Rachel Tries: Barrel Tasting
Congratulations! You made the wonderful life choice of reading Rachel Tries.
So you know how everyone says, “This is gonna be my year,” on New Years? Well, I didn’t say that this year. But, I did decide that this was going to be a year of trying new things and saying no less — sort of like the ‘Year of Yes.’
In this series, you can follow my journey to self-fulfillment…. Or maybe more like my journey to fill my stomach, unclear which one will result.
Either way, it’s sure to be an adventure.
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Rachel Tries: Barrel Tasting
Barrel Tasting, the time honored tradition of tasting many different wines directly from the barrel. Tasters test wine that will not be bottled for another 6 months to a year, so you’re tasting wine that hasn’t reached maturity yet.
For those with a sophisticated palate and develop taste for wines, you taste, and purchase the wines, which get shipped to you once they’re finally bottled. For me and my friends, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get dressed up, head to Sonoma and taste a bunch of delicious wine. Plus, you get a free wine glass out of it.
But in all seriousness- this was a very fun day, and definitely a new experience for me.
Like most 20-something year olds, I enjoy wine of all kinds, wine, red, blush, anyway you hand it to me, I’ll drink it.
So a group of friends and I decided to head out and winery hop. While I’ve wine tasted in tasting rooms and at wineries before, this was very different. Often poured by the makers of the wine, these tasting where literally poured from the barrel they were aging in, and you get just a tiny sampling.
It was interesting to learn about the wines, the year the grapes were grown, the types of barrels they were aging in and how they expected it to taste in another few months, as the wine was being poured directly into my glass by the hands who helped grow the fruit. You see the passion and dedication behind the wines we sip and enjoy, not thinking twice about the amount of rain that year received or what kind of oak the wine sat in for years.
This delicious new experience led our rather large group of eager tasters two three wineries, starting at Lancaster.
Next we headed to Chalk Hill Winery, and we ended at Truett Hearst Winery.
We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day, and the last winery was probably my favorite. It was set at a farm with goats and chickens, as well as a creek nearly overflowing from all the rain the Bay Area’s gotten this Winter. The scenic views, 10+ wines, scrumptious (free) sausages, and impeccable company made it the perfect winery to end our day on.
If you have the opportunity to barrel taste in a group setting, where you can hop from winery to winery with ease, I’d recommend you take the time.
Whether you can pick up the oaky undertones, can taste the cranberry they had it age with, can denote the level of acidity, or don’t know a thing about wine — it’s fun to get an insider’s look behind the bottles we enjoy, and time travel to the future of the good wine.