Wilson Winery, Dry Creek Valley, CA
It’s been over a year since we visited any Sonoma vineyards so we took a trip out when Benno and Nora were here. We had a chance to visit a few places that day but today’s entry will be about Wilson Winery. (http://wilsonwinery.com) We heard about Wilson Winery from the lady at the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce and saw that they had food available too so we planned to have lunch there that day. This was our first time visiting the Dry Creek Valley region of Sonoma so we were excited to taste another area’s terroir!
Their tasting room is pretty large and they also have a large patio area outside. We looked at the tasting menu and had our choice of many wines to try. Our tasting associate, Jane, told us all about the Wilson family and how they own numerous Sonoma wineries, including Mazzocco, a place that we visited last year (http://mferraro73.tumblr.com/post/68438913683/sonoma-trip-with-geoff-and-sabrina-11-24-over). We remembered hearing about the benefits of joining a wine club with them and having access to discounts at the entire winery group. What a cool feature!
Please see the wines that we tried listed below:
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, Estate Grown
2012 The Ranch Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Estate Grown
2012 Reserve Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
2012 Sydney Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Estate Grown
2012 Tori Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Estate Grown
2012 Molly’s Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Valley
Since there were so many wines available and we were being responsible drivers, Neil and I shared our tastings that day. The first wine we tried was the Sauvignon Blanc which gave off aromas of tropical fruit, guava, and honeydew melon. As we tasted the wine, I noticed peach flavors with a crisp finish. We agreed that it was tasty but had to analyze the flavors for a minute. It seemed like it had a high alcohol content but the more we thought about it, we realized it was the mineral flavor characteristic of the region.
Our next wine had that same mineral/alcohol characteristic so we were convinced that it was the terroir. Summertime is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, French Columbard, and Viognier from Mendocino. As we swirled this wine we both found melon aromas as well as peach and minerals. We really liked how it was soft, easy to drink and had so many fruit flavors. You can probably already predict that we bought a bottle for a future WineAndCheeseFriday.
Now we will move onto the Zinfandel portion of our tasting. We knew the Dry Creek Valley was known for this grape but once you start tasting, it’s hard to keep them all separate in your mind. I think we managed to do pretty well, which probably had something to do with the fact that we were sharing tastings. Those Zinfandels can get you with their high alcohol percentages!
The Ranch Zinfandel, is the first red wine that we tasted. I identified deep aromas, a floral scent and slate while Neil noticed red fruits: cherry and berry, some spice and a hint of alcohol. I found the wine to have a soft flavor, with spice and a cherry finish. Neil tasted spice, fruit and another hint of alcohol.
The Nolan Zinfandel was up next. I would say this Zinfandel definitely had a different flavor profile since we found strawberry, blackberry, cassis and spice aromas. Once we tasted it, I picked up spice, pepper and blackberry. Neil described this wine as heavy, dry, and having a nice long finish, needless to say, he though it was yummy!
Although the first two zinfandels were nice, I’d say the Reserve Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel was the most interesting one for me. As we swirled this wine, I found chocolate, spice and blueberry, while Neil said, “fruit, fruit, fruit.” He continued his fruit mantra by saying the wine had very nice fruit flavors and a hint of sweetness. We really liked how it seemed lighter at the beginning, had a spice pre-finish and then a richness with a flavor that kept evolving.
We continued down our Zinfandel list with the Sydney Zinfandel which stood out for me as the wine that didn’t have spice; but there was still some nice blackberry aromas. Neil disagreed and said there were spice aromas and the wine was “big.” The finish of the wine was interesting for me with the dry wine seeming to have a quick finish at first but then the dryness went away and there was a fruit finish. Neil made note of this wine being dry and light.
We finished out our Zinfandel list with the Tori Zinfandel. Perhaps our taste buds were getting tired because we didn’t describe this wine with as many details. I found it to smell like fruit and taste dry with a spice flavor. Neil identified fruit and pepper aromas and called the wine very dry with fruit flavors. I’d say we did a great job distinguishing between five Zinfandels though!
There was one wine remaining in our tasting, Molly’s Petite Sirah. I knew I was at the end of my tasting abilities so I only smelled this wine to pick up prune and raisin aromas. Neil described it as having the aroma of grapey jam and dry, jammy flavors.
You may have noticed that many of the wines had a person’s name in them. The Wilson’s have honored many of their family members by including them in the wine names. Good job for catching that!
We had such a great time tasting wines with Jane that day! Before we said goodbye to Wilson Winery, we found a seat on their outside patio for lunch. We ate a delicious spread, soaked up some wine and enjoyed the sunshine. A terrific tasting and relaxing experience! There is even a cool General Store right down the road if you are looking for more food than charcuterie. (http://drycreekgeneralstore1881.com)