|Toasting barrels at Radoux, Windsor, Ca.|
|Master Cooper Francis Durand|
Radoux's Master Cooper Francis Durand led us through the plant demonstrating each step of the process. This will be a future newspaper column but really enhanced my knowledge of oak and it's sophisticated role in winemaking.
After the hour-and-a-half tour, we hopped in the car and drove the 20 minutes up Ca. Highway 101 and Dry Creek Road to Kokomo Winery. Eric greeted us with fourth-generation vineyard owner and manager Randy Peters.
There is no better education than walking the vineyards with the grower and winemaker for those who really want to know more about wine. We visited several blocks of the vineyards at the winery, talked about the dry Sonoma winter, pending bud break, and all of the things to get a wine geek all geeky.
|Chatting with Erik Miller, Gary Peters at Kokomo Winery|
We had a great chat with Erik and Randy which will turn up in a future newspaper column or two.
And yes, for those who don't know, Erik did name his winery after his hometown of Kokomo, Indiana.
Our final stop of the day was a hastily arranged visit to one of Sonoma's best, Chateau St. Jean located betweent he cities of Sonoma and Santa Rosa on CA. 12.
|The manicured vineyards of Chateau St. Jean|
We tasted a great Pinot Gris, two Chardonnays, a couple of Pinots, and their signature Bordeaux style blend Cinq Cepages 2008. The highlight for us was the Sonoma County Reserve Merlot ($90) and Sonoma Reserve Cabernet ($90). The Cabs in Sonoma are generally a little lighter than the Napa powerhouse Cabs. But the beautiful balance and silkiness of these wines would please most any palate.
Chateau St. Jean is a great stop and any Sonoma trip should include a visit. The grounds are truly stunning. They have a tasting room for their other wines which range in the mid-teen to $20 pricepoint.
So it's off to the Russian River Valley this morning.. We start our day with two of the grand ladies of California wine. Our first stop is at Merry Edwards and second at Inman Family wines. Kathleen Inman is going to pour for us her Pinot. Ted Klopp, a Wabash College grad, provide Pinot grapes from his ranch to both producers. We'll see Ted this afternoon.
If we don't run out of time, we hope to pay a visit to the iconic Rochioli Vineyards later today.
NOTES from the road: I do have many more wonderful photos taken by Wabash College senior Drew Casey who is along with me on the trip. The loading times are taking forever! I did get all but one or two photos from Tuesday up this morning. Just click on the photo image at upper left and scroll down to Napa Day photos. I hope to get yesterday's up this evening.
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