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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vinoteca - Micro-wineries in Santa Rosa

There are now three tasting rooms in Santa Rosa operated as co-ops of several micro-wineries.   First, there was Cellars of Sonoma, then the Urban Winery Village, and now Vinoteca.   First, I have to comment on the name--it's bad. It sounds sort of "high teca" rather than wine-friendly.  I didn't know where "teca" came from until I looked it up. Vinoteca means "a collection of wines."   Fine. But sex always works in marketing--how about "Vinosex?"    LOL
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There was a soft grand opening on June 27th mostly for social media types (I stay away from the unsocial media types) and others in the local wine industry.
What I sampled:

Argot Wines  Known primarily for their unfiltered Pinot Noir
2009 Sonoma County white blend (70% Roussanne/30 Chard)
   Interesting wine, bit of heat on the finish
2007 Bennett Valley Syrah
   A touch green, nice structure, bit spicy, big

Bjornstad Cellars  Single-vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
2007 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay
   Lean, toasty
2008 van der Kamp Vineyard Pinot Noir

Calluna  Mostly about Bordeaux varietals
2009 Cuvee (Merlot and Cabernet Franc)
   Thin, tight, not much showing. How will it age?

Frostwatch  From the cool Bennett Valley appellation
2010 Kismet (Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon)
   Soft, fruity, good acid
2009 Bennett Valley Pinot Noir
   Soft, fruity up front then earthy, lower acid. 
   Would like to try this one after a few more months in the bottle

Olson Ogden Wines  Mostly about Rhone varietals  
2008 Stagecoach Vineyard Marsanne 
   Oily, spicy, decent acid. Inoffensive, but not particularly interesting
2007 Unti Vineyard Syrah 
   Nice spicy, good balance, good fruit.  Outstanding.
   My favorite wine of the night.

Super Sonoman  Specializing in Cabernet from the hills separating Sonoma and Napa Valleys
2005 Redwood Hill Vyds Cabernet Sauvignon
   Complex, fruity, spicy, still tasting youthful.  Excellent.
   Only concern is the 15.2% alcohol, but it's not showing now
2006 Redwood Hill Vyds Cabernet Sauvignon
   Bit thinner and more tannic than the '05.  15.2% alc also

Visiting these shared tasting rooms consisting of multiple small wineries you've probably never heard of is a great way to sample many different styles. And it's convenient. What you're missing, of course, is the view out over the vineyards afforded by the larger ones out in the wine-producing areas.  

A list of the urban co-op tasting rooms in Santa Rosa, CA and the wineries represented:

Cellars of Sonoma, 133 Fourth Str
Amorosa Bella, Bonneau, Dunah, Gann Family, James Family, Joseph Jewell, Krutz, La Sirena, and TR Elliot

Urban Winery Village, 1301 Cleveland Ave
D'Argenzio, Krutz, MJ Lords, and Sheldon

Vinoteca, 3358 Coffee Lane
Argot, Bjornstad, Calluna, Frostwatch, Olson Ogden, and Super Sonoman

Also, within the city limits you'll find Carol Shelton, Inspiration (both near Vinoteca), and the not-to-be-missed wines of Siduri.

All that's missing now is bus service between the local hotels and these urban tasting rooms. Think of it as a pub crawl!