It was a special treat & kind of a preview to the Barrel Tasting weekends that occur up there in March: (http://www.wineroad.com/annualevents/3)
Gary Farrell has some really nice wines and an impressive tasting room, but I will say that this is one of the more expensive places to visit in the area.
Our next stop was Porter Creek (http://www.portercreekvineyards.com). It is a small, father and son owned winery. We received recommendations from staff at both Moshin and Gary Farrell to stop here, so we decided it must be a good spot. Super tiny, but these are often the places to find the BEST wine. Porter Creek is no exception to this rule! We walked up and saw that they were serving fancy cheeses from the local area. They had already won me over because I love me some cheese! In the tasting room, we were delighted by their wines and (here comes more gushing from me) I LOVE their Viognier! This was the first place I'd heard of the varietal. P and I were not huge fans of white wines, but I think I've mentioned before that that has changed. Porter Creek's Viognier is a big reason for the change in opinion! The info below is from their website and is for the 2007 vintage, but what we tasted last year was the 2006 vintage (which is sold out).
2007 Viognier - Timbervine Ranch RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
In the spirit of its northern Rhone counterparts in Condrieu, this wine possesses a weight and richness rarely found in New World Viogniers. Beautiful nuances of mango, pear and nectar. Balanced, round and capable of aging.A seasonal offering as production is limited.
Price - $36
I wanted a bottle. Really, really wanted a bottle. P said "Let's see what else we find this weekend and if there's nothing you like better, we'll come back and get some next time we're up here." I reluctantly agreed. Fast forward to a few months later when we were back there, I still wanted a bottle, but guess what? SOLD OUT. Yep. Thanks, Hon. Actually, it's okay because it's not like we had a shortage of other good wines and I've heard the 2007 is just as good as the 2006. I'll get a bottle of the new release next weekend and be a happy girl. :o)
After Porter Creek we ventured to Manzanita Creek (http://www.manzanitacreek.com/) to visit Jack, et. al. once again. They were serving Beef Bourguigon along with their wines. Yum! They also had these to-die-for little chocolate & raspberry cake/brownie/truffle bite things (like my culinary description?). OMG... Mmmm... It's really amazing to me how much food can enhance the taste of a wine and vice versa. This was a chance to experience that, especially since they had both savory and sweet options. We noticed a camera crew there interviewing Jack, but did not notice that WE would end up in the video! Check it out:
That's us Jack is talking to right before it cuts to his interview. Woot! We're so famous. Ha!
From Manzanita Creek we headed WAY up Dry Creek Road to take my parents to Ferrari Carano. The gardens aren't quite the same in January as they are in August, but still a pretty spot. The event took us on a tasting tour through their barrel room, which we had not seen before:
http://ferraricarano.com/wines/ I've said before, this place is worth the trip just to see the grounds and the facilities, even if you don't like the wine!
From Ferrari-Carano we headed back down Dry Creek Road and went to our big "must-stop" of the day, Martin Family Vineyards.
This was pretty much a novelty stop for me and my parents since Martin is our family name! We found out that they had recently sold and would soon be taking on a new name, so we were glad to snag some bottles with the Martin name before they changed to Truett Hurst (http://www.truetthurst.com). I asked if they'd give us some labels since they had rolls sitting around that they obviously wouldn't be using for much longer. They gladly obliged, so now I have some great scrapbooking material! The wine here was good and has NOT changed along with the name, but the name is what we were most interested in here! Even still, we really like the 2006 Zinfandel, Rattler Rock, Russian River Valley. P is a total Zin lover and he liked this one a lot. The food they served was mini pulled pork sandwiches that were really delicious. I don't think we came across any bad or even mediocre food all day. They also had a new puppy who was SO cute and friendly. I'm sure he made lots of new friends that weekend!
Next was right up the street to Dutcher Crossing,(http://www.dutchercrossingwinery.com). I don't remember tasting wines here. I think mom and I were a little wined out and decided to grab some cheese, crackers, and fruit from the food table and then go enjoy some views:
I think I could go up to this area and just look around, take pictures, and not even have to taste any wine. Okay... so that's a lie. I don't think I could be up there and NOT have any wine! Still... the views are breathtaking. P and Dad said the wines were good, but neither bought anything, so I couldn't tell you what they tasted. Just know that it's worth a stop here even just to sit in their picnic area and enjoy the view!
The last stop of the day was at Hop Kiln (http://www.hopkilnwinery.com/), which we found out as we approached the entrance is a Registered Historical Landmark.
The bar there was so jam-packed that we didn't even try to make our way up to taste anything. We heard it's always like this during events and decided to come back on a non-event day if we ever wanted to actually taste the wine. However, I was really impressed by all the other goodies here! They have any kind of flavored mustard you imagine, also a lot of olive oils, balsalmic vinegars, dessert sauces... they have sample jars of almost everything so instead of wine, we tasted the other things! There was also a chef there who had been preparing some wonderful dish all day, but since the event day was near closing & this place was SO crowded, we missed out on whatever yumminess had been on his table. We've visited Hop Kiln on non-event days since this trip and had no problems fighting crowds. While this is a fun place to visit & has a nice shop, I'd recommend skipping it during events unless you're prepared for a bigger crowd that we encountered at other wineries. It is a gorgeous place though, even if you just want to see the building.
That was the end of Winter Wineland, day 1, 2008. My parents went home that night, so P and I were on our own the next day. I think I'll save telling about Sunday's adventures for another day since I've already written what feels like a novel for this entry! What can I say? It was a long, fun day full of good wine, tasty food, and wonderful scenery - I don't want to leave anything out!
Here was the view as we got back to Moshin that evening:
LOVE the hummingbird & his (her?) glowing eyes! With that, I will bid you goodnight. :o)