I’m attending the first annual North American Wine Blogger Conference in Sonoma County. The event has attracted 170 wine bloggers and we have been wining and dining from the get go. The opening event was a wine tasting and lunch held in the vineyards at the beautiful Kick Ranch Vineyards.
Kick Ranch is located in Sonoma’s Rincon Valley at the foot of Spring Mountain off Calistoga Road. It is a spectacular plot of vineyards with a great view of Sonoma County. Some very well-known wineries such as Paul Hobbs, Rosenblum, and Lynmar source their grapes from Kick Ranch. There are also a number of very small wineries, some just emerging, that have contracts with Kick Ranch.
Twelve wineries were represented at the luncheon, pouring wines all made from Kick Ranch vines. We enjoyed all the wines we tasted but a few were really impressive.
The Petite Sirah made by Rosenblum from this vineyard is a delicious dark rich wine that is very smooth. Interestingly, Kent Rosenblum was pouring the wine. Yes, he did sell his Rosenblum label but still has a transitional role with his former winery. You would never know that Kent Rosenblum sold the winery for 110 million; he is a delightful and unassuming man.
Morgan Peterson and his dad, Joel Peterson of Ravenswood fame, have co-founded a new winery called Bedrock Vineyards. Morgan was pouring barrel samples of Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. Both of these wines are nearly ready and I suspect from tasting the barrels samples that they will be sold out shortly after release.
Finally we tasted Enkidu Wines. Phillip Staehle is the owner and winemaker. Phillip poured three wines, actually two, but later I was able to try a third wine, the Humbaba. Both the Syrah and Petite Sirah were outstanding but the Humbaba, which is a blend of both, is absolutely terrific. What a wine, my favorite of the tastings.
Well, the lunch and tasting is over and now we head back to the Flamingo Hotel to our first serious seminar session. We get to play a speed-dating style game as 16 winemakers move from table to table pouring their wine and telling us how good it is. This is going to be a tough weekend.