Monday, September 08, 2008

Old Vine Zin in the Alexander Valley

Sausal Vineyard in the Alexander Valley is a Zinfandel lovers' paradise. They make four different Zins: Cellar Cats, a non-vintage estate Zin named after the winery's two cats; Family Zinfandel, which is made from estate vines averaging 50 years in age; Private Reserve Zinfandel, another estate wine but made from vines over 90 years old; and, finally, Century Vines Zinfandel, made from vines planted on the estate in 1877.

Labeling a wine as "old vines" does not mean anything legally, but all of Sausal's Zins, except for the Cellar Cats , meet anyone's definition of old vine. If you have never tasted old vine Zin, I highly recommend doing so, regardless of whether you taste some at a visit to Sausal or by purchasing a bottle at your local wine shop.

Sausal's tasting room is small and the staff friendly. There's no guarantee that all of the Zins will be available when you visit. However, in addition to tasting some of the Zins, you are likely to be able to taste one or two of Sausal's other reds, which include a Cabernet, Sangiovese, and two blends.

If you are a fan of wine from old vines and would like to taste some on a private, wine country tour, please contact me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or by clicking here. Nearby Stryker and White Oak both have old vine Zin and Field Stone has old vine Petite Sirah.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wine Country with Kids

Touring wine country is not much fun for children. After all, watching one's parents drink is not a great spectator sport. A great compromise is to devote part of the day to a child-friendly activity and the balance to visiting wine country.

Blue Heron has long offered a tour called Red Trees and Red Wine, which combines a visit to Muir Woods with a tour of the town of Sonoma and the Carneros wine region. During this full-day tour, we start with a visit to Muir Woods, home to the coastal redwoods - the tallest trees in the world. Afterward, we head up to the Carneros wine region for an afternoon of winetasting. The charming town of Sonoma, with its Mexican-era plaza and old mission, is a great place to stop for lunch. A visit to Mission San Francisco de Solano, the last of the 21 missions built in California, can be included.

Another fun day for families is to start with a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory to learn how these delicious candies are made. Then its off to Carneros or the southern Napa Valley for lunch and an afternoon of winetasting. This tour allows every family member to come home with treats they will enjoy.

If you would like to take one of these tours, please call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.