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Chowness at Russian River Barrel Tasting

Paul H | Mar 3, 200301:59 PM

The first weekend in March is Barrel Tasting weekend along the Russian River Wine Road ( This year, there were 88 participating wineries offering free barrel, current release, and library wine tasting. Although wines are the star of the weekend, you can find all sorts of food offered, also.

This year I only went to four wineries (Siduri, Christopher Creek, Limerick Lane, and Lynmar), but I've been to others in the past. The food winner this time was the grilled sausage and French bread at Christopher Creek (which they do every year). Last year, the fancy prepared mustards (esp. the Zinfandel Orange) and grape-seed oils at Lambert Bridge got my attention, and the year before that, it was the peppered Salami at DeLoach that was soooo good.

The peppered Salami was so good, that I asked them where they got it, and that is how I found the Fiesta Market in Sebastapol. Now here is a chowhounds candy store. They have all kinds of interesting foods including special wine-country things like Kozlowski Farms products (more mustards). Fiesta also had a barbeque going out front on the sidewalk on Sunday. They were selling pork ribs and sirloin tip roasts (half, full and tumbled (?)). Order, Pay Inside, And Pick Up Outside.

I suppose I should say something about the wine. Siduri is a small family winery run by the husband and wife team of Adam and Dianna Lee (my pick for the world's friendliest winemakers). They buy grapes and make small batches (they were showing 30 wines!) of amazingly intense Pinot Noirs and Syrahs (plus the odd Zin and Merlot). The 2001 Gary's Vineyard Syrah (Novy Wines) they were pouring yesterday tasted very (VERY) peppery and reminded me of a few Northern Rhones that had similar tastes.

Lynmar makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which I am fond of.

It was interesting to compare the wines of Limerick Lane and Christopher Creek, as they are almost next to one another on the same road. Limerick Lane makes smooth, easy drinking stuff, which I'll bet is a real hit with restaurants. Christopher Creek takes almost the same grapes and makes something with some stuffing that has the tannins to last a while. It was an interesting contrast in winemaking styles.

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