Buehler Vineyards

I knew that my friend Jackie and I were in for an interesting experience when I called Buehler Vineyards to schedule a tasting and was told there was a map to their winery on their website.   In the age of Google Maps and GPS, I was a bit surprised!   And when I saw the map, I was definitely intrigued (yet scared at the same time) it was a PDF that resembled a treasure map.   At the start of our journey to Buehler, I joked that there better be a treasure at the end… in the form of delicious wine!

The drive to the winery was gorgeous, and I was not even annoyed that I made 3 wrong turns.   I was concerned that we were late for our appointment, but the woman who answered the phone did not sound surprised at all that we got lost and steered us in the right direction.   The property is absolutely stunning, with amazing views.  Definitely a far cry from the tasting rooms in the more congested area of Highway 29.   The owner, John Buehler, took us on a tour of the property/winery and provided us with interesting historical facts about the area.   If you visit, be sure to ask him the real story behind Two Buck Chuck!

And now for the wine.   My favorite part, of course  :-)   The standouts for me were the Chardonnay and Cabernet.   Their Chardonnay ($16/bottle)  is sourced from the Russian River Valley so it is not the very ripe, high alcohol Chardonnay you’d come to expect from the Napa area.   The fruit definitely shines through, especially the citrus notes.   The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the wine that is the easiest to find in wine shops and restaurants, and I’ve definitely had the ’05 by the glass at a wine bar.   The 2007 is pouring very nicely and will age well – a bargain at $25/bottle for a Napa Cabernet!   John also poured us the 2007 Papa’s Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon, which was big, bold and the standout of the group.   The production on this one is limited as it is made from old vines, so the $45/bottle price was understandable – many other Napa wineries charge much more for their Reserve Cabernet.

I recommend this winery to anyone who doesn’t mind driving a bit out of the way… and if you would rather enjoy beautiful scenery and a secluded environment over the hustle and bustle of the wineries on Highway 29.   Be sure to call ahead for an appointment, and allow extra time to get there :-)


2007 Kokomo Zinfandel Sonoma County

When I buy a bottle of wine, I like to buy certain varietals from very specific regions.   When a wine bottle label just says “California”, I have no idea where in California the grapes are grown… California is a huge state!   So while I love the song Kokomo – and the Beach Boys – the fact that the label just said “Sonoma County” left me wondering “Dry Creek?   Russian River?   Alexander Valley?”   This zin has great aromas…   some clove, black pepper, and juicy cherry.   The mouthfeel was a bit thin for my liking – I prefer a burst of flavor.   The finish also left more to be desired.   I could taste the alcohol and always prefer a wine where the fruit masks most of the alcohol.   I would expect this to be a $8 bottle rather than $18.



2008 Gandia Fusta Nova Moscatel

Moscatel is made from the Muscat grape, but this wine is made in a different style than the Barefoot Moscato (which is yummy!) or a Moscato D’Asti (also delicious!).   It is heavier/thicker, with more honey notes.   This had lots of the same characteristics of a Sauternes or late harvest Chardonnay.   Sugared lemon, honey, and fresh cut flowers on the nose, with some acidity on the midpalate and a honeyed finish.   I liked the balance of citrusy notes and honey… very interesting.   This wine would be awesome with the right stinky cheese…

$10.00/bottle @ Whole Foods