Sunday, March 08, 2009

Wine Day with Erik & Erin

Wine Guy and I love to take our out-of-town visitors to wineries when they're here in the Bay Area, so when Wine Guys' brother and sister-in-law came to visit we planned a full itinerary for them!

Below I'll talk about our experiences at four different wineries last weekend - one in Napa, three in Sonoma.

1) Hess Collection - I know you've heard us talk about this one before! We're members here and absolutely love it. We arrived at 10 a.m., right as they were opening, and were whisked into the barrel room with a taste of Pinot Grigio to hear more about the history of the winery. Following that, we watched a video on the wine-making process at Hess, then finished off with a private tasting in a room upstairs. Overall, it was a good experience, but we were left wishing our tour guide had given us a detailed tour of the art gallery. The art collection at Hess is very impressive, but it adds so much to the experience when a tour guide takes you through it and explains all of the pieces! If you ever go to Hess for a tour, ask for Heather - her tours are the BEST! She took us on a very detailed tour of the art gallery when we went to Hess with our friends Dana and Nick in December. We finished off our time at Hess (we were there for two and a half hours!) with a bit more tasting at the wine bar downstairs. We had a Library Cabernet Sauvignon vertical tasting, which was absolutely amazing. We tasted their '98, '01, '02, and '04 Cabs and they were superb (but a little out of our price range for purchasing...)

Our group at Hess Collection.

2) Imagery Estate - several people have RAVED to us about Imagery (in Sonoma), so we finally stopped by to check it out. Unfortunately it didn't quite live up to its reputation. The primary reason we didn't enjoy it was because of the woman pouring for us. She was constantly pushing the wine club to us (sorry, not interested in joining...) and she was an overall very negative woman. I was reading a book about wine dogs on display in the tasting room and she proceeded to tell me exactly what was wrong with every single dog in the book. None of us were huge fans of Imagery, though Wine Guy and I purchased a bottle of Zin. Imgery is owned by Benziger Family Winery.

Tasting at Imagery with the crazy lady who was pushing the wine club like her job depended on it!

3) Preston of Dry Creek - an old favorite! We had to stop by here to get our Guadagni jug filled up. For $32, they fill a huge jug with wine straight from the barrel. Wine Guy and I were drinking it all week and just finished it last night. The wines at Preston are high-quality and reasonably priced, and the people are extremely welcoming. Our group also enjoyed the cats lounging on the winery porch and even inside the tasting room!

Erik and Erin with the Preston sign at the winery entrance.

4) Seghesio - after going here with our friend Erin a few months ago, we knew we would have to visit again. This winery has some of the best Zins in Sonoma, and the staff is extremely welcoming and friendly. The looks are deceiving here - it appears to be a very commercial, non-personal winery, but the people behind the tasting bar completely debunk the myth. After tasting here we were spent and quite frankly, a little sick of wine. So...we took off to Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar for an excellent dinner and plenty of water!

Wine Gal tasting some Rockpile Zin at Seghesio.

Stay tuned for more wine updates in the next week or so! :)