Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bartholomew Park Winery

Here is a winery that provides beautiful scenery and organic grapes, with entertaining and informative wine pourers behind the counter. It is the wines; however, that make Bartholomew Park a must stop. Nestled in the Mayacamas Mountains of Sonoma, just east of the town of Sonoma, the vineyards behind the elegant chateau are organic-certified. In the past the land supported a nudist colony with celebrants stretched out naked under the sun, but now only the grapes have that opportunity. I did look in vain for before and after images of the site.

The special attention given to the land and the artisan wine making of small production wines should command high prices, but Bartholomew Park has somehow managed to keep the cost within reason. Good news, as the wines are well-crafted, complex, balanced, but still very approachable. Approachable is a fancy way of saying, anyone would enjoy these wines. Besides the estate vineyards surrounding the chateau, two other Sonoma vineyards lie at 700 feet, which is above the fog line, and contribute good fruit for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot-based wines.

The 2008 Bartholomew Park Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent food wine with good acidity and fruit-forward flavors of citrus and tropical fruit. The 2006 Bartholomew Park Syrah spreads black cherry and blueberry across the palate with a meaty enticing mouthfeel. The 2006 Bartholomew Park Zinfandel has flavors that harkens back to the days of my early explorations of Sonoma Zins. This vineyard, founded by Agoston Haraszthy in the late 1850s, has a substantial pedigree, being one of the first sites at which the Zinfandel grape was planted. As it happens, class still tells.

The 2005 Desnudos Vineyard Merlot is a combination of two blocks of grapes that provide a complex lush wine with silky tannins, dark fruit, and dark chocolate. At $32 I’d rate this one a best buy, along with the 2005 Kasper Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon at $40. The Cab comes on strong with blackberry and other dark fruit, and notes of espresso with a dollop of cocoa. Gee, I must have been really hungry when I wrote that description.

The limited production of these quality wines means you’ll have to go online to order them, but you will love what the brown truck delivers to your door. Salud!

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