The wine was lovely. I have only once before had a similarly aged Red Wine. It was a Pinot Noir from the vineyard of Ponticus' extended family in Santa Cruz. It was fabulous. The Esterlina wine was also fabulous, but it was totally different.
Quick Detour: My family took a trip to Anderson Valley this past summer. We went to Husch, an adorable, family-run vineyard which produces some fabulous wine. We had been there before and really enjoyed picnicking at the vineyard as well as the women working in the tasting room who provided a lot of great insight on the wines as well as talking to me about my classic background. During the trip, we stayed at a bed-and-breakfast where the proprietor recommended to look at the view in Esterlina. So we made an appointment and drove up to the vineyard.
To get there, we had to drive a long way up one of the hills that surrounds Anderson Valley. Once at the top, we were greeted by an old hippy-ish looking guy by the name of Dan who turned out to be (as he claimed) a retired aerospace engineer of some sort who now owns a fruit farm. Instead of the usual wine-tasting method at places like Husch-- where you are poured a few different wines of your choosing in small quantities-- at Esterlina it's a whole floor-show. Dan spoke about each of the wines, as well as pouring 15 or so different wines for us. He also poured half-glasses of wine, instead of about a tablespoon, because he claimed that the wind (and it was very windy) would obscure the bouquet if he poured any less. This may be true, but I traditionally do not drink more than one glass of wine, so even dumping much of it out, it proved quite intoxicating. We were also given large dishes of Cheetos and pretzels to clear our palate. I primarily used the prezels to try to soak up some of the alcohol in my stomach.
The wine-- all of it-- was exquisite. Really top notch. We bought a little bit, but fortunately the other four people at the appointment bought a lot so some of the high pressure sales were off of us. The winery is currently owned by the Sterling Family and is the crown jewel of the Sterling vineyards. They bought it off of the original owners in (I believe) 1999. The Pinot Noir vineyards are something like 40 years old and are the oldest in Anderson Valley (closely followed by Husch's vines).
The view was incredible. I highly recommend the winery to everyone who visits that area, but definitely beware of high-pressure sales and bring some people with deep pockets so that you can deflect it off of yourself.
|Picture from Esterlina's Website .|
The Wine: This wine, bottled in 1998 was one of the last years of the original owners of the vineyard. The Pinot Noir had a slightly fruity beginning. It was extremely smooth with a tiny bit of a bite about halfway through and a light, long finish. Much better with food, I had it with homemade pizza. It seemed to pair very well with the flavor of the tomato and basil.
- © 2010 Esterlina Vineyards & Winery