The Family Winemakers of California trade event each year at Fort Mason in San Francisco is the best wine event of the year. While it is mostly a trade event the public is invited on Sunday afternoons for 3 hours for only $50. That is an incredible bargain considering that is the only cost and you can taste wines from hundreds of wineries. Many of those are never open to the public.
I attended as trade media on Monday for five and a half hours. I visited 25 wineries that are open to the public on a regular basis. I wanted to sample wines that my blog readers would be able to buy and to continue to get to know the wineries that we feature in WineQuesters.com. I was also showing wineries our iPhone app Winery Quest.
No, tasting at 25 wineries in 5 1/2 hours did not make me drunk. With few exceptions I spit and dumped. There were several Cabs I just had to swallow once but I did need to survive the afternoon. After the event I tested my blood alcohol level and it was only .03. (.08 is legally drunk.) An hour later after dinner at an Italian restaurant my BA was only .02, sober, for the drive home.
Below is my list of wines I tasted that fit my favorite taste profile. I prefer big body wines with lots of aromas and flavors to explore and a finish that lasts a while so I can savor it. I like tannins in my Cabs, and earthy, spicy wines. I focused primarily on Zinfandels and Cabernets but winemakers occasionally talked me into other varietals. You can visit these tasting rooms or buy their wines online for your own taste adventure.
Elizabeth Spencer – 07 Cab
Corison - 08 Cab
Charter Oak – 07 Old Vine Zin (Not in the WineQuesters.com database yet.)
Titus – 06 Cabs (2), 07 Zin – 06 Cab (Not in the WineQuesters.com database yet.)
Saddleback – 04 Cab
Merryvale – 05 Cab
Eric Ross – 08 Old Vine Zin, 09 Cab
Fritz – 05 Zin and Cab
Rosenblum – 07 Monte Rosso Zin, 07 Rockpile Zin
Quivira – 06 Zin
Lynmar – 06 Russian River & Quail Hill Pinots (Many Pinots don’t fit our target taste profile but these do!)
Calcareous – 06 Syrah
Victor Hugo – 07 Zin, 06 Cab (Husband & wife team – that’s all. They welcome appointments!)
Mitchella (hidden behind Hall Winery) – 07 Zin, 06 Cab
Lone Madrone – 06 Old Hat blend, 05 Tannat (south of France varietal)
Canihan – 06 and 07 Pinots (The tasting room is the Winery Collective in SF)
Wrath (formerly San Saba, in Montery County / Salinas Valley) – 07 Pinot, 07 Syrah
Fenestra (Livermore) – 06 Alvaelho
Lange Twins (Lodi by appointment) – 07 Estate Zin (Not in the WineQuesters.com database yet.)
Sobon (Amador) – 07 Couger Hill Zin, 07 Fiddletown Zin, 07 Rocky Top Zin, 07 Primitivo
Lava Cap (El Dorado) – 06 Zin, they also have a good Cab but it is a bit soft for this taste profile.
Rock Wall (East SF Bay) – 07 Zin, 07 Zin Reserve (This winery is Rosenblum’s daughter’s so expect incredible Zins. Not in the WineQuesters.com database yet.)
Vino Noceto (Amador) – 06 Sangiovese and the reserve, 06 Linsteadt Barbera, 06 OGP Zin, Almirante port from Portuguese varietals, and Grappa!!!!
C.G. de Arie (Amador) – 05 Estate Syrah. They have a wonderful picnic area at the pond below the tasting room deck. Lots of oaks.