My 1/2 Day Vacation: Sonoma -Trione Vineyards and Winery
Sonoma County, home to one of California’s largest grape growing regions, has multiple famed appellations; including, Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill, Los Carneros and the Sonoma Coast, to name a few. Much like the Umpqua Valley wine region of Oregon, the climate is dramatically diverse, and both warm and cool climate varietals thrive within the unique terroirs of the multiple AVAs.
Trione Vineyards and Winery has been a part of the Sonoma wine industry through three generations of dedicated farmers, for four decades. Brothers Mark and Vic Trione own over 650 vineyard acres in three different Sonoma County appellations: Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Coast.
After years of providing high quality fruit to prominent wineries in the North Coast region, the Trione’s built a winery on their Ranch located in the Alexander Valley in 2005. The Trione winemaker, Scot Covington, came on board in the very beginning stages, helping the Trione’s to design their new winery. Customized to accommodate small lots and hands-on winemaking, Scot selects just three percent of the Trione estate grapes to craft small lots of wine that express excellent quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Zinfandel.
With six tiny single-taste sample bottles, literally minis of the standard 750 mL bottles of wine, I was able to taste each of their current releases: 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Chardonnay, 2008 Pinot Noir, 2008 Syrah, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Red Wine. This is the first time I’ve ever received single-serve samples of wine, and I immediately had questions about them – which were quickly answered by an included handy-dandy Q&A card from the company TastingRoom.com, who manufactures these single sample bottles:
Q: What should I know about enjoying wine in small bottles?
A: Drink Up! These wines are meant to be enjoyed, not stored.
Q: Does the wine in the small bottles taste the same as in the full-size bottles?
A: Our transfer and testing process ensures the wine in the small bottles accurately reflects the aromas and flavors of the source wine. Each wine is transferred from a full-sized bottle in a sealed, zero oxygen chamber. We call this patented process T.A.S.T.E Technology (total Anaerobic Sample Transfer Environment). Winemakers personally taste the wine from the small and full-sized bottles side-by-side to make sure they are indistinguishable.
Q: How long will my wine last?
A: Every small bottle includes a “Bottling Date” to mark the date the wine was transferred to the smaller bottle. If kept in a cool, dark place and consumed within four to six months, the wine will perfectly match the original bottle. After this time, the flavor may start to vary slightly from the source bottle due to natural variations in the aging of wine in small and full-size bottles. In other words – drink up! Taste and enjoy your small bottles today and then buy full-size bottles of your favorite wines to store for the future.
Q: Are the box and it’s contents recyclable?
A: We at TastingRoom.com are proud to be a green company. The box, paper, inserts and bottles (including caps!) are all 100% recyclable. In addition, we strive to maximize the the use of post-consumer waste in the manufacture of our products. We are committed to preserving the environment. Please do you part and remember to recycle.
Also included in the box was technical information on each of the wines including winemaker’s notes and winemaking processes used. I must admit, I was pretty impressed with the packaging and information that came in one small box. TastingRoom.com didn’t skip a beat in making sure they had this process down to a science.
I was also impressed with the wine. Each of the six wines were truly complex and extremely well balanced, and all displayed a wonderful acidic backbone – making them great food wines. Aside from their common characteristics, each – of course – displayed their own unique qualities:
2010 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($23) – At first whiff, I was immediately reminded of a Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc that I totally love made by local winemaker Ray Walsh of Capitello Wines. His Walnut Ridge Sauvignon Blanc continues to blow me away with each vintage. Just like Ray’s Walnut Ridge Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc, aromas and flavors of lychee, apples, tropical fruits and lemon zest unite in perfect harmony with a nice acidic backbone, finishing with refreshing vibrancy. This is most certainly my favorite kind of Sauvignon Blanc.
2008 Russina River Valley Chardonnay ($30) – I usually don’t read winemaker’s descriptions of wines before I taste them, I often feel they may skew my own notes somehow. I caught a glimpse of the winemaker’s tasting notes on this one before trying it, and I definitely detected a nuance that I love to find in Chardonnays – crème brûlée – noted by the winemaker. Or did I detect it because I saw the winemaker’s tasting notes? Not certain; either way, it was subtle and alluring. Other aromas and flavors were of apples, melon, toast and vanilla. Full and rich, the mouthfeel was velvety smooth and the finish had lovely crisp acidity. Yum.
2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($ – If you know me, you know that I am an Oregon Pinot Noir fanatic; in fact, I have never purchased a California Pinot Noir in my life. With that said, I can tell you this is an excellent Pinot Noir – offering similar characteristics I commonly find in Willamette Valley Pinots. The silky and lush mouthfeel on the Trione Pinot was outstanding. Cherries galore with hints of cinnamon, herbs and earth were distinguishable in both aromas and flavors. A little spice on the silky finish added nice balance to the fruitiness. Kudos to winemaker Scot Covington, from a truly ‘dedicated to Oregon Pinot Noir’ gal.
2008 Russian River Valley Syrah – Syrah’s are so much fun, I always love the super ripe fruity characteristics. This one displays dark, ripe fruits, plum and cocoa right off the bat. Hints of bacon offer meaty notes, and the finish has solid acidity and just the right amount of spice.
2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – This is a stellar Cab, and was probably my favorite, with the Sauvignon Blanc close behind. Full bodied and super complex aromas and flavors of blackberries and fall pie spices. Rich, intense, delicious.
2007 Alexander Valley Red Wine – a blend of Cabernet and Merlot brings on dark currants, leather and coffee aromas that follow through to the palate in full-bodied waves with solid, gripping tannins.
Thanks to the folks at Trione Vineyards and Winery for providing me with samples of their small lot, hand crafted wines – I really enjoyed each one, and I felt like I was on a 1/2 day vacation to Sonoma wine country!
Check out the Trione Winery website at TrioneWinery.com.