Russian River Passport to Pinot is this weekend. Several wineries are participating and the wineries will be pouring their Pinot including barrel samples of the current vintage so I spent Saturday afternoon driving around the rolling hills of Russian River.

The wineries I attended this day were: Joseph Swan, Harford Winery, Dutton Estate, Iron Horse, DeLoach, Hook & Ladder, Harvest Moon, Martinelli, Russian Hill Vineyards, La Crema, and last but not least, D’Argenzio.

My first stop was at Joseph Swan. I had the 2008 Trenton Estate Pinot Noir, slightly cloudy, medium red with cola flavors. In addition to their regular tasting they poured multiple lots of barrel samples of their Estate Pinot from different blocks in the same vineyard.

Hartford Winery in my opinion was the star of the day. The winery is new to me and this was the first time I had their Pinot Noir. If there was one wineries Pinot that I would have to describe as “Burgundian” it would be this one. Of the five wines I tried they all had the flavor profile of a good Burgundy. The 2009 Fog Dance Vineyard PN was medium dark to red, dusty mushrooms on the nose, tight but balanced finish. I also had the 2008 Stevens Bench PN, the 2009 Velvet Sisters PN and the 2009 Jennifer PN as well as a couple of barrel samples. And by the way, they had the best hor d’ourves of the day.

At Dutton Estate I liked their 2009 Thomas Road PN which was dark red with a nose of warm mulled spices with a tight, firm finish. And the salmon sliders were not bad either.

Iron Horse vineyards had to have the best view of any vineyard I visited this day, to reach the winery you drove along a winding, one lane road to get to the top of the hill where the winery was located. I liked their 2007 Golden Gate Cuvee sparkling wine. Poured from a Jeroboam, it was pale salmon in color, crisp with good balance and it went well with the bbq brisket sliders they served.

The Martenelli Winery was one of my must go to stops and I wasn’t disappointed The Pinots were very interesting. The 2009 Sonoma Coast PN was medium red with black cherry and mushroom nose, tight with dried mushrooms on the long finish. The 2009 Bondi Home Ranch PN was dark purple with a slight oily, rubber band nose, fleshy, full-bodied, concentrated but closed flavors. the 2010 Bondi Ranch PN had a toasty nose, juicy but balanced, deep fruit. The served a plate of three cheese to go with the wines which were very tasty.

My final winery of the day was D’Argenzio which is located in a small mall with several other wineries. I had a chat with Mr. D’Argenzio, sipping his 2008 Bacigalupi Vineyard Petite Sirah (still in barrel!) while sitting in the back near the bocce court, listening to an excellent guitar duo and a pretty women shaking her tambourine.

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