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Wine tasting recommendations, lots of requirements

nja | Apr 29, 200407:42 PM

Hi Hounds,

I've got some family coming soon that want to go wine tasting. There are a few constriants on the group.

PRICE: we generally need inexpensive wines (several college students in the group) and little, no, or at least waivable tasting fees. Say, most bottles under $20/bottle.

TASTES: Most preferred are red wines like zin, cab, merlot, and syrah, tending toward fruit forward. Aromatic, not buttery/oaky, whites. One sparkling wine producer highly desirable.

ATMOSPHERE: Tending toward "touristy." That is, places that offer distractions other than just tasting and talking about wine.

TOURS: At least one informative tour, perhaps a sparkling wine tour since there are extra things to see.

WHEN: A Monday or Tuesday.

LOCATIONS: Napa or Sonoma, as this must be a one day day trip from SF. If it wasn't for this, I'd take them to Anderson Valley.

We'll probably hit 4 or 5 places, so not every single place needs to meet every single requirement.

Commentary on wineries that I'm familiar with but won't work this time:
- Cline - Great inexpensive wines, is perfect except that I've taken these people there twice already.
- Domaine Chandon - Great tour, don't care for the wines too much so would like something different.
- Siduri - Too touristy.
- All of Russian River area - A favorite area of mine, the group found this place not touristy enough, boring I suppose. But that was years ago, maybe it's been Napafied enough by now.
- Benziger - They also enjoyed the tour here, and the peacocks, but no good inexpensive wines.
- Copia - I can't stand the place, plus it's costly.

I'm stumped. Any suggestions?? How are things these days at St Supery? Mondavi?

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