Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ON THE ROAD AGAIN IN SONOMA-Pt.7-Fritz Underground Winery

Part Seven
Fritz Underground Winery

Before I write about our last meal in Sonoma, I want to back-up a couple of days and tell you about Fritz, a sustainable winery carved right into a mountain… literally.  

The view was stunning. 

The picnic area lovely. 

But it was the massive white facade on the side of the mountain that intrigued me.  Built in the late 70’s by founder Jay Fritz, the “Gaudi-style” underground winery and tasting room from the outside is made of what appears to be white stucco w/ stunning,  modern glass doors leading into its tasting room. 

The entrance to the underground winery and caves is separate, w/ the winery insignia proudly displayed high on the door.  

Because this winery is underground, it maintains a constant temperature of 58 degrees, so there’s no need for air-conditioning.  How cool is that?!  Refrigeration is required only to cool the fermentation tanks.

Much to our disappointment, however, we were too late to tour the caves, but there was the tasting room to cheer us up.

Bob Cuozzo, the Director of Retail Operations, was our barista and, as we chatted, I detected a New York accent.  Naturally, I asked and, not only was he from New York, he was from Woodside, Queens – right next door to my very own hometown of Bayside.  So we played Queens geography as we sipped these princely wines. 

Our first pour on the $10 Estate Flight was the 2009 Vino Valpredo Bianca Mia ($14) – 50% sauvignon blanc and 50% chardonnay.  This was a refreshing, crisp, fruity wine (a bit of grapefruit along w/ some apple) that had a little lemon custard to its finish.  Stu, my ‘sauvignon blanc lover’ friend would like this wine (and its price).

Next up was the 2008 Estate Zinfindel ($25) w/ all the color, aroma and taste bells and whistles of berries and spices that really rang true. 

The 2007 Dry Creek Valley Syrah ($30) had bold flavors w/ that hint of chocolate and cocoa powder. This, of course, is not a dessert wine – but hints of chocolate and cocoa powder in anything are always welcome.

And, tasting the 2008 Late Harvest Estate Zin ($35) made me think of red meat and blue cheese… Translation:  I liked it.

However, my favorite wine in this flight was the 2007 Estate Reserve cab ($50) aged for 20 months in French oak barrels.  The aromas of cherries, plums and cola filled my nose as the flavors of fruit and spices w/ soft tannins filled my taste buds.  This was a wine I wanted to revisit again and again.

Moving onto the $15.00 Reserve Flight, we began w/ a lovely 2008 Reserve Chardonnay ($50) aged in both new and old French oak.  Oaky.  Buttery.  Yet, fruity.  Definitely my kind of chardonnay.

The 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir ($50) is naturally fermented in open tanks then aged for 11 months in 80% new French oak.  Again, not a dessert wine, but I felt I was drinking chocolate covered cherries in a wine glass.

Our next taste was the 2008 Estate Reserve Zin ($50) – my favorite Fritz red.  Aged for nine months in 40% new French oak barrels, this is a wine you can drink now or save in your cellar for a rainy day or a sunny day or a cloudy day or any day!

We ended the flight w/ the 2007 Estate Reserve Cab ($50) –  aged for 20 months in French barrels – this is a lovely wine that opens up w/ scents of flowers and plums and tastes of red fruit and spices.

I had an Aunt Fritzie I often called Fritz – she was like a second mother to me and I still miss her...

me & Fritzie

...this wine did her name proud.

Fritz Underground Winery
24691 Dutcher Creek Road
Cloverdale, CA 95425

Cave tours are by appointment

No comments: