Hartford Family Winery and Stryker Sonoma Wine Club tasting Notes

It’s been a delicious month for pinots and zins.  We received our wine club shipments from Stryker Sonoma Vineyards and Hartford Family Winery and are doing some side by side tastings to savor our favorites. Hartford pinot vs. Manzana pinot. Three Stryker zins: “Patty Patch” vs. “Oz”  vs. “Alegria”.

Tonight (Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008) we did a side by side tasting of the Hartford Court 2005 “Sevens Bench Vineyard” Carneros pinot noir with the 2006 Dutton Estate Russian River Valley (Dutton Estate, Manzana Vineyard) pinot. (The web site says this is the 2005 vintage but I don’t believe it.) If you ever get a chance to buy either of these, don’t pass up the opportunity.  The Hartford is more complex with a classic pinot nose, relatively little fruit on the palate, and a long, incredible finish capped with licorice(!!).  The Dutton is somewhat more pedestrian, but a worthy competitor to the Hartford.  Less complex, but equally quaffable.  Both highly recommended.

Tony at Stryker Winery

Last month saw the arrival of the Stryker Sonoma wine club delivery — three zinfandels.  The 2006 “Patty’s Patch” Alexander Valley seemed to be the most approachable.  But after 30 minutes of breathing time it was overtaken by the 2006 “Oz” Alexander Valley zin.  The 2006 Alegria Vineyard zin should be aged for a year or two.  But someone else will have to handle that chore — our bottle is gone.

Also this month, we opened a road trip souvenir bottle from the Paso Robles  area, Stacked Stone Cellars.  We visited their tasting room about a year ago.  As we recalled it, when we arrived, we almost left immediately because the tasting room seemed to be closed.  Luckily for us, Shawna was on the grounds, saw us, and opened the premises for us.  Shawna is the new winemaker at Stacked Stone.  We had a very enjoyable time.  Shawna was kind enough to share her vision for the future directions of the winery.  We bought a bottle of “The Quarry” (2005) mainly as a trophy of the visit. (If you click that link, scroll down about 1/2 the page to see this wine.) When we opened it a few days ago we were initially put off by the strong vegetal aroma.  “Give it half an hour” I suggested to Norma.  That’s proof that once in a while I get something right.  The vegetation vanished and we were left with an excellent example of a red meritage blend.  Buy it if you can find it!