Thursday, April 26, 2012

Story Winery - Wine 101

A big thank you to Margaret of Nanny Goats in Panties for arranging this wine tasting class for us bloggers.  This class was held at Story Winery up Amador County in the Shenandoah Valley region.
A little background on the winery.  As you know the Shenandoah Valley in California is a premier wine growing region in Amador County.  The Story family first built the winery in 1973 among the old vine Zinfadel and Mission vineyards.  This old vines are said to date back to the turn of the century.  In 1992 Bruce and Jan Tichenor purchased the winery and have produced high quality wines over the past years.  The farming method used is called "Dry-farmed" where the only water these vines get is from the rainfall. The iron rich decomposed granite soil, the dry farming the wide fluctuation in temperatures between day and night have made Story Winery a top producer in Zinfadel, Sangiovese, Primitivo and Barbera.  Soon the winery will also be certified Organic.
The day of the tasting was a hot one and it was nice to go into the barrel room for the class where it was nice and cool.  The Assistant wine maker, Brian Reid lead the class after an introduction about the winery from Jan and Cinde.
Brian Reid and Jan Tichenor
After the introduction we were lead out to the vineyard to learn about their dry farm method and a little history behind these old vines.  We also learned how the vines are pruned and the soil, rainfall and temperature all affect the growth and quality of the vines and grapes.
There was a short lesson on wine making. Picking (all done by hand) and processing the fruit, crushing the juice from the fruit and fermenting the wine in stainless steel or oak vats.  After fermentation the wine is aged in barrels on the racks and at the optimum time the wine is bottled.
stainless steel vats
Now the fun starts.  We were given a glass of  the 2009 Chenin Blanc.  Lesson: Sight-color, clarity, Smell-swirl the wine in the glass to incorporate air into the wine.  Stick your nose it and take a big whiff.  What do you smell? Vanilla, fruit etc.  Taste-take a sip and let the wine slide across your tongue and note the finish.
After the white, we tasted the 09 Mission Zin., 09 Creekside Zin., 08 Hilltop Zin and the Picnic Hill.  I guess ideally you take a taste and spit out the rest...don't think too many of us did that, what a waste of good wine.
Brian was great, he was relaxed and humorous and informative without being stuffy about wine tasting.  He showed us the right way to spit wine, even if he did miss the spittoon, sort of.  But that's what made this class fun.  The light hearted nature of it.  Basic lesson.. drink the kind of wine you like with what ever kind of food.
After the lesson we went out to the picnic and tasting room area and were greeted by the beautiful view of the valley.   We even got a certificate of completion!
Story Winery
10525 Bell Rd
Plymouth CA  95669


Unknown said...

Great post, Eileen. You know way more about what you're talking about than I do. It was great to see you and meet your husband.

Ally said...

Looks like a fun time!

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