Tasting Report: Napa/Sonoma Wineries, 2009

Finally getting organized following four long (yet too short) days in Napa and Sonoma, with wine galore to talk about. We didn’t make it to as many wineries as we normally would have — an inner ear infection and two typically angsty children kept our winery-touring plans less ambitious than we might otherwise have undertaken, but all told we managed to check out 66 wines over the course of the trip — most from wineries we’d never visited before.

Highlights include Luna Vineyards, a smallish winery I’ve driven past on the Silverado Trail dozens of times but finally stopped in to check out — and was amazingly impressed. All of their wines were worth buying, something I never find from even my favorite wineries.

Also enjoyed Nicholson Ranch, a foreboding, corporate-looking building on a hilltop in Carneros. Again, I’d driven by dozens of times, but finally stopped in. Impressive wines, nearly across the board.

Longboard was also an excellent stop, with a series of outstanding syrahs at rock-bottom prices. Amazing value — plus the winery stays open late and shows surfer videos on the TVs in the tasting room.

Also had the special privilege of meeting Cathy Corison of Corison Winery, during our visit there, and got to try arguably the best wine of the trip, her 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Kronos Vineyard. At $125 a bottle, alas, it was also the priciest wine of the trip, too. Settled for a bottle of her Helios Cabernet Franc, a rich and exciting wine that is a testament to what skilled hands can do with a tricky grape.

Good times all around. Complete ratings follow.

Complete Tasting Report – Napa and Sonoma 2009

NV Little Vineyards Band Blend Track 3 / $17.00 / B+
2006 Little Vineyards Zinfandel / $25.00 / B-
2007 Little Vineyards Syrah-Zinfandel / $25.00 / B
2006 Little Vineyards Syrah / $30.00 / B+
2005 Little Vineyards Syrah / $30.00 / A-
2006 Little Vineyards Center Stage / $40.00 / B+
2006 Little Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon / $40.00 / B+
2007 Arrowood Cote de Lune Blanc / $25.00 / C+
2007 Arrowood Viognier Saralee’s Vineyard / $30.00 / B
2004 Arrowood Syrah Dry Creek Kuljia / $37.00 / B+
2005 Arrowood Cote de Lune Rouge / $30.00 / B+
2004 Arrowood Syrah Saralee’s Vineyard / $40.00 / B+
2007 Longboard Sauvignon Blanc RRV / $20.00 / A-
2007 Longboard Pinot Noir RRV / $33.00 / B+
2007 Longboard Merlot Dakine Vineyard / $24.00 / A-
2006 Longboard North Coast Syrah / $20.00 / A-
2005 Longboard Syrah RRV / $28.00 / A
2005 Longboard Syrah Dakine Vineyard / $45.00 / A
2007 Longboard Late Harvest Semillon / $35.00 / A-
2006 Passalacqua Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Estate / $36.00 / B+
2006 Passalacqua Dry Creek Valley Primitivo Lavender Hill / $36.00 / B
2006 Passalacqua Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Maple Vineyard / $38.00 / A-
2005 Passalacqua Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon TR Passalacqua Vineyard Blocks 18 & 19 / $65.00 / A-
2008 Bartholomew Park Winery Sauvignon Blanc Estate Vineyard / $21.00 / B+
2006 Bartholomew Park Winery Zinfandel Estate Vineyard / $38.00 / B
2006 Bartholomew Park Winery Syrah Estate Vineyard / $38.00 / B-
2005 Bartholomew Park Winery Merlot Desnudos Vineyard / $32.00 / B
2006 Bartholomew Park Winery Merlot Desnudos Vineyard / $32.00 / B-
2004 Bartholomew Park Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyard / $40.00 / B
2005 Bartholomew Park Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Kasper Vineyard / $40.00 / B+
2008 Loxton Rose / $17.00 / B
2007 Loxton Chardonnay Parmelee-Hill / $28.00 / B
2006 Loxton Zinfandel Hillside Vineyards / $24.00 / B+
2005 Loxton Syrah 10th Anniversary / $30.00 / A
2007 Loxton Port Syrah / $28.00 / B+
2005 Corison Corazon Gewurztraminer / $30.00 / B-
2007 Corison Corazon Cabernet Rose / $24.00 / B+
2004 Corison Helios Merlot / $28.00 / B+
2005 Corison Helios Cabernet Franc / $32.00 / A-
2005 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley / $75.00 / B+
2004 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Kronos Vineyard / $125.00 / A
2006 Grgich Hills Chardonnay Napa Valley / $42.00 / B+
2007 Grgich Hills Fume Blanc Napa Valley / $30.00 / B+
2006 Grgich Hills Zinfandel Napa Valley / $35.00 / B
2005 Grgich Hills Merlot Napa Valley / $42.00 / B+
2005 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley / $60.00 / A-
2006 Grgich Hills Violetta Napa Valley / $85.00 / A-
2006 Nicholson Ranch Estate Chardonnay / $24.00 / B
2006 Nicholson Ranch Estate Reserve Chardonnay / $48.00 / A-
2007 Nicholson Ranch Estate Chardonnay / $30.00 / A-
2006 Nicholson Ranch Russian River Pinot Noir / $42.00 / A-
2007 Nicholson Ranch Estate Pinot Noir / $38.00 / A-
2006 Nicholson Ranch Las Madres Syrah / $35.00 / A-
2004 Nicholson Ranch Estate Syrah / $40.00 / B
2007 Miner Viognier Simpson Vineyard / $20.00 / C+
2007 Miner Viognier Wild Yeast / $35.00 / C-
2008 Miner Rosato Mendocino / $15.00 / C+
2006 Miner Sangiovese Gibson Ranch / $24.00 / B
2006 Miner Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville / $65.00 / B+
2005 Miner The Oracle Napa Valley / $90.00 / A
2007 Miner Pinot Noir Carneros / $40.00 / B+
2007 Luna Vineyards Chardonnay Napa Valley / $40.00 / A-
2006 Luna Vineyards Sangiovese Reserve Napa Valley / $50.00 / A-
2006 Luna Vineyards Canto / $60.00 / A-
2005 Luna Vineyards Howell Mountain Merlot / $75.00 / A
2005 Luna Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve / $100.00 / A-

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