Monday, December 1, 2008

Trip to Sonoma & Healdsburg - August 2007: Part 2

Continuing the story of our first trip to the Russian River area with a review of our visit to Ferrari-Carano...

After leaving Manzanita Creek, we drove up Dry Creek Road to see a lookout point that was recommended to us (since everyone was stuck on our newlywed status and thought we must need a spot to make out or something!). ;o) We never quite made it to see the bridge over the river because Dry Creek Road is FULL of wineries. We kept passing winery after winery, all of which were closing in less than an hour. We thought we'd go see the bridge, then stop at a couple of tasting rooms on the way back out. However, as we kept driving and driving... and driving... we finally saw somewhat of a viewpoint of the water, stopped to take a couple of pictures, then decided not to venture on to find the bridge because we wanted to go back and stop at Ferrari- Carano before they closed since that's a wine P sells at work. We were SO GLAD we made it back before they closed! After tasting in a warehouse earlier that day (Fun? YES. Scenic? Not so much!), it felt very fancy and impressive to pull up to this place. This is what we saw as we rounded the walkway from the parking lot to the tasting room:

I was dazzled by the grounds, but P wanted to taste some wine before they locked up, so we went in the tasting room. I was dazzled again because they also have a nice gift shop (I'm all about good shopping!). So you know the hours and don't have to rush like we did:

P usually has a Chardonnay and a Fume Blanc to sell at work, so those are what we focused on tasting. We tend to not like Chardonnay, but we learned that what we really don't like is an overly oaked, buttery Chardonnay. FC makes a light Chardonnay that isn't heavily oaked, therefore we actually liked it! P wasn't expecting to like it since many people have said that they think it IS oaky and buttery, but we tasted more of what we read in the tasting notes:

2006 Chardonnay - Alexander Valley [ $28 ]

The 2006 Alexander Valley Chardonnay is a delicious wine with floral and fruit aromas of pear, Fuji apple, citrus and honey graham cracker with a hint of rich caramel and toasted coconut marshmallow. Generous on the palate, creamy vanilla undertones balance layers of toast and spice on the finish, while the tropical flavors linger to the end.

Maybe it was partially psychosomatic since I'd read all those yummy things in the tasting notes, but I did taste a lot of tropical fruit. After all, earlier that day I had learned how to swirl, sniff, and really taste wine, right?! I was finally feeling like those tasting notes were making some sense! I felt all professional at the tasting bar. ;o) It was good to find a Chardonnay that we liked since we assumed that we hated them all!

The Fume Blanc (like a Savignon Blanc) was tasty, too. It also had some tropical flavors that really came through for me. I'm a sucker for tropical flavors!

2007 Fumé Blanc - Sonoma County [ $17 ]

Our 2007 Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc is a blend of vineyard lots from various appellations of Sonoma County — Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River Valleys. We focus on sites with well-drained soils and different rootstocks in order to craft a wine that is refined and elegant with a rich palette of fruit. Zesty flavors and aromas of grapefruit, citrus and honeydew mingle with a subtle grassy note that is complemented by a lingering finish of mango and guava. Aging partially in stainless steel and older French Oak gives this wine a crisp freshness and a subtle oak character that adds great complexity and depth.

The Fume Blanc is also less expensive than the Chardonnay, so if it came down to which one I'd buy, I might save some $$ and pick the Fume Blanc.

The red wine I remember most was the Siena. From the tasting notes:

2006 SIENA - Sonoma County [ $23 ]

Ferrari-Carano’s Italian heritage is reflected in this Sangiovese-based, easy-sipping, multi-dimensional blend. Select lots of grapes were chosen from our vineyards in Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys to create a beautifully balanced and medium-bodied wine. SIENA is supple and ripe with heady fruit aromas of cranberry, strawberry and cherry complemented by cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa. Juicy strawberry and raspberry jam flavors are followed by a round, viscous finish of caramel, roasted marshmallow and spice. Excellent red fruit vitality is met by good acidity, round, gentle tannins and a lingering finish.

We learned that the Siena contains Sangiovese and Malbec (which has become a trendy varietal). Again, I liked all the fruit that I could actually pick up on & taste. This was a really nice blend that P and I both enjoyed. P says this is a good choice for serving a picky wine crowd since it's medium bodied, not heavy with tannins, and the fruit flavor really comes through. I agree!

The tasting room was shutting down, so we ventured outside and noticed something on our way back to the car:

This was by a small gate, so we went through to see what was going on behind the fence. We were SO HAPPY that we ventured into the gardens! What a beautiful place. Too bad they don't allow picnicking because it'd be a lovely spot to hang out with a glass of wine and some cheese or something. Here are a few pictures to demonstrate:

The middle picture is of a cork oak - the tree that corks are made from! It was so cool to see and touch the bark. Everything in the gardens was gorgeous. If it weren't closing time, I would've stayed longer and probably taken tons more pictures of all the plants and flowers. I'm sure you'll be subjected to my plant and flower pictures within this blog since I'm always taking pictures of them wherever we go. P makes fun of me, but I've gotten some awesome shots!

Gratuitous photo-taking aside, that was our trip to Ferrari-Carano that ended our anniversary day trip to Sonoma & Healdsburg. From a warehouse winery to a grand estate winery, we had a well-rounded wine country experience. It was a fun & educational day that truly opened the door to our wine-geekdom!


Alison 'n Brandyn said...

If the wine tastes as good as the gardens look - I'm going!!

Ava said...

I LOVE the Ferrari Cerano gardens. I only go there for the garden. I find the tasting room a little ippidy for my taste, but the property is absolutely gorgeous.