The weekend prior to Thanksgiving is always my favorite weekend to go out and wine taste. The crowds that will be descending on the wineries the following weekend are not present, making it much more pleasant to get around. The big bonus in my mind however is that many wineries have the wine makers present so that you can hear them talk about the current vintages as well as the ones that they are currently pouring. Also a plus is that many of your friends can go, while the holiday weekend is usually filled with family events and is much harder to get away.
This year we visited three wineries, Patricia Green, Soter and Ken Wrights, and each had a very different offering available. We started at Patricia Green, situated a bit off the beaten path on Ribbon Ridge, and she was pouring a wide range including her first chardonnay in over eight years. What I particularly like about visiting is that she had one offering that just typified wines grown on volcanic soil and one sedimentary. This enables you to compare them side by side and can experience the difference in basic flavor profile as well as in their nose.
Second up was Soter, and its sparkling brut rose is almost always the standout at the winery. I think that its chardonnays are really a strong offering now, where in the past my preference leaned more to its pinot noirs. Now it is probably a dead head. Situated on a hill just outside of Carlton it has a great view looking north, and in stormy weather it is fantastic.
Last but not least was Ken Wright in downtown Carlton. This tasting was very unlike the previous two in that it included barrel tastings from the 2016 vintage. While my palette is no where good enough to really tell where the wines are going, it is always interesting to taste wine that is that young. He was also [pouring some of the wines that were already in bottles from previous vintages. This enabled you to try the 2014 Carter in the bottle and the 2016 in the barrel and what a world of difference. The tasting was in the barrel room rather than the tasting room and in the past I have only seen that room when it was being used to produce wine and it was a loud, messy place. It looked like a harvest festive was going on last weekend. What a difference!
Possibly the best part of the trip, aside from Dan offering to drive, was that I resisted buying any wine. However that was mitigated in part by my picking up wine I had previously ordered. Well you cannot win them all.