Off to the left there is a room with a lot of glass. From this room walks a guy wearing a nice Aloha shirt, who asks if I have come for a tasting.
OK, it's going well, so far.
We go into the room, and he closes a sliding glass door. This room is about the size of a nice dining room. In the center there is a fairly large table around which maybe eight or ten people could comfortably sit and dine. On the table are four bottles of wine--these are the wines we will be tasting, today. I also noticed that there is another sliding glass door on the side opposite from where I had entered. There is another similarly appointed room beyond that door, and, in fact there were two people tasting with another Aloha shirt clad fellow.
I introduced myself, and it turns out that may host's name is also Mark. I had 100% of Mark's attention for the entire tasting. We tasted four wines: three Pinots and one Sauvignon Blanc. Interestingly enough, we tasted the SB last. The three Pinots that we tasted were all outstanding. All were 2009 efforts with aging potential ranging from 3 years to over 10. Mark would give his introductory patter as he poured each one and I would offer my opinion after tasting. Our conversation was very easy. When I gave an opinion that somewhat surprised him, he poured a bit into a glass for himself to try to see my point of view.
Mark also regaled me with great stories about Merry Edwards. I would now just love to meet her. I guess she was one of the very first female winemakers in California, graduating from UC Davis in the early 70s.
As much as I liked the three Pinots, the Sauvignon Blanc has its own terrific story. It has 0.4% (if my memory is correct) residual sugar. I thought 0.4% was below my threshold of detection, but it's not. You can definitely detect the sugar. Mark thought that Thai food or oysters with sriracha sauce would be a good match, but I thought the intense spice would be too much of a contrast. I like contrast, but I thought that something like shrimp or lobster, with sweeter meat, would be better. That's the great thing about wine and food appreciation. We're both right.
This Sauvignon Blanc is made to be aged at least five years. So, the bottle that I bought will go into the cellar to see what happens.
So, this is why I loved the Merry Edwards tasting experience:
- I was invited into the room and the door is closed. You don't sidle up to a counter and wait for somebody to ask if "you are here for a tasting."
- The host was dedicated to me. He was able to get to know me and gauge from my comments and questions, my level of appreciation. It was not a case where two or three people are moving up and down the counter, looking for people with empty glasses asking "which one do you want to try, next." He knew how to pace me through the four wines.
- The host was very knowledgeable--about the specific wines, about the history of the winery, about the different vineyards, and about Merry Edward.
- No mention of a tasting fee. I don't know if they have one that is credited against any purchase, but, if they did, I would think that it would have come up very early in the conversation.
- All the wines were darned good
I ended up buying a bottle of each of the wines we tasted. One of the ladies in the office handled the financial transaction, while Mark boxed up my selections.
I went back to the car and woke Peggy up. She reported that her little nap was very refreshing. We then cruised over to Yountville to one of Peggy's favorite restaurants for an early dinner.
What a Tasting Room Should Be
- Reply by outthere, Jun 27, 2012.
So you come to my neighborhood unannounced, sneak in, sneak out and then post about it later. I see how it is. I'm in Napa right now. Bet you're next door. Ha!
If you are still over here stop at Redd Wood in Yountville for the best lunch in the valley.
- Reply by lakenvelder, Jun 27, 2012.
That sounded like a wonderful experience.
- Reply by JonDerry, Jun 27, 2012.
Sounds like a great time. Love the on-site reportage with no buildup beforehand. Guess you knew what you were doing. How long are you up for?
- Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 27, 2012.
OT thinks he owns the Valley! I love it.
Anyway, EMark, if I knew you were coming, I would have let you stay at my house in Oaktown while I'm gone. That'll learn ya!.
That's a much better experience than one usually gets at a "name" winery. I'll put it on my list.
We gotta get a whole bunch of the Angelenos up when GdP comes. Not that we won't flush out NG and hopefully revive StevenBabb, HondaJohn and some other old faves. I'm taking OT as a given.
- Reply by JonDerry, Jun 27, 2012.
Not sure how much shot I have to make it, with the baby on its way come August, I'm guessing I'll pretty much be on lock-down but we'll see.
- Reply by EMark, Jun 27, 2012.
No, I'm not in N. Cal,. anymore. We were pretty busy, and, then we had to boogie on home. Hard to believe that a retired guy can have all these responsibilities.
We did get to another winery--Larson Family Winery--late Saturday afternoon. It was not nearly as good an experience, and the wine, while acceptable, was also not nearly as good. We went there because I'd met one of the owner partners. His name is not Larson, and mine is. Go figure. I did pick up a pretty neat T-shirt.
Depending on a lot of things, (it was hard enough for me to commit to the Los Angeles event) I would love to make the time to travel back to the North Bay area for a Snooth event to meet the N. Cal folks.
None of the people, in the pic, is me. (I'm behind the camera.) I really wasn't as busy as these guys.
Have a great trip, Fox.
- Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 28, 2012.
My work partner was at the race this weekend. Funny. His kid (20) got a citation for having a bottle of beer. Let us know when you get up here again.