Lavender Field at Mantanzas Creek Winery
(Contributed by Erica Schreckenghaust) The Wine Sense Club members kicked off the spring semester with two special tastings with Judy and Bradford from Matanzas Creek Winery and Micah, Mike and Ryan from VJB Vineyards & Cellars.
About Matanzas Creek Winery
Matanzas Creek was founded in 1977, and was the first winery located in the Bennett Valley AVA. Bennett Valley is a very unique area as it is surrounded three beautiful mountains, Sonoma, Bennett and Taylor, creating a perfect pocket for fog and cool air that rolls in from the Pacific Ocean. The estate is filled with native grasses, whimsical olive trees and beautiful lavender fields.
Judy and Bradford led us through a tasting of four of their most popular wines accompanied with a sensory kit containing various spices, rose petals and more to help aid students taste descriptors during the sensory evaluation of the wines. They stressed the idea that there is never a wrong answer in what you taste in a wine since everyone’s palate is very different, allowing people to pick up certain flavors more than others. They poured their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, 2011 Merlot and the 2013 Pinot Noir.
About VJB Vineyards & Cellars
Micah, Mike and Ryan from VJB Cellars
VJB Vineyards & Cellars is located in Sonoma where the Belmonte Family opened their doors for the first time in 2003. The name is a tribute to the youngest son, Victor Joseph Belmonte, who died unexpectedly. They pride themselves on offering some of the most popular and most obscure Italian varietals. Their wines can be paired with a cheese and meat platter from their deli or homemade pizza in their outdoor pizza oven. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a nice sunny day.
We tasted three of their very popular wines: the 2013 Primitivo, 2013 Negro Amaro and the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon as a special treat, thanks to Mike.
Favorite Wines of the Evening
At the end of the evening, everyone voted on their two favorite wines. The winners were:
- Mantanzas Creek 2013 Pinot Noir – a blend of Clone 777 from Bennett Valley and the Calera Clone from Haarstad. Complex cherry and spice with a hint of rose petals.
- VJB 2013 Primitivo – the Italian cousin of Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley. Bright red fruit with aromas of strawberries and berry bramble.