Last week we blind-tasted sparkling and dessert wines in our Bus 305W class. The top California wine was Carol Shelton’s Tawny Monga — a fortified zinfandel with some lovely residual sugar. The 38 Millennials who attended class that evening agreed that it was a luscious dessert wine and screamed for chocolate as a pairing. At only $33 for a 500ml bottle, this wine is a great deal for a lovely after dinner drink.
**** 2005 Tawny Monga Zin, Carol Shelton Wines, Cucamonga Valley ($33, 500ml)
Dark berry fruit with amazing spices of clove and cinnamon and hint of dark chcolate on the very long and satisfying finish. Made from old vine zinfandel grapes of the Cucamonga Valley. Available at: http://www.carolshelton.com/home/.
(Written by guest author, Kate Nelson). The most memorable wine tasting experience of the wineries that I have visited in the past few months has been at Lucas Winery in Lodi, California. Lucas offered the best wine tasting experience for me for many reasons.
The staff at Lucas was extremely friendly and inviting — and even for our Designated Driver made the experience enjoyable. We were welcomed right away upon entering. The tasting room was open and bright, and the bar was large and accommodating so that many different groups of people would still feel individual attention and not feel at all crowded or rushed.
The main reason was that I enjoyed Lucas was because the wine tasted great. While in the tasting room we sampled: 2005 Chardonnay, 2004 Zinstar, 2003 Zinstar, 2007 ZinBlossoms, and Late Harvest Straw Wine. All of the wines were exceptional. My two favorites were definitely the Chardonnay and the 2003 Zinstar. While at the winery we were given a tour of the vineyards and the barrel room. We found out that the winery is 100% solar run, and that they use all oak barrels (French Oak) and no oak chips at all. The tour was given by one of the wine makers and was more than accommodating. At the end of the visit even those in our group who were not looking forward to going wine tasting were excited and now enjoy it. I would definitely recommend visiting Lucas Winery in Lodi to have a wonderful wine tasting experience and spend a wonderful afternoon. (http://www.lucaswinery.com/home.php).
(Written by guest author, Jessica Schmidt). Benziger is a beautiful property and receives much sunlight throughout the day! The tasting room is not right at the entrance as it is laid out to see other nature qualities to notice before the wine! However, when you step inside the tasting room it is well laid out and with plenty of exciting merchandise. The tasting bar is to your left as you walk down the few steps at the entrance. The counter tops and wine racks are all a dark cherry oak to make the focal point of the room. There at least three men standing there to greet you to indulge you for the tasting of the varietals.
It is an fun environment, the staff are very friendly, and the overall room is very bright. How much light they let in a tasting room I think has a great affect of how the moods and overall feelings of guests enjoy while tasting their wine. Their staff is very well educated and knowledge as far as suggestions of wine, certain types of pallets and foods.
The “Reserve” tasting room is to the right and has private scenery. In between are lots of fun collector gifts and souvenirs, including fun wine holders, Benziger apparel, and even different varieties of sauces ranging from little bottle of Petit Verdot to wine chocolate dipping sauce. The products they have to sell are priced reasonably and guests would actually want to buy them. I am going to buy a “barrel clock”!! I really enjoyed the merchandise because it gives you something to do while you taste the wine!