A great time to go to wine country and a fun place to explore
This past weekend we took a trip up to wine country to do some research for Chardonnay Box. Every time I go up there at this time of year I am reminded of how gorgeous wine country is during the fall. Unlike many other parts of California, the vineyards actually have seasons similar to the North East. We felt like "leafers" headed up from Boston or New York to catch the changing colors in Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine.
We stopped at a few wineries along the way and then stayed over in Healdsburg, catching some of the wineries in the town square before they closed.
One of the more interesting sections of our drive was in the Dry Creek region. I had never been there before and it was truly beautiful. Interestingly, there is an ordinance in Dry Creek that you cannot hold events (such as weddings) there. It is zoned for farming and small business only. They claim to do this because the roads are small and they don't want the traffic congestion. It definitely helps to keep a small town feel in the region - although a wedding would be gorgeous here!
Our main stop in the Dry Creek region was at Ferrari Carano where we got to taste in both their reserve room and their main tasting room. The reserve room is a cavernous room down in the basement and is decorated with beautiful dark wood and stone. Even if you make it there and don't feel like doing the reserve tasting it is definitely worth going downstairs to take a look. Upstairs we tasted Ferrari Carano's mainstream chardonnay which is absolutely wonderful and for the price point it is well worth it. Downstairs we got to taste some impressive chardonnays that left us saying WOW after each sip of wine. Below are my notes on these wines:
2014 Fiorella Chardonnay
This chardonnay was very interesting. It definitely had some nice buttery notes to it but there was a decent amount of minerality. Fortunately that minerality was balanced out by a smooth oakyness. I noticed a bit of a dry sensation on the tongue as an aftertaste.
2013 Tre Terre Chardonnay
This chardonnay had much less minerality than the Fiorella. The oak and butter in the chardonnay were well balanced although not quite as pronounced as Ferrari Carano's mainstream chardonnay in my opinion. The subtlety of the balance makes this wine one that you would want to enjoy slowly to really appreciate the soft flavors.
2013 Chardonnay Reserve - Carneros
Well, I just can't say enough about this wine. My first tasting note was "just delicious." As you get into the reserve chardonnays in general you start to pick out some additional distinct flavors that really show the time and effort the winemaker put into each bottle. This reserve chardonnay has a lovely flavor of sweet vanilla. The sweetness is just right (not like a sweet wine) and when paired with the creamy butter and subtle oak, it creates a truly wonderful wine experience.