Tasting room etiquette, Top 10 Wines of the Week
I came across this online article on tasting room tips and etiquette, and it’s so right-on, it should be photocopied and put up on the walls of every tasting room in the world. These two gals (Lil and Shari) hit it right out of the park.
I don’t do the tasting room thing anymore, since my job gets me past the tasting room right into the winery. But I understand that the tasting room is the average consumer’s window into wine country, and I have enormous respect for tasting room employees. They have to be nice to everyone, even when people aren’t being very nice to them. They have to know all about the wines they’re pouring, and they also have to be prepared to answer all kinds of off the wall questions.
When travelers to wine country ask me which wineries to visit, I usually advise them to go to smaller places. The more popular wineries can be crowded, especially during the tourist season, which means less attention paid to you. Many wineries that don’t have open tasting rooms will take visitors by appointment. That makes the visit feel extra special, but I would advise people that, if you make an appointment, do some homework beforehand. Research the winery, its history and ownership, what it produces and what the critics have said about its wines. That way, you’ll be able to have a much higher level conversation than if you just walk in the door armed with no information at all.
Another good thing about a by-appointment visit is that your host isn’t limited to staying in the tasting room. He or she can take you out into the vineyard and explain the intricacies of grapevines. Or he’ll take you into the winery. I can imagine some visitors to wine country thinking that wine comes from the tasting room. It doesn’t, and understanding the long journey from vine to crusher to bottle will enhance anyone’s appreciation of wine.
Top 10 Wines of the Week
As usual, you’ll find my scores and reviews in upcoming issues of Wine Enthusiast.
Novy Cellars 2008 Rosella’s Vineyard Syrah (Santa Lucia Highlands); $33, 263 cases, 14.2%
Calera 2007 Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir (Mt. Harlan); $45, 943 cases, 14.9%
All of Calera’s new 2007 Pinots are excellent, as is their 2009 Mt. Harlan Viognier
Mumm Napa 2002 DVX (Napa Valley); $55, case production not revealed, 12.5%
Kudos also to Mumm Napa’s 2006 Blanc de Blancs ($30), NV Brut Rosé ($24), NV Brut Prestige and NV Brut Reserve
Nobility 2007 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon (Napa-Sonoma); $75/375 ml., 333 cases, 14.2%
Donum Estate 2008 Estate Bottled Chardonnay (Carneros); $50, case production not revealed, 14.1%
Lynmar 2009 Rose of Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley); $22, 625 cases, 14.3%
Lynmar’s 2008 Pinot Noirs also are quite good
Highway 12 2008 Serres Ranch Bordeaux Blend (Sonoma Valley); $20, 2,300 cases, 14.3%
Morgan 2007 Double L Syrah (Santa Lucia Highlands); $40, 75 cases, 14.3%
Pedroncelli 2009 Vintage Selection Chardonnay (Dry Creek Valley); $12, 4,500 cases, 14.2%