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Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

Micro wineries – big successes

Last weekend I drove up to Santa Rosa, to a tasting event for a group of micro-wineries hosted at Inspiration Vineyards. I enjoy supporting small businesses in general, and wineries in particular. My friend William Allen of Two Shepherds created and marketed the event – I got to be the very first member of his new wine club! – so special thanks to him, and to all the wineries, who poured some delicious wines.

Here are some brief tasting notes for selected favorites of mine. These aren’t the only wines I liked by any means, but other wines from the event have already been reviewed by other bloggers.

2010 Colagrossi L’Inizio, Nevarez Vineyards, Paso Robles (50% Grenache Blanc, 25% Roussane, 25% Viognier) ~300 cases produced
Refreshing, an ideal warm-weather sipper., it would also pair well with fruit, salad, or light fish.

  • Nose: Tree fruit, pear and jasmine.
  • Palate: Lemon, pineapple, and pear.


2009 Inspiration Vineyards Syrah, Dry Creek Valley.
Co-fermented with Viognier, the style is reminiscent of the northern Rhone valley. Paired surprisingly well with the chocolates offered by Truffle Gateau (see my comments below).

  • Nose: Blackcurrant and vanilla
  • Palate: Blueberry, chocolate and coffee.


2010 Two Shepherds MRV, Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley
(47% Marsanne, 47% Rousanne, 6% Viognier) 50 cases produced
Aged 6 months in neutral oak, on lees, racked once prior to bottling. A "winter white", would be wonderful paired with roast chicken or grilled root vegetables.

  • Nose: Melon, pear and stone fruit
  • Palate: Orange peel, pear, and spice


2007 Wesley Ashley Intelligent Design Cuvée, California Central Coast, 500 cases produced
(51.5% Carignan, 15% Grenache, 14% Cinsault, 11% Petite Sirah, 4.5% Mouvedre, 4% Pinot Noir)
100% French oak, 36% of the oak new. Wines aged separately for 18 months, then blended and bottled unfiltered. Full-bodied yet easy to drink.

  • Nose: Dark fruit and spice.
  • Palate: Cherry, plum and raspberry.


A note about Truffle Gateau: Normally I am not a fan of wine and chocolate. Somehow, however, these folks make the pairing work.
Recommended by over 400 California and Oregon winemakers, their dark chocolate Truffles pair surprisingly well with Cabernet, Zinfandel, Pinot, Syrah, Petite Syrah and Port wines. They didn’t have these at the event, but they also recommend their milk chocolate Truffle Gateau with a Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Viognier wine for another outstanding pairing. Anyone who’s tried the pairings with whites – please let me know in the comments what you think!

All-in-all it was a great time in the industrial park. I hope they do this event again soon – and don’t miss it when they do!

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