On May 12 we traveled north to the town of Sonoma for the first Garagiste event north of Paso Robles: Garagiste Northern Exposure. And we were not disappointed. We found eight new wineries, each producing at least one pinot noir. Quality varied from very good to outstanding. This is part 1 of our summary in roughly the order we tasted the wines. We’ll publish part 2 followed by more in-depth articles about individual wineries in the future.
As an overview note, many wineries were pouring 2013 and/or 2014 vintages. We preferred the 2013’s by and large.
Burning Bench Cellars owner, grapegrower, winemaker, and bottle washer David Mease greeted us. These folks only make pinot noir. And it’s really good. All 175 cases per year are from their Moon Hill Vineyard in the North Coast, Marin County AVA. The 2013 and 2014 vintages are $45 each.
Camlow Cellars offers their Magna Porcum Estate Pinot Noir. Yes, that’s a wild boar in their logo. The winery name is a hybrid of the names of owner Alan Campbell and winemaker Craig Strehlow. They make all of 400 cases per year, including a pinot noir rosé featuring the winery mascot, Pigasus.
Von Holt Wines featured two 2014 pinots, both Sonoma Coast. The Sonoma Coast blend is $35, while the Suacci Vineyard is $45. Both are excellent. Co-owner Chris Von Holt probably has no problem collecting his accounts receivable. The winery is his second career. He retired after 20 years as a Secret Service agent. (The other co-owner is his wife Pam.)
Charlie Chenoweth greeted us with an amazing story about Chenoweth Wines. Charlie grew up in agriculture. In 1980 they ripped out their vegetables and planted grapes. And we sure are happy they did. Their pinots are a blend of three vineyards: Treehouse, Bootlegger’s, and the estate Home Ranch. The 2013 is $55 and the 2014 is $65.
More coming, hopefully next week.