Day three, the first stop was St Supery in Rutherford, Napa Valley where wine maker Michael Scholz Presented Napa Rocks, which is a set presentation from the Napa Valley Vintners Association.
It gave a great over view on the diversity of the Napa region due to climate, soil and aspect. A small region (same size as Medoc in Bordeaux) however, in the south it is much cooler from the cool breeze coming in from San Francisco, and as you move up the 35 mile valley stretch it gets warmer. This then determines what grapes will be grown, in the cooler south you’ll see a lot of Chardonnay and Pinot noir whereas further up you’ll find Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
We then had a walk around tasting of 14 different wineries each showing two wines. This gave the opportunity to taste a variety of wines and grapes from all over the Napa region and meet the winemakers.
I think of Sutter Home white Zinfandel as a mass supermarket wine with no soul, however the visit to Trinchero changed that. Barry Wiss and Andrew Chapman gave us the story, tour and the history of the family. In the beginning The White Zinfandel was actually just a bi product of concentrating the must of red wine and actually started out dry. The reason it became sweet was due to a stuck fermentation which left the residual sugar, when people started came to the winery and tasted it, they wanted more!
We had a tasting of a range of Trinchero wines, before setting over to lunch with Barry and Andrew at Gotts Roadside burger joint! This is the first time I’ve ever had a reserved table at a burger place and delicious wines to accompany the food.
The drive in the afternoon took us to Sonoma County.
The evening dinner was at the Stonestreet winery at the Alexandra Mountain Estate, the view and location really was spectacular. Pedro the wine educator took us through the wines, and it was the first time I had heard a winery in California talk about using wild yeasts. Dinner was had in a little gazebo near the winery.