ON THE ROAD AGAIN IN SONOMA
The Final Chapter
You know that old saying: All good things must come to an end? Well, I hate that it’s true. Our Sonoma winery road adventure was over and waking up in our condo on our final morning was bittersweet. Richard and I love the beauty of the towns and the landscape of valley as much as we love venturing from tasting to tasting at winery after winery. We could live there… really. So, before we left the region, we decided to have one last ‘hurrah.’
We followed a long, rural, winding back road in Windsor past cows grazing in pastures and bees buzzing in grapevines to Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards. The winery’s modern structure...
...is nestled on beautiful acreage which includes a pond...
...and a ‘front lawn’ world-class croquet court – so world class, in fact, the world croquet championships are played there on that very lawn.
Sonoma-Cutrer was established as a vineyard in 1973, and Richard and I have often enjoyed their chardonnays at home or at a restaurant so we were looking forward to sipping them ‘on-site.’
The tasting room, opened only last July, is a modern glass and stone room w/ simple wine displays...
...a cork wreath...
...blond furniture and a ‘modern-art’ wine barrel sculpture...
...giving it a cool (as in temperature), sophisticated feel… but the service was old-world warm and friendly.
Scott Mansfield was our knowledgeable barista, who told us that when the winery began the owners decided to focus on one wine: chardonnay (the reigning queen of California whites) produced exclusively from its own vineyards, all of which are fermented and aged in French oak and crafted using traditional Burgundian methods.
Our first pour was the 2009 Russian River Ranches Chardonnay ($23) – a taste of honey w/ a touch of caramel… those vineyard bees would have swarmed to this honey of a wine.
Next came the 2006 “The Cutrer” Chardonnay ($35) – crisp, yet creamy and full-bodied. I liked the aroma of honeysuckle and the slight fig and nut taste.
The 2006 Les Pierres Chardonnay ($32) was like biting into fermented fruit mixed w/ a bit of butterscotch and nuts. A nut and butterscotch candied apple of a wine.
A limited release, the 2006 Founders Reserve Chardonnay ($50) had a gorgeous golden color and offered flavors of lemon custard, apples and honey. Unfortunately, it’s sold out. So why did Scott give us a taste? Perhaps, so I could let you know how delicious it was – or maybe he just needed to finish up the last bottle and we were happy to oblige.
Our last taste was the vineyard’s first step into ‘red’ country w/ its 2007 Pinot Noir-Russian River Valley ($34) – a nice wine w/ scents of berries accented w/ cinnamon and sweet pipe tobacco. Yup, pipe tobacco that I remember from my youth when my dad sat in a big easy chair in our living room and packed the sweet, fragrant tobacco into his pipe as he readied to read the evening newspaper. I think he’d like sipping this wine as he checked out the front page.
Our tasting was done and it was only 11:30 in the morning! But, no more – we had miles to go before we sipped… Yes, miles to go before we sipped.
4401 Slusser Road
Windsor CA 95492