Good places to visit: A Grand Tasting and Classy Dinner in Wine Country #WBC09

Two posts from our Wine Bloggers Conference tasting experience, two stellar vineyards (Peju and Spring Mountain), and off the bus we go…

Next stop: Quintessa Winery for a grand tasting

We arrive on the scene, and again we’re greeted by friendly folks handing out Sauvignon Blanc. We could get used to this treatment! The 2008 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc (92% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Musque, and 8% Semillon) tasted fantastic in the hot sun. All of the WBC busses have connected at Quintessa. After trading stories and catching up with friends, we were all guided down some stairs into the sleek facilities described as “a winemakers winery.”“The design facilitates a gravity-flow process and a state-of-the-art winery specifically tailored with fermenters and tanks sized to match the diverse blocks in the Quintessa vineyard.” (source: quintessa.com)

Numerous tasting tables with a various wines and winemakers lined the aisles of stainless steel fermenters. We were able to walk around, check the place out, and periodically stop at any table to taste some great wine.After 3 spots, it was time to break up the pack again and head to dinner at our last winery of the day. Our bus was lucky enough to arrive at Franciscan Vineyards.

1) Beautiful spot - check.
2) Greeted with wine at the entrance - check.
3) A chef named Boris - check.


Our dinner at Franciscan Vineyards was hosted by winemakers Jay Turnipseed, Aaron Potts, Efrain Barragan, and Cathy Corison. Jay was seated at our table and we got to talk about wine, UC Davis, and the winemaking process. The food was delicious thanks to a chef named Boris. We were treated to a Dungeness Crab, Endive, Avacado Salad, and Grilled NY Strip Steak.

Our dishes were flanked with wine glasses filled with:2006 Franciscan Cuvee Sauvage
2005 Fanciscan Magnificat
2006 Blackbird Illustration
2006 Blackbird Arise
2005 Bourassa Vineyard Reserve Symphony3
2006 Bourassa Reserve Petite Syrah (my favorite in the bunch)
2005 Corison Cabernet

Then Boris showed us the way to individual cupcakes and coffee.
This was crazy good.Franciscan Winery provided a memorable finish to a great day in wine country.

Some go to food and wine pairings for the wines listed above:Crab (or seafood on salad): 2006 Franciscan Cuvee Sauvage or another crisp Chardonnay

NY Strip Steak: 2006 Blackbird Arise or another fruit-forward MerlotChocolate Cupcake: 2005 Corison Cabernet

Vanilla Cupcake: Again, the 2006 Franciscan Cuvee Sauvage or another crisp Chardonnay
Jim from Hello Vino