Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Wineaux: Two weeks behind the bar

SusanLeonardiWineauxW

By
March 8, 2011 |

During my two weeks pouring wine at Monticello, I met a number of “Wineaux” readers — our lively conversations made the project more fun than work. The wine tasters seemed to enjoy talking to one another, too. I kept hearing snatches of fascinating stories while I tried to remember who was drinking what. More than one person told me the whole scene felt like something out of “Cheers.”

Monticello is still working on the wine list, but I thought I’d share some of my own tasting thoughts along with a few customer comments, which appear in parentheses. My overall conclusion is that there’s a lot of good wine out there, some of it coming from our very own little community. Bob Marr, Craig Senders and Bob Traverso, for example, are all making terrific wines.

My favorite Marr is the ’05 Petite Sirah (“rich, full, fruity”; “less sweet than what I’m used to with Petite Sirah and much more smoky/earthy/meaty”), though some folks preferred the Petit Sirah Cuvée Patrick, named after Bob’s son (“Wonderful with food — becomes better as you eat”).

A big Senders hit was the ’08 Napa Rosé. Several non-fans of Rosé (including me) thought it was delightful (“not anything like I imagined”). This Rosé, made from Cabernet grapes, will make a good companion to the Fiddlehead Rosé of Pinot Noir already on the Monticello wine list.

Bob Traverso’s elegant ’05 Syrah impressed me (“very fragrant — very satisfying to the palate”), too, not at all the fruit bomb that so many California Syrahs have become, but a flavorful, restrained and food-friendly wine. In general, I’d even say that you can’t go too far wrong with any Marr, Senders or Traverso offering.

Our better-known local wines impressed tasters, too. You already know that I really like the ’05 Rominger West Syrah, but the ’07 Chardonnay made a couple of converts (“Do not like Chardonnay — really liked this.”) I had a good time with the Berryessa Gap releases — especially comparing the two Tempranillos.

The ’07 Rocky Ridge Reserve made the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine Top 100 Wines of 2010 and got consistently good reviews from my tasters (“excellent, somewhat fruity wine, very good aroma, I would buy it”). I agreed, but I ended up preferring the slightly lighter, livelier ’07 non-reserve Tempranillo.

The Putah Creek Barbera continues to be my favorite from that local winery. Monticello already has the surprising and delightful Capay Valley Sparkling Viognier on its list — as well as many other local offerings.

Not all the tasted wines, of course, came from our immediate back yard. Two Mendocino wineries, Foursight and Navarro, garnered a lot of praise. Foursight’s intensely fragrant (dry) Gewürtztraminer was a revelation to folks used to sweet Gewürtz. Navarro also makes a delicious dry Gewürtz, as well as a wonderful dry Riesling and, perhaps my favorite wine of the whole tasting, in part because it’s so unusual, a beautifully floral, tasty, dry Muscat.

All these wines are lovely examples of their respective varietals. You won’t, by the way, find bottles of Navarro at your local wine source — you have to visit the winery (a beautiful drive through the Anderson Valley with numerous wonderful tasting rooms along the way, including Foursight), join the wine club or eat at a restaurant that carries it.

(Seasons has several Navarro wines on its excellent list, as well as Traverso, Senders, Bokisch and Fiddlehead.)

Most exciting to me was the strong showing of three organic and/or biodynamic wineries. The Bokisch (Lodi) Albarino Terra Alta Vineyard created fans of this fruity Spanish varietal (“yummy,” “remarkable,” “champagne-esque. Unique”).

Paul Dolan’s ’09 Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc was one of my own highlights of the two weeks’ tasting, but it was hard to choose between that and the Ceago ’09 Kathleen’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (“one sip and I loved it”;  “with cheese ‘omg’ ”). All Ceago wines are made with biodynamic grapes.

Paul Dolan’s Pinot Noir (“I’m not a big Pinot person but must admit that I like this wine a lot”) and ’09 Chard came in for a lot of praise as well (“loved it — and I’m not a big Chardonnay drinker!”)

The sweet wine prize went to Ceago’s ’09 Muscat Canelli (“It takes me back to memories of being in the branches of the apricot tree, the sweet-smelling blossoms”) from Clear Lake.

So many wines, so little time.  I had such fun tasting and talking wine during those two weeks (and thanks to my son, Jakob, who helped out the final two days) that I signed on to continue the project. So, every Tuesday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., you can find me pouring at the (finally finished) Monticello bar, 630 G St.

I open four different wines each week, some from the current Monticello wine list, some that are being considered for the list. Five dollars gets you a taste of each. Also available: wines by the glass and chef Tony’s bar menu of small seasonal dishes. Come on by.

This afternoon, Rominger West Winery hosts the Mike Justis band at 4 p.m. and then tomorrow, for ArtAbout, a new exhibit and live jazz, all to the accompaniment of Mark West’s wines. Be sure to ask for a taste of the new Chapman Vineyards red.

— Reach Susan Leonardi at vinosusana@gmail.com. Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

Susan Leonardi

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
     
    UC regents approve 5% tuition increases

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    California unemployment steady at 7.3 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
     
    A new home for the holidays?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Explorit: Lecture illuminates state water bond

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A3

     
    Apply now to take Master Gardener training

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Yolobus will reroute Saturday morning for Turkey Trot

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Help feed the hungry at Saturday’s food drive

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Volunteers sought to advocate for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Village Homes gets crafty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Nowhere to go, nothing to do

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Davis voices concerns over new oil-by-rail proposal

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Cheers and Jeers: Katehi front and center

    By Our View | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Council misses an opportunity

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Together we can do so much

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Have you read this book?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We DO have a water shortage

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Silveria has been there through thick and thin

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Whose seniors will go out in style at Causeway Classic No. 61?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    LBSU takes down UCD in matchup of Big West’s best

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD men get to 2-0

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Wire sports briefs: Kings cruise past Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Raiders beat K.C. to snap a 16-game skid

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Aggie women start 4-game homestand Saturday at 11 a.m.

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    The Purple Ones to play tribute to Prince

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1′ fails to catch fire

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Wealth of Nations show is Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Davis Feminist Film Festival accepting submissions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Founding pastor of UCC’s now-famous painting on display

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Automakers debut key models at L.A. Auto Show

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, November 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

    RE/Max Gold

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

    Kim Eichorn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

    Joe Kaplan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Marcelo Campos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Lennar Homes

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Tracy Harris

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Yolo FCU

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Team Traverso

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Travis Credit Union

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

    Ciana Wallace

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Diane Lardelli

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Jamie Madison

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Malek Baroody

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Coldwell Banker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

    Cynthia Gerber

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Karen Waggoner

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

    Chris Snow

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER19

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20