In the middle of November I found myself an opportunity to go to Sonoma County on my own and it was a lot of fun and a revelation. I enjoyed traveling by myself (once I got over my initial fear). During my travels I met a lot of neat people and tasted some really fine wines. Then at Thanksgiving I went back this time with my partner, and had another wonderful experience. I just love it up there, and while I adore my home base on the Monterey Peninsula, it would not take much to convince me to move up to Sonoma.
So onto the wines! I arrived Friday evening in Healdsburg and stayed at the Best Western Dry Creek Inn, which for that type of chain was surprisingly good. I recommend if you choose to stay there to get a luxury room as they are much better than their standard accommodations. I went out to dinner to a wine bar restaurant called Zin and sat at the bar. After ordering a flight of Zinfandels to taste and compare, I asked Christian, the wine-tender, for some suggestions for wine tasting the next day. He was so helpful and thoughtfully recommended about ten wineries, way more than I would ever go to in a day but enough to keep in mind and visit upon my return, which I was already planning. 🙂
Saturday morning, after a hearty breakfast at Costeaux Bakery (you must visit!). my first stop was Trione. This is a gorgeous estate winery, with a fantastic tasting room and beautiful grounds. I was intrigued since I am usually more interested in small wine production, these fancy wineries leave me cold but I was so happy Christian recommended it and that the grand appearance did not dissuade me.
At Trione, family owned and run, there is great care taken in making their wines; which are well balanced, elegant and full bodied with a distinctive rich flair. The top 3% of the fruit grown in their vineyards across Sonoma County is painstakingly culled to ensure an extremely high quality end result. Then Scot Covington, the winemaker since 2005, does his magic thing.
I tasted everything and even did a side by side tasting of two Syrahs. All of the wines are characteristically well crafted and it is a challenge to pick a favorite. I chose two that I thought were the best representations of what Trione does really well.
Briefly, we’ll touch upon the excellent whites, the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2009 Chardonnay. The crisp floral and tropical Sauv. is absolutely delicious and one of my favorite white varietals. It has a lovely finish and would be perfect with pasta, seafood and just by itself. The Chardonnay is very clean yet velvety rich creamy with baked apple flavor, with a bit of minerality and crispness. Still the mouth is full bodied and layered.
My attention was undeniably captured by the reds. They were consistently good and memorable. Especially the 2008 Syrah, which comes on powerfully; fruit forward (like I adore) berry flavors with jammy plum and dark currant richness with spice completes the complex profile, the well structured tannins make sure the wine holds up to the lingering and excellent finish.
I am partial, however, to the exceptional 2008 Red Wine, because it is just so well done. Yes, it is a classic Bordeaux blend, but with so much personality. At the same time that it is earthy, it is also uplifted by the delicious dark fruit palate intensified with black currant, rich berries and good, strong well structured tannins. Lovely smooth finish with a lasting taste. A great blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
They do it well at Trione.