I am a Fire Sign. Born in the heat of the summer, I am an August Leo — my planet is the Sun, my element, Fixed Fire. There is not one aspect of my personality that strays from a textbook description of my astrological birthplace. I am a culmination of those bright-light qualities as Zenaida Cellars Fire Sign is the accumulation of warm-weather grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel. The difference is while Leo’s can have a tendency towards the lavish, the dramatic, the extreme, this Fire Sign is full of grace, delicacy, and refinement.
This is just another story of me discovering Sonoma wines. There are just so many — the adventure will never end (that’s a good thing in my book). Balletto is a name I’ve hard around in my world of wine chatter, but have never had the opportunity to taste. So when I found this reasonably priced Chardonnay at the local grocery store, I thought — well, why not?
Located in the heart of downtown Healdsburg is a casual, fun, if not a bit hipster, tasting room: Banshee Wines. It’s basically a Sonoma Valley startup by three friends from various sectors of the wine industry. Well, their collective knowledge has cultivated some of the most notable new wines — new wines with an Old World refinement. Banshee Wines Marine Layer Pinot Noir displays such maturity, speaking exclusively of the vineyards’ time and place in Sonoma, that you’d think the winemaker had decades of traditional training.
During my last Sonoma wine country trip, I stayed right in the heart of downtown Healdsburg. With loads of restaurants, tasting rooms, and boutique shops, it’s an absolute delight for all the senses. But I’m telling you right now, if I lived in town, Banshee would be my hangout spot. And that seems to be the general consensus at this quirky, casual, albeit a bit hipster, tasting room and lounge in downtown Healdsburg.
And what can you expect from winemaker Noah Dorrance? Well today I bring you a Sonoma County Pinot Noir that fits right in with the cool-kid vibe of Banshee.
During my latest tour of Sonoma County wine country, I got a sneak peek at the new winery and tasting room for Flanagan Wines. They’re a boutique business that is certainly booming at the moment. After tasting a full line-up of their current releases, I can say from experience that this success is absolutely due to the fact that each bottle contains a specific vineyard’s story.
Once Upon A Time, there was a Merlot from Bennet Valley Vineyard…