Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Sunny October Day in The Napa and Sonoma Wine Country With Gary Vaynerchuck

I had been sick all week, took a day off from work on Wednesday and only worked a half-day on Friday and so I felt like just laying around the house all day, to take it easy and get some rest.

But on Saturday October 24th the weather was absolutely fantastic with bright blue sunny skies and the air was warm, about 78 degrees, so I was just itchin’ to head out to the wine country. To top it off Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV was in town doing book signing at V. Sattui Winery and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet him.

So, off I went!

My nose and palate weren’t quite up to snuff so I wasn’t planning on doing too much wine tasting as I didn’t rust my senses to be able to accurately perceive the quality of a wine that day. Sadly, just two days prior I had to blind test two wines as part of a mid-term exams with my nose, palate and olfactory senses completely out of whack. It was a wonder that I was able to identify the even one of the wines.

As I entered the Napa Valley I felt like the beauty of the countryside was the perfect cure to the remnant of my cold. I was feeling absolutely fantastic as I view the landscape out my car window. This time of year most of the grapes have been harvested and the leaves on the vines are changing colors from green to light green, yellow and red.

After driving up to V. Sattui Winery and a brief meet and greet with Gary to get a copy of his book Crush It! signed I headed over to Sonoma to drive up the Valley of the Moon.

B. R. Cohn Winery - Sonoma

My one and only stop for tasting for the day was at B. R. Cohn Winery. My server was David Sharp, an extremely hospitable guy who was a wine maker himself for a number of years.

I tasted different levels of quality and price ranges of two of the varietals that they produce, Pinot Noir ($22 and $40) and Cabernet Sauvignon ($20, $55 and $100).

The first was the Panel Wagon Pinot Noir ($22) a light, simple everyday quaffable wine and the second was the more substantial 2007 B.R. Cohn Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($40). Unfortunately the tasting room doesn’t use Pinot Noir glasses and I am sure this wine could have been better displayed in more suitable stemware. As it was, the Russian River Valley Pinot is a fruit forward wine with black cherry cola, raspberry and strawberry with a touch of vanilla and little black pepper.

My third wine was the 2007 B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon ($20). I picked up on the nose a little bell pepper as well as black fruits, blackberry, black currant and black cherry with a touch of vanilla on the back end. I also I would judge this one to be your average Cabernet and at this price point I know of many Cabs out there of equal quality that between $10 and $15.

My fourth wine was the 2006 B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($55). Loads of plum, black currant, mocha and cherry followed by black licorice and a touch of eucalyptus and chocolate covered mint. It is well balanced with supple tannin, a lasting finish and is readily drinkable now but could probably also spend some more time in the bottle.

My final wine of the day was the 2004 B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection ($100). A full-bodied, well rounded wine with layers of black currant, cocoa, mocha, cedar, anise, and green olive. Surprisingly I actually preferred the 2006 B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon which is almost half the price. A nice wine but I wouldn’t shell out a Benjamin Franklin for it!