- Date: August 14, 2010
- Location: Passalacqua Winery — Healdsburg, CA
Step one: Out to the estate vineyard to meet up with winemaker Margaret Davenport. On a beauteous early evening, in my most cherished of valleys, we took a gander (or three) at the fruit. I witnessed how behind schedule they are, only now in verasion (when the grape starts to ripen and develop its color). Already I was having a blast, taking pic after pic with my camera (okay, I confess — cameras. I love veraison!). Syncing back to task, we tried two ’09 Zins, one in French Oak, one American. I overheard some say before the pour, “Do you think we’ll be able to tell the difference?” Their dismissive dialogue soon dove into humble interest and arousal with lines like, “Oh wow, look at that!” And believe me, the difference, although both were delicious, was that starkly pronounced.
Step two: To the table. Sitting with other guests, wine club members, local and out-of-town regularians alike, we experienced four other pours, one of which was a Primotivo with a surprisingly unique arrangement of flavor notes. The three others included ’07 Zins, which are dwindling in quantity. The two that startled me with their delicious palate were the Estate Grown (which had a neat, old-style, retro-ish label) and the Maple Vineyard. The deck upon which the tables were situated was shaded and cozy. Ideal for an intimate even like this. Our sommelier, Andrew, was more than informative in his presentation and deconstruction of the wines. I found myself learning more about my favorite grape, one that I’ve been able to self-instruct, from him. Maybe it’s time for this scribe to dive back into the books, for some time, though, if I ever hope to be as acute with wine as Mr. Andrew. Oh, and I’ll have to sip more. Much more.
Step three: Out to the lawn, where the Zinotypes (Zinbots, Zintopians, Zinophiles — the only cool monikers I could mold while standing there like a writer-nerd with my little flip-pad and quirky plastic pen) congregated, chatted, enjoyed. The amazing Steve Pile Band jammed some funky but relaxing pieces, while I devoured some barbecued morsels while enjoying the ’07 Maple Vineyard Zin. The scenery is something I have not yet included in this report, so let me do it now, in an efficiently concise manner: ravishing and rapturous, picture after picture. Think I busted my camera… errr cameras. Eventually I had to leave, but not without snagging two of those “Maples”, and two of the ’07 Estates with the cool old-school label. For more information on the winery or to schedule a private tour and tasting, check out the Passalacqua website, or call them at 877-825-5547. If you dare visit, bring a camera or, like me, several. Ones that won’t break, though. Sip, sip…