Saturday, July 12, 2008

Continuing the Wine Journey

After leaving Jordan winery, we then visited Silver Oak Cellars for a quick tasting.

This is where visiting wineries with locals as well as those in the "biz" pays off. The tasting hostess knew Larissa and so our tastings were on the house. Cool. On average they run $10.00 a person. Not bad considering you usually get to taste 4-8 wines. Tours cost more.

Silver Oak is all about cabnernets. They were okay, but honestly not as good as Jordan's, but then again the price point is much less too.

We then decided it was time to eat. Too much wine and not enough food makes Jack drunk. Me too.

So this is where we went into Healdsburg and ate at Ravenous.

Then Larissa went home to start dinner as she planned to host it at her house that night while Donna and I went on a nice drive towards the coast.

On our way, we stopped at Korbel Champagne Cellars. This is about the point I really missed my hubby. He loves champagne and would have enjoyed learning more about it - not to mention the tastings.

For instance did you know how the bubbles get into champagne? I didn't. Honestly never gave it much thought.
They ferment the grapes into wines just like every other winery. Then they mix three wines - chardonnay, pinot noir, and chenin blanc and before bottling for a second fermentation, they add yeast and sugar. The yeast reacts to the sugar and creates carbon dioxide. Voila - you have bubbles.

Our tour guide here was less than stellar. Maybe we were spoiled from Jordan, but I did hear her say it was only her third time.

However, after tasting I did purchase two bottles of their sweet rose champagne to bring home for the hubby. I was assured they would not explode in my suitcase and cause Homeland Security to pull me from the plane and lock me up in Guantanamo. Well, they assured me they wouldn't explode, the rest no one can promise.

And they did make it home just fine. In all wineries there are vintages that are only sold at the winery and this was one of those or I wouldn't have chanced it.

An interesting bit of trivia:

Best Use of Pyrotechnics, Period
Anyone old enough to remember Vic Morrow's WW II television series Combat may recall battle scenes shot in and around a certain Russian River vineyard. Yes, that would be Korbel. Before creating bubbles, the Korbel brothers carved out their living turning Sonoma redwood trees into cigar boxes for clientele in San Francisco. The
Korbels even built a railway to transport their product. But long after these real-life Bohemian brothers (as in fraternal Czechs) had bid this life adieu, the Heck clan, who had purchased the vineyards and winery from the Korbel brothers' heirs, faced a somewhat deep-rooted problem. Redwood tree stumps hogged their vineyard space. What to do about the expensive and work-intensive job of uprooting these enormous stumps? An agreement was struck. Korbel properties would provide canvas for cinematic depictions of world-war mayhem, and, in return, Combat's producers promised to set blasts taking out all of those damned vineyard stumps. Korbel Champagne Cellars, 13250 River Road, Guerneville. 707.824.7000. —P.J.P.

Next stop, Kunde Estate Winery

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