Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cellarmistress Tastes Live With Davis Family Vineyards

I wasn't actually at this location but I had been there before. In September of 2006, as a matter of fact. I was overly excited to visit this little hidden gem in the town of Healdsburg, California. Why you ask? Winemaker Guy Davis makes some extraordinary wines! As a fledgling in-home wine educator, I knew I was onto something special back then. I was pitching some of his "outside" projects to new wine drinkers in Iowa! Fast forward to 2011, I received an e-mail from TasteLive asking me if I wanted to participate in a live tasting event with Davis Family Vineyards. Of course I would! It would be an amazing evening!

Winemaker Guy Davis came into his winemaking through a degree in finance and a penchant for fine French wine. He had tasted and traveled. And he always had a soft spot for the small family wineries. (A man after my own heart!) He ventured into the wine business as a wine buyer, working with these small wineries and eventually making his own first commercial vintage of Zinfandel in 1995. Guy reinforces my belief that when you put your mind to it and find something you are truly passionate about, anything is possible. It is with this philosophy and all the caring that goes into his winemaking that the proof is here. Just try these wines. You will agree.

When the wine samples arrived, I was overjoyed! Like a kid in a candy store! I couldn't wait to get started. However, my day that day was a little crazy. I arrived home from work in the nick of time to get the session started. No time for photos! (I want to thank my good friend Amy Corron Power for providing the photo of that evening's line-up.)

The first bottle to be opened was the 2009 Cuvee Luke (a blend of 49% Roussanne, 37% Marsanne and 14% Viognier from the Sierra Foothills). I knew right away something was amiss. The dreaded cork taint had infected my bottle! With as much wine as I sample, it was bound to happen sometime. Not to worry though. Everyone else enjoyed theirs and their descriptions of the wine: stone fruits, white flowers, aromatic etc. had me wanting to try it. Guy was nice enough to invite me back to the tasting room on my next visit so I cannot wait to do this! $26.

Next came the 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay. This luscious, creamy Chardonnay was so rich and gorgeous, it was completely unfair. It was like drinking candy. I liken it to love at first sight. You are literally walking into walls afterwards. None of that cloying butter or oak. Just creamy vanilla and pear. Nutty and toasty on the finish. Pretty close to perfection I think. $36.

The first of the red wines came next. 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Some of my co-tasters thought this wine lacked acidity. I didn't think so. I thought it was well-balanced. I was getting a lot of berries and cinnamon in it and none of that bacon fat funk that gives some Pinot more edge. Very smooth and elegant. $40.

The next wine was the complete opposite. The 2009 Russian River Valley Soul Patch Pinot Noir, a single vineyard wine. This wine was young and rustic and needed a lot more bottle time. Darker in color, more earthy and Burgundian, it had a lot of aging potential. Can't wait to try it again in a couple of years and see how it evolves. It would be a great investment. $42.

So Guy makes a Napa Valley Cab, huh? Interesting. I couldn't find much information about where the grapes come from exactly, but I will tell you it is delicious!! The 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon--lots of chocolate flavor in this one. I mean lots! And those smooth dark berry flavors are integrated so nicely right up to the lingering finish. I had a steak with the remainder of it the next day and wow, was it ever a nice pairing! $50.

So does it get any better than this?? Surprisingly yes!! My favorite of the the reds, the 2008 Russian River Valley Guyzer Block Syrah. Yes, I said Syrah. Stop the presses! This Syrah rocked! With Syrah you just never know what you're going to get. It has pretty much lost its lustre in the U.S. and this one could change all of that. No funk, no earth (although it is a little meaty) it's full of huge plum flavor and that's what I like. You will too! This wine is actually co-fermented with a little bit of Viognier--it adds a little extra zing by binding to the color, aroma and flavor of the Syrah. $38.

Please, if you're in Northern California, visit the tasting room in Healdsburg (Sonoma County). They are located at 52 Front Street and are open Thursday through Sunday from 11-4:30 PM.

Davis Family Vineyards' wines may also be purchased on their website at

I would like to thank Davis Family Vineyards and the team at TasteLive for putting on such an awesome event!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.

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