Tasteapalooza

Today found us back in the Anderson Valley on yet another tasting adventure. This time, we tried almost 40 wines at five wineries, and I have to say that they all started to blend together at the end. Palate exhaustion in the extreme. I don’t know how people go on wine tasting trips, and how they remember anything that they experienced. It was a fun adventure, though, and especially enjoyable since the coast was foggy, dank, and cold today.

Our first stop was Yorkville Cellars, because we thought we would start at the end of the valley and work our way over. The woman who poured for us was nice, although a bit confrontational with Brendan at one point, which was sort of odd. She also looked like she thought my id was fake, because she gave me the look when she read my name, and I gave her the look right on back. We generally agreed as a group that the standout wine in the tasting was the Richard the Lion-Heart, a strong Bordeaux blend which was quite complex and enjoyable. We tried the 2003, and L ended up buying a bottle of the 2001, after we were told that it was the better vintage. There was also a rather nice Sauvignon Blanc. Yorkville Cellars in general is pretty good, made all the more impressive since their wines are organic. Often, organic wines taste like butt.

Next, we hit up Maple Creek Winery, home of the “Artevino” line. It’s “Artevino” because the winemaker is an artist, dig? We picked up that little gem in the stream of verbiage that the woman on staff directed in our general direction to avoid having to answer any actual questions. We tried a Rose which was truly horrible, and a decent Pino with a long finish which kept on coming. Brendan and Sven decided that it was “rhubarb pie in the forest on a foggy day.” We finished, sadly, with the late harvest Chardonnay, which caused universal “hrms” among us before we upended our glasses in the bucket provided.

Our next stop was supposed to be Meyer Family Cellars, but they weren’t open. It was just as well, since it was hot and the thought of a port tasting was a bit distasteful. So we whisked on down the road to Greenwood. I have always had a soft spot for Greenwood, since their wines are generally good, and I adore their late harvest Riesling. The woman behind the counter was a bit snappy, which was amusing since we ended up buying a fair amount of wine there. The boys aren’t fans of dessert wines, so they mocked L and I as we enjoyed the Riesling. I’ve noticed in general that chicks tend to prefer dessert wines more than dudes. Has anyone else observed this?

The Pinot Gris was excellent, and many of us enjoyed the White Riesling as well. For the price, Greenwood’s wines are awesome, and some of them taste like they would cellar rather well.

We also dive-bombed Husch, because we felt like slumming. Oddly enough, although many of the Husch wines smelled quite lovely, they all had an acrid bitterness to them which was quite distasteful. I thought that the Muscat was decent, but then again I am a dessert wine whore. The staff there were nice, if a bit cool. I suspect that they have a cat who pees in the vats, which is why all the wines taste acrid, but Brendan disagrees.

Finally, swimming in wine, we stopped by Handley. Handley was intense. The staff poured wine for us like we were taking shots, bing bang boom one wine after another, and we felt a bit overwhelmed at times. I seem to remember a few decent things, but the wines galloped past so quickly that I’m not sure. There was a decent Gew├╝rztraminer, and there was something else that we liked but I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it was. We also tried a good pairing with the Watertower White, some tomatillo salsa and chips.

Rambling back to the coast, we were quickly enveloped in fog. It’s so amazing to me that it can be warm and pleasant in the valley, and murky just a few miles away. Mendocino county is such a microcosm of climates, it’s rather amazing.