Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Zinfandels of Sonoma & Napa - A Presentation & Tasting

For the past 11 years, I have had the pleasure of belonging to a wine club which effectively focuses on expanding the wine horizons of its members. I have learned immensely from the six to seven tastings and presentations at the club each year. For the past 6 years, I have done one tasting and presentation each year. The topic I chose this year was the Zinfandels of Sonoma and Napa.

I chose six Zinfandels for the tasting. Five were from different appellations (American Viticultural Areas - AVAs) of Sonoma County, and one was from the Napa Valley. I decided to emphasize Sonoma County AVAs because the terroirs and microclimates of Sonoma County seem so much more varied than those of the Napa Valley. The basis for much of the presentation was information gathered during a visit to Sonoma, Napa, and San Francisco that my wife and I enjoyed in October of 2011. As I prepared the presentation, I gathered additional information from Internet research and discussions with the wineries whose wines I had chosen for the tasting.

The wines I chose for the tasting were:

2006 Dry Creek Vineyard, Sonoma County, $23.99
2007 Ravenswood, Alexander Valley, Big River Vineyard, 2007
2010 Truett-Hurst, Dry Creek Valley, Three Vineyards, $19.99
2009 Tin Barn, Gilsson’s Vineyard, $19.95
2006 Louis M. Martini, Sonoma Valley, Monte Rosso, Gnarly Vine, $33.99
2006 Grgich Hills, Napa Valley, $29.99
After tasting the last wine and before I mentioned the prices of the wine, each person voted for his/her favorite wine. (I did not vote.) The results of the voting were:
Wine                                     Nr. of Votes
Grgich Hills                         17
Truett-Hurst                       16
Tin Barn                               15
Louis M. Martini               12
Ravenswood                      10
Dry Creek Vineyard         10

As usual, we had cheeses, homemade bread, and crackers with our wines. One couple purchased the cheeses and two members baked the breads. The breads were delicious, and the cheeses, which were purchased at Publix, were fantastic.

The following are the cheeses we enjoyed:

1. Wensleydale Shires, England - a potpourri of 5 traditional cheeses combined in 5 layers to make one cheese
2. Smoked Rambol, a hickory-smoked French cheese from an area near the Swiss border.
3. Fol Epi - a cow’s milk cheese from the Loire Valley
4. Apple-Smoked Cheddar
5. Swiss Emmentaler
6. Belton Farms Double Gloucester

The following are the PowerPoint slides I used in my presentation. I added further context to many of the slides as I spoke.



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