Five appellations, with six appointments in fourteen days. That was our calendar in late April through early May, and we couldn’t have asked for a finer return to California wine country for the first time since 2002. We decided right from the get-go that we were going to do it right this time; no exhaustive three of more appointments per day, and not even one appointment every day. We were going to enjoy ourselves, take our time, see some of the state and concentrate on a select group of producers, two of whom were new to our experience and three with whom we were very familiar.
Our travels took us to Napa Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Mendocino County, Paso Robles and the Santa Cruz Mountains. On off days, we simply toured or renewed acquaintances with old friends like Allan Bree, Frank Joyce and John and Pat Wolf. And of course, there was never any lack of good food and wine, as we’ve already detailed with recent blog entries.
Our site visits were all marvelous, and included appointments with John Olney at Ridge Lytton Springs, Julie Johnson at Tres Sabores, Mario and Danelle Storm Rosati at Rosati Family Winery, Jason Haas at Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paul Draper at Ridge Monte Bello and Sean Thackrey at his barn… OK, it’s REALLY Sean’s office-auxiliary storage facility outside of Bolinas and equipped with a kitchen many would envy.
We made extensive use of the video camera, and indeed, some of our reports could have stood on that footage alone – candid as they are, but there are always anecdotes and tasting notes to be included.
Our trip report begins in reverse, with accounts of our last two visits, with Paul Draper and Sean Thackrey. We met with the two of them just a few days apart, and couldn’t help but be struck by the differences in style and technique of these two otherwise brilliant winemakers. Subsequent reports will follow individually in quick succession.
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