spanking new wine club membership. All things considered $60 got me off lightly.
Since the days are shorter and the light is dimmer, this was all we had time for on this trip, but a couple of weeks later, it was time for another adventure. Of course, that is for another day. Happy drinking!
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