Sonoma: Free Wine Tastings!

I’ve mentioned before that my favorite liquor store is located in my hometown, Sonoma Wines & Spirits. They often offer free wine tastings (I’ve attended a couple on Saturday afternoons), which always impress me; I usually end up taking home a bottle! The owner and employees are friendly and personable, and the store is even pet-friendly! Sonoma has quite a Facebook presence and use their page to let fans know about both free tastings and affordable wine and food events. That’s how I found out that this past Monday through Wednesday, they were holding free in-store wine tastings from 2-5 and 5-8pm!

The offerings for each tasting.

So I made plans to do what any blogger would do: work out, and immediately follow up the gym with a wine tasting. Maybe it’s the opposite of hydration/recovery, but it sure was fun!

Monday night’s tasting was hosted by 2fly Wines, a company that holds a special place with my family since the owner, Chris Didden, is also the president of the pool club we belong to. He was inspired to join the wine industry after a trip to Australia. Now he sells quality, delicious wines from there!

I met my mom at Sonoma since she is a big 2fly fan as well. The wines being poured that night were a bit out of our price range, so we didn’t buy any of those, but the mom did pick up a bottle of one of her favorite reds.

Mom venturing outside of her comfort zone and trying a white.

The 2fly wines being poured were: K1 by Geoff Hardy Gold Label Arneis 2009 (white), Brookman Wines Chenin Blanc 2008 (white), Conte Estate Middle Tatta Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (red), and Diamond Collection Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (red).

I rarely meet a red I don’t like, so when wine tasting, I actually find it more intriguing to try different varieties of whites since there is more “suspense” over whether or not I will enjoy!

Verdict: I really enjoyed both whites! They weren’t overly sweet, which is what often turns me off to having a glass of white wine.

The real star of the show, though, was the Siraz Cabernet blend (above left). I love the idea of blending two different types of reds since I like most types. It’s like creating new flavors! I would have loved to bring a bottle home, but it was just too expensive. My mom called it “something special”.

Post-workout wine? Why not!

On Wednesday night, I made my way back to try some wines poured by Scott of Franklin Fine Wines. I really enjoyed talking with Scott and one other fellow taster about the wines we were trying, as well as Franklin and its recent merger with Hartford Distributors. Also, these wines were much more affordable, so I ended up taking home a bottle.

Wednesday’s lineup.

I sampled Dr. Peter Poontinger’s German Riesling, Rocland Estate‘s Duck Duck Goose Chardonnay, Rocland Chocolate Box Dark Shiraz, and Three Crowns’s 1830 Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon.

German Riesling

Rieslings are tricky business for me. Too sweet, and I can’t stand them. I don’t think I could ever even drink a whole glass. However, for sipping or tasting, a riesling that isn’t overly sweet is something that I can enjoy. The Dr. Peter Poontinger brand was very enjoyable! And at only $10 a bottle, it was a wine I could see my mom and dad enjoying in the summer months. My co-taster actually ended up taking a bottle of this home with him.

The Duck Duck Goose Chardonnay, named for the Rocland Estates owner’s daughter’s favorite game (and my favorite as a child too!), was the best white I’ve tried in awhile! It was well-balanced and again, not too sweet. My co-taster (wish I’d caught his name!) said that he could see it pairing well with Thai food. Duly noted! I bought a bottle of this to bring home for my dad. He is quite the chard lover.

Bring on the red!

Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy the Malbec Cab at all. I just took a sip and said – meh. However, I LOVED the Dark Chocolate Shiraz! Make no mistake, this wine doesn’t actually contain any chocolate, but I love the name as well as the bottle’s design. It tasted delicious – too bad it was the most expensive bottle of the bunch! Still not bad though, $17, but there were other cheaper options, and I’m a bit cheap.

My two favorites of Wednesday evening.

And what’s wine without food? I came home after both tastings and dove into delicious dinners.

Monday night: Giovanni’s take-out.

Giovanni’s Brick Oven Pizza, where my sister is a waitress on her school breaks, makes the best salad with grilled chicken that I can find at any restaurant. The key is they shred and marinate the chicken. I love how they offer baby spinach, and plentiful veggies! I also had an un-pictured slice of their wonderful Veggie Special pizza.

Wednesday night’s feast!

In honor of Hannah being home from school, my dad grilled filet and my mom made baked potatoes. Leftover green beans and corn bread joined my plate. And you know I put Mariah’s Chow Chow Relish on my potato skin!

After dinner snack of Yoplait Greek and Uncle Sam Strawberry cereal

Thanks to Sonoma for hosting so many free and fabulous wine events!

Red or white wine? What do you think? Or are you a wine hater?

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