By Jessica Yadegaran
Monday, February 12th, 2007 at 11:23 am in Uncategorized.
I’ll be blogging about local wineries a lot this week. I leave for Napa next week for a wine writer’s conference, and I want my palate to be nice and fresh for comparison. Here are the basics: There are about a dozen wineries in Alameda County (outside of Livermore Valley, in Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda), and only half have tasting rooms. Many use grapes from appellations in Lodi, Napa and Sonoma. They have properties here for all sorts of reasons. For a listing, go to East Bay Vintners.
The first one we hit: Lost Canyon Winery on Dennison Street in Alameda, just on the other side of the U.S. Coast Guard. Jenny and I are troopers. We had plans to taste locally on Saturday, and endured the whole in and out of the car thing (we taste fast and spit a lot) in the pouring rain. Lost Canyon was a pleasant surprise. The tasting room is bright, empty and quiet, and when we arrived it was an attendant’s first day, so we learned about the wines together. They specialize in small lot Syrah and Pinot Noir (my favorite varietals au moment) in the $30-$40 range from Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Los Carneros. They don’t make more than 400 cases of anything.
The Pinots are very elegant and silky — my favorite was the 2004 Los Carneros Las Brisas Vineyard. It had subtle notes of mint and spice. For $40, I’d buy this wine for a special occasion. It’s worth it for a Pinot. As good as their Syrah was, there’s just as good options coming out of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa for less. That said, the 2004 Russian River Valley Trenton Station Vineyard had incredible leather and meat. By itself on a cold night? Heaven, even for $35. My suggestion: Go to Lost Canyon, pick up a meaty Syrah then take it to La Pinata on Park Street in Alameda for lunch. Pretty much the perfect day.
Tomorrow: A local fruit wine maker.