Day 8 continued….
To no one’s surprise, we did not make up for any of our lost time at Cline (seriously, look how long it’s taken me to blog about it…you can then imagine how long it takes me to actually do these things). We were running even further behind and then managed to get lost on our way to pick up another of my high school friends, Terri Hamilton, in Sacramento. Do you think it was the wine? Nah. That’s just crazy talk.
We made it to Terri’s, raced in, disturbed her dog Cuervo (you don’t even need to ask, do you?), used her “facilities” and headed to the next winery….Bray Winery in Amador Creek. Remember, our point was to hit some of the lesser know wine regions. And that’s Amador Creek.
We encountered another she-pack (minus the tiaras), but we understood why. They have a wine called “Brayzen Hussie.” Cute, no? Also good.
Robin Bray himself was our guide through 13 of their wines! 13! Which brought our total wines tasted to….199. You know what’s next, right? But first, let me tell you our Brayzen favorites. … the 2008 Barbera was tasty (“spicier noes, creamy berries–dark strawberry to raspberry, bright with some heat” per Chris’s unedited notes). the 2007 Vinho Tinto was a fun “violet-y” wine with some blueberriness (blame me for this description…not Chris), and of course the 2010 Brayzen Hussie Blonde was full of lime and grapefruit, with a hint of grass (which, I’m sure you know by now, makes perfect sense since it’s a Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier blend). Also, the 2006 Barbera Port was delicious…particularly served with the dark chocolate brownies (with a little port mixed in). Tastiness abounds.
Then we were off. We had no appointments after Bray on this day and were just going to explore. We wound up choosing Shenandoah Vineyards as the scene for our 200th wine tasted. And here we are, 200 wines in…
I know. We’re looking like we tasted all 200 wines that morning. It’s possible we’re tired at this point.
And here we are with Terri:
See how much fresher she looks than we do? Right, she’s 187 wines behind us.
Oh, and what was our 200th wine? It was Shenandoah Vineyards 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. I liked the 2010 Chenin Blanc/ Viognier blend better, but that’s not the order they poured.
After Shenondoah we hit Jeff Runquist’s tasting room. Chris has been a fan of his wines and has met him at wine events, so we stopped by unannounced. Um, yeah, busy tasting room! Lots o’ people love Jeff Runquist wines and there’s a reason for that. It’s not just because of the buxom blondes hanging out there.
It was also for the wines. Some very, very good wines. (See all those ribbons? Ribbons= good wines. Or horse shows.)
In this case though, it was definitely the wine. We tasted 8. And the hands down favorite was the 2009 Touriga Naccanal (Alta Mesa-Lodi). Chris’s notes say, among other things, “highly drinkable.” Not just drinkable, people. Highly drinkable. At this point, I need to call it—my favorite newly discovered grape from this trip is Touriga. Any time we found a winemaker who made a Touriga wine, we tasted it and they were fabulous! The 2009 Carignane was also delicious, rose on the nose with a tart cherry mouth and a really long finish. We finished out our day with tapas and Sangria.
Important totals on this trip…4 friends visited, 26 wineries visited, 216 wines tasted, 580 miles traveled (on the way down from Portland…why count the flying?). 4 days left.