We “fell backward” this past weekend and so my “standard time blues” should be arriving anytime. I hate when daylight savings time is over because I feel like it is always dark. I know morning folks deserve lightness too but that is not me and I am feeling selfish at the moment. Needing to pamper myself just a bit, it gave me an excuse to “sample” two wines on Sunday from Lioco Winery. Ugh… I need a nap.
Heading to Sonoma & Napa Wine Country on Wednesday
On Wednesday, I head out west to the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference. It is held this year in Santa Rosa, California. This is my first visit to the area which may sound strange for a wine blogger but hey that is part of my charm and innocence as a blogger. I have never professed to be an expert, just a lover of wine that is learning and tasting along with you. It is kind of sad that the first time I get to go is so soon after the wildfires that hit this region. I am sure that while much is the same, so much that I will never know is now different. You will be experiencing this trip along with me. It is my hope that I come home with a brain full of knowledge, an exhausted palate and a ton of pictures of the experience.
After the Confab
The conference ends on Saturday evening after the awards banquet. But on Sunday morning I have the honor of seeing a dear friend from my Chicago days, Suzanne. She moved out to northern California years ago for a great work opportunity. She has also taken it upon herself to become a regular visitor to wine country. So she will be arriving on Sunday morning and I get to see the area from her point of view. We will go to some of her favorite wineries and experience some new ones as well. I am so stoked to see her because it has been way too long. But I am also super excited to share a couple days with a resident tourist.
Gary is staying home this trip. He said this is a work trip and I do not go on his work trips, even when he went to Cuba so he is not joining me here. (to keep me working!). I probably need to make some casseroles otherwise Gary will consume Kraft Mac & Cheese and instant mashed potatoes all week!
OMGolly, I am about to jump out of my skin!
Oh and one more thing. I will be posting frequently on my personal Facebook page and on the Strong Coffee to Red Wine Page throughout the week. So friend me or like the page to follow along on this first trip to the most famous wine region in the USA.
Lioco Winery located in Santa Rosa, CA.
To prepare for the trip, the wines I chose to taste on Sunday are from Lioco Winery. Lioco does not own vineyards but sources all of the fruit from family-owned vineyards spanning 200-miles and three counties (Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and Mendocino). The wines are made in old world style with a focus on restraint over big and powerful. We drank a bottle of their rosé from Mendicino County and their Chardonnay from Sonoma County.
As a reminder, I picked up these wines at a tasting that was a benefit for those affected by the wildfires.
Lioco Indica Mendocino County Rosé of Carignan 2016
This rosé is very different than the French rosés I usually drink. There is more acid than fruit and a tad of salinity but this wine was a perfect match with some big cheeses. The color is a light salmon. And the tart citrusy flavors including a hint of grapefruit, slightly ripe strawberries and the fresh rhubarb are right up front. The wine finishes tart as well begging for an unctuous piece of cheese.
This wine is made from Carignan grapes grown in Mendicino County California. Due to favorable winter rains in 2015, the harvest comes from exclusively the old vine blocks in Bartolomei’s mid-century vineyard.
Lioco Sonoma County, Chardonnay 2016
Restraint is the word of the day with this Chardonnay. Any white wine drinker that does not like the classic oaky and buttery California Chardonnay needs to run to the store and pick up a bottle of this chard. Gary is not a fan of the typical California Chardonnay and he liked it so much he had to post about it on Facebook.
Trust me, that says volumes.
This Chardonnay is unoaked (meaning it spent no time in oak barrels). In this case, it is was vinified in stainless steel tanks. My reaction to the nose is clean chalk. It is bright, clean and fresh. Unlike the rosé, this wine exhibits incredible balance. While the fruit is harder to discern, this is a joy to drink. I especially liked it once the chill fell off a few degrees.
Several Sonoma county vineyards compose this wine, with an emphasis on the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Sonoma Coast AVAs.
That is all for now….