Snooth User: napagirl68

Taste of Sonoma - MacMurray Ranch

Posted by napagirl68, Aug 22, 2012.

Outthere, you asked on another post if anyone is going?  Are you? Anyone else?

I LOVED Taste of Sonoma two years ago, but was disappointed in last year's show.  Not much food offerings (for a lot of wine tasting!), and there were only a few that really stood out.

Was is a result of the vintage of wines being poured?  Organizers changed? Less funding?  Less participation of restaurants?   I am just curious, because based on last year, I do not plan to attend this year.

Rhone Rangers is another that has fallen by the wayside.   If you talk to the participating wineries at show, they blame poor group management, resulting in lack of advertising.  I have seen attendance just fall off at that show, and several wineries dropping out.

Wondering what others think of what is happening to these shows.... can't just be the economy, i would think.


Reply by outthere, Aug 23, 2012.

Yes I'm going. I agree that last year the food a disappointment but we arrived later than usual as well. The issue I have is the grazers that hang around the food and some of the better wines and plant their hooves in the grass. But thats an issue with millenials more than the  event itself. Key is to arrive early and have a gameplay.

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 24, 2012.

Outthere-  I arrived at start time... was still dismal offerings...  but less of the grazers :-)   The wines I tasted last year just didn't blow my socks off.  Balletto was prolly my fav overall... I will have to look back at my post from last year.

Reply by outthere, Sep 1, 2012.

We're going in, wish us luck!

Reply by outthere, Sep 1, 2012.

Well, they made up for last years failures. The event this year at MacMrray Ranch was great. We just go a back a bit ago and I thought I'd post about it while it's still fresh in my mind. Weather was off to start out. The fog didn't lift until around noon but when the sun came out it shone bright and warm. Temps hit around 80 degrees so it was just right for an event like this,

If you haven't attended this event before it is set up on the ranch grounds with booths around the barn area serving food, ice cream, cheeses and other savory treats. Out in the lawn area there are 4 massive tents set up housing the 4 main  Sonoma County AVAs. Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley and Alexander Valley. Approximately 225 wineries pour their wines (about 4 different wines per table), 36 different chefs from around the county prepare food an also there are what they call "Perfect Pairings" where a chef will make a bite to pair with a particular wine on a neighboring table.

Interspersed between the tents are cooking demonstrations, winemaking demonstrations and other fun things.

Dealing with all this in a short time is no small feat. We walked the entire event and tasted wines at many but  not all tables.

Some of the standouts for me on this day:

  • 2009 Westerhold Bennett Valley Syrah - Tied with Wind Gap Griiffins Lair for my Fave Syrah
  • 2010 Thomas George Cresta Ridge Pinot Noir - Really great nose
  • 2009 Hartford Family Einery Hartford Vineyard Zinfandel - Liquid velvet
  • 2009 Gary Farrell Westside Farms Chardonnay 
  • 2008 Joseph Swan Trenton View Pinot Noir
  • 2007 Joseph Swan Trenton Station Zinfandel
  • 2010 Barbed Oak Zaras Vineyard Pinot Noir - My fave PN of the event
  • 2010 Enkidu Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch - Fave SB
  • 2009 Enkidu Humbaba Red Rhone Blend
  • 2010 Sojourn Gaps Crown Pinot Noir
  • 2010 Mauritson Rockpile Zinfandel
  • 2010 Bella Rockpile Zinfandel
  • 2008 Valdez Family Landy Vineyard Zinfandel - 130 yr old vines - Fave Zin
  • 2009 Wind Gap Griffins Lair Syrah - Tied with Westerhold for Fave Syrah
  • 2009 Clary Ranch Syrah - Yum
  • 2011 Gracianna Suzanne's Blend Chardonnay

Pair that with the likes of:

  • Housemade Lamb Pastrami on Rye Rolls with Housemade Sauerkraut and Dijon from John Ash & Co
  • Smoked Corn Relish in a Cucumber Cup with Cilatro infused Creme Fraiche from Nectar at the Sonoma Mission Inn
  • Whiskey Soaked Cherry Trifle from Jack and Tonys
  • Chicken Tikka Masala and fesh baked Naan from the Sizzling Tandoor
  • Slow Roasted Brisket Sandwich with Carmelized Onions, BBQ sauce and Aioli from Viola Boutique
  • Fish Tacos with Jalapeño Cabbage Slaw and Nuclear Habenero Salsa from Bay Laurel Culinary
  • Spicy Tuna Hand Roll for Hana Japanese Restaurant 
  • Chilled Avocado Soup with Poached Prawns and Cilantro
  • Chilled Corn Soup with Dungeness Crab, Chili Oil and Almonds from the El Dorado Kitchen

This was just scratching the surface. The food was incredible. I don't remember having anything I did not like other than some braised short ribs that wer in deparate need of a sauce. Got to chat a bit with Adam Lee of Siduri/Novy and Joan Griffin of Griffins Lair Vineyard in between all the craziness.

I think I took 2 pics all day so fire me. One was the cattle call when we arrived, can you say Moooooo?:


The other was of my grogeous companions for the day:

All in all it was a great day.

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 3, 2012.

Outthere...   sounds like a great showing this year!   Last year must've been off for some reason.  I am very glad to hear that you liked so many wines, and the food pairings sound fantastic!

Reply by outthere, Sep 3, 2012.

Last year was off. This year even the vendors thought the event was great right down to how they organized the dismantling and traffic out.

Reply by JonDerry, Sep 3, 2012.

Sounds like a great time OT, just another great day in the life...

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 3, 2012.

OT,  did the participants (wineries, sponsors) also think last year was "off"?  I do.   I am hoping that was the case, as this is prolly my fave wine event, based on past experience (minus last year).

Reply by outthere, Sep 3, 2012.

Not sure, just got good feedback about this years event. They did things differently this time to streamline everything and it paid off.

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