Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sonoma Day 1 - From Grape to Glass

Curiously enough, my first day in Sonoma began in Napa. In response to some comments I made on his 2004 Luna Sangiovese, Luna Vineyards' winemaker Mike Drash invited me to stop by when I was in the area. Sonoma was close enough, so Rob and I took a slight detour from our original plans.

Busy with the harvest, we jumped into Mike's truck and drove to Coombsville (an area of Napa that has not yet achieved AVA status, but likely to according to Mike) to oversee the harvest. The vineyard was buzzing with activity, with an army of pickers was scurrying through the rows picking the ripe cabernet berries (delicious, by the way). The competition was in the field as well, as the winemaker from Anomaly was overseeing his crew picking their assigned rows.

After that we headed off to Caldwell Vineyard to check on some more cabernet plots, meeting other winemakers hurrying about. Caldwell, in addition to making their own wine, makes their facility available to other winemakers, whom were also busy processing their grapes. There we had a chance to taste some Malbec juice, straight off the press, and meet briefly with the Caldwell winemaker. After that, we grabbed a burrito and returned to Luna to enjoy our lunch and grill Mike for a few more minutes.

Thanking Mike, we headed off to the tasting room to taste some of his wares. Our Trail Blazer flight featured the 2005 Sangiovese, the 2003 Merlot, the 2002 Canto (a super-Tuscan inspired wine), the 2004 Howell Mountain Merlot, and the 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet. An excellent flight of wines, I particularly enjoyed the Canto and the Howell Mountain Merlot. Unfortunately, my real objective was to buy some other vintages (2003 and 2005) of the Sangiovese Rerserve and conduct a vertical, as per Mike's suggestions, but this wine sells out. It looks like I have to scour New York to find those bottles.

Overall, after 4 hours with Mike I have a year's worth of material that will have to wait. Many thanks to Mike for sharing his time and some quality wines with us.

This is not the end of Day One, as Joe finished the day in Healdsburg, enjoying dinner in the company of more winemakers - stay tuned.


RougeAndBlanc said...

You may have a difficult time find the 2003 Luna Sangiovese Reserve in NY also.
Best of luck.

Joe said...

Thanks R&B - I guess my Luna quest will have to take me elsewhere...