On a normal day going wine tasting in California you have people who are very relaxed and happy. They are relaxed because they aren’t working and they are happy because they are drinking wine. This is all good, especially this time of year when most of the craziness has died down from the harvest. The grape vines are void of their grapes, so it’s time for them to start to hibernate for the winter. The leaves on the vines are starting to change from the green to the red to the orange and yellow. It’s a great time to go wine tasting! So Larry, Elliana and I went wine tasting on our babysitting day yesterday. Mid-week is a great time to go wine tasting; the crowds are less, which frees up more time with the winery staff. They have more time to give you attention and you usually can have a nice spot at the bar. Ask if there is any way you can see their winemaking facility. It’s always interesting to see how each winery makes their wine, so similar, yet so differently.
So, you ask?! What does this have to do with the World Series? Well, as it turns out the San Francisco Giants are in the World Series against the Texas Rangers. Yesterday was the first game of the series. So as we go to our first winery, Arista Winery in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County we noticed that we wern’t the only ones wearing orange and black (those being the colors of the Giants). It was great, we had a lot of attention to talk about wine and baseball. These are two of my favorite subjects! Arista is in a beautiful spot on West Side Road. The grounds at Arista are beautiful. It is designed with an Oriental Garden feel and as you walk through their gardens you get a sense of peacefulness. We tasted their Gwertztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc on the white side. Then for the reds we were treated to a Pinot Noir comparison of two wines from the Sonoma Coast. Their ’07 La Cruz Vineyards which was a blend of two vineyards and their ’08 Sonoma Coast a blend from four different vineyards. Both were very nice. I have a thing about the ’07 vintage and love almost everything produced from that year. Next we compared two Pinot Noirs from the Russian River. Both were 2008 vintages. The main difference of those two wines was the fact that one was a blend and the other, the Longbow, was from a single vineyard. We were helped by Gabriel and Billy. The staff was very nice and they have a very relaxed policy. They want you to come and spend time in their beautiful gardens while sipping their wine. There is plenty of seating and areas to picnic if you choose.
Next we went to Thomas George Estates , just a couple minutes drive from Arista. After you drive up their driveway and park, you will just fall in love with their grounds. They have their wine cellar caves on the one side and the tasting room and winery on the other. They have many tables and chairs for you to sit on to enjoy a picnic if you choose to. We were the only ones in the tasting room at the time. We sampled their Sauvignon Blanc (which I liked) and Chardonnay. Then we sampled a Russian River 2008 Pinot Noir and a 2008 Sonoma Coast single vineyard Pinot Noir. I enjoyed the single vineyard but liked them both. Finally we sampled 2008 Dry Creek Zinfandel. It had a nice body, light on the fruit forward, but a very nice finish. They do offer events and weddings in their caves. Shannon who was behind the bar was also a Giants fan and was wishing that they could close early that afternoon.
Through all of this Elliana was a trooper. She batted her dark eyes and smiled every so often. We got back to the kids house in time to see the pre-show of the World Series. Thankfully there is a happy ending to our wonderful day as the Giants beat the Rangers 11-7. What does Wine Tasting and the World Series Have in Common? Fans everywhere!