August Briggs winery, located in Calistoga on the Silverado Trail, is a small producer (4kish cases a year) of mostly single vineyard Pinot's, Syrah's & Cabs. They also produce wine for Jeff Gordon on a separate label.
We visited the winery, Gundlach Bundschu, just outside Sonoma, CA today for a tasting and tour. GunPun.com, as they're trying to use as a funny short for their name, was founded in 1858 and has remained a family owned & operated business for the past 152 years.
Eight bottles down with a steady flow of delicious BBQ over an eight hour period. Burgers and portabella mushroom wannables pasted with red pepper maynonnaise capped the night. Coupled with a grilled nectarine feta starter, the meal fit the weather (hot) and Sauvignon blanc perfectly.
We celebrated my future brother in law's 30th birthday today with a family lebanese recipe of chicken & rice. We coated it down with a wonderful bottle of 2005 Pinot Noir from Ojai Vineyards, in the Santa Barbara region.
The boutique winery makes outstanding Syrah and consistently good Pinot, this bottle was no different. Combined with a deliciously flavorful meal, it was an excellent evening. We topped off the celebration with german chocolate cake and crackle cookies, compliments of FestinsBakery.
I love larabars, especially the cashew cookie, which are all natural, raw energy. The chocolate series, called Jocalat, are good b/c they are natural, raw, all organic. But as a true chocolate substitute? No way, it's not even a fair comparison.
Salamandre Wine Cellars was started out of a doctors garage 25 years ago in Aptos CA (in Santa Cruz County). Sourcing grapes from all over California, they make a bunch of white & red single varietals and blends.
Martinelli winery is located outside Santa Rosa on River road. Specializing in Chardonnay, Syrah & Pinot Noir, their winemaker is the renowned Helen Turley.
This was our third stop of the day, and while I'd like to say I spit, the truth of the matter is I rarely do. So needless to say I'm a little toasty.
The Chardonnays are nice, a lot of variety between the 6 different types but I personnally not a white lover.
The Pinot Noir's are earthy with pleasant nuisances. They have been known for their Pinot but nothing stood out to me.
The Syrsh's were very impressive, especially the 2005 Lolita Ranch Syrah ($75/bottle) which displayed ripe raspberries that stuck thru the palette. Also of note was a 100 year old vine Zinfandel called the Vigneto di Evo from the 2006 vintage which had a nice kick unusual for Zin and is high alcohol at 17.2%.
At Bin 38, I had a 2006 Bergstorm Pinot Noir 'Cumberland Reserve' from Oregons Willamette Valley.
The wine was pricey ($18/glass) but delicious with a stunning, sugar cherry tomato start & a silky smooth finish. Re wine can be funny, most cheap stuff tastes like it but much of the expensive faire can be a waste of money. The trick is finding a great stuff in between. This however is an example of a nice bottle that stands up to the extra scrutiny.