The last two weeks were quite forgettable for me. So, thank goodness I had a mini vacation scheduled for this past weekend. I went to see my dear friends Sandra and Doug who recently moved to Petaluma. The three of us, plus their daughter, are very serious wine drinkers. So, I knew I had a good wine vacation in store. But low and behold, I had a wine vacation and more. Read all about it here.
Our Wine Vacation Started with Ridge
We started our wine vacation with a tasting of Ridge wines. My friends have been long-time members of their wine club. So, they had something like 70 bottles of Ridge wine. We picked 12 out to taste: two Carignanes (2018 and 2019) from their Buchignani Ranch vineyard near Alexander Valley, two Zinfandels (2015 and 2016) from the same vineyard, two Zins from Boatman vineyard near Healdsburg and two Zins from Mazzoni vineyard, also near Alexander Valley.
Our Ridge Results
Ridge Vineyards is one of our favorite wineries. So, we were incredibly excited to try all the wines. We started with the Carignanes and then went to the Zins. In each flight, we started with the youngest and then moved to the next and the next until we got to the oldest.
We really enjoyed the Carignanes, which surprised me in a great way, because I’ve never before liked a Carignane. We got a lot of cranberry notes, with some raspberry and hint of smokiness. Normally, I find Carignanes to be bitter and not rich enough. But these were very good. We liked the 2019 better than the 2018.
On the Zin front, we had two clear favorites: The 2016 Boatman and the 2015 Mazzoni. It was a blast getting to try and compare so many different Zins.
Black Knight Vineyards Tasting
Our Ridge tasting Saturday night got us in the mood for some more tasting. So, on Sunday, we headed to the tasting room for Black Knight Vineyards, which is a winery in Sonoma County. What a treat this was. We were lucky enough to be served by the winery owner Lexi, who was a wealth of information. She explained to us that Black Knight is predominantly a Burgundian winery, so they make a ton of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. But we got to try some amazingly unique wines, including our favorite which was a Sparkling Gamay. Wow!
Barber Cellars Tasting
We walked around the block to the Barber Cellars tasting room. Barber Cellars is “a family winery dedicated to hand crafted, high qualiity wines made from their small, organically farmed vineyards.” This tasting room was another huge treat. Our favorite wine was their Barbera. I am quite certain this is the best American-made Barbera I’ve ever tasted. I can’t wait to serve it up with a wonderful tomato-sauce based Italian dinner.
Now for the "Plus More" Part of the Tasting
Guess what. Barber Cellars isn’t just a winery. They’re also a distillery. Two doors down from their wine tasting room was their distillery tasting room. OMG, did we have fun tasting some of their concoctions. My friend Doug is a serious Manhattan drinker. The Manhattan they served him was the best he’s ever had, to the point where he bought all the ingredients so he can replicated the drink at home. We also got to enjoy an amazing Grappa drink, an apple pie drink and more.
What a treat. This was just what the doctor ordered. If you’re in Petaluma, please check out these wonderful businesses.