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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sunday in Sonoma ~ Austrailia in Sonoma Valley?

Yesterday( well in the blog posts) we were at Valley Of The Moon Winery...what a lovely setting, and pretty good wine as well. Soon though, maps were pulled out, coupons ( we had free tasting coupons remember?) gone over and GPS was programed. We were off to Loxton Cellars in Glen Ellen, just one of the many burbs of the Sonoma Valley.

As were were to find out , being tipped off in the drive in when we saw a sign professing it was a platypus and gator crossing, Chris Loxton is a transplant from Australia. The wine maker is focused on Syrah & Zinfandel, and he does both very well. Later we were to find out, over a piece of dark chocolate, that he also does Port very well ( and indeed a bottle did go home with me!) .

"It is the intent of Loxton Cellars to be a "reference point" producer of Syrah and Zinfandel. This focus reflects the interests and passion of the owner/winemaker, Chris Loxton, an Australian brought up on a Shiraz vineyard in South Australia, but now living in California where Zinfandel is the adopted grape.
The aim is to produce balanced and complex wines with a sense of origin, reflecting unique vineyard sites capable of producing the exceptional fruit necessary for outstanding wines." * From the website

We started off with a 2008 Chardonnay-Hawk Hill Vineyard (Russian River) A lovely slightly crisp blending of  pineapple, lemon and even a hint of green apple, with a nice creamy finish brought on by just enough of a new oak barreling time.

Next was a 2008 Zinfandel- Hillside Vineyards ( Sonoma County) A 100% Zin, not a blend, the raspberry and deep dark fruits such as raisin and plums swirled pleasantly around my taste buds, I loved that there was a higher mouth moisture feel , meaning the tannins were not too high...I truly dislike when it feels as if my mouth is left as dry as a mouthful of cotton balls.

Third in line was a 2007 Syrah- Parmalee Hill Vineyard ( Sonoma Valley) With grapes from the same area that the Chardonnay grapes are harvested , there was high hope for a good sampling of one of my favorite varietals as well as my husbands...we were not disappointed. I could taste the complex blend of coco, raspberries and other dark berries was not a typical what often is called a "fruit bomb" but instead was very well balanced with the tannins to let just enough of the fruit come forward and not overwhelm.

The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon -McGraw Vineyard ( Sonoma Valley) Was so very smooth, at least in my opinion. The tasting notes mention Cassis fruit and "fine persistent tannins" . I found it well balanced, wonderful to perhaps have with a steak and potato dinner or a very rich chocolate cake.

They slipped in a Late Harvest Zin...the notes I took were ' very strong cherry, black berry and has a finishing kick' ...meaning it started off sweet, rich and decadent and in the end had a slight warming effect that was very pleasant indeed!

My favorite, and what I mentioned I took home, was the 2008 Port ( Sonoma Valley) This was made entirely of Syrah ,the wine maker from what we were told blended different Syrah grapes coming from different soil types..." dry, rocky soils give the wine power and structure while the deeper soil give the wine fruit and richness..." The port was fortified with wine as opposed to Brandy. I am a HUGE Port /Fortified Wine lover. I have been a fan for years, and I have had some just ok offerings, and when the server promised that this was "really good" it was a wait and see attitude...she was right and it was and we all really enjoyed it and it now resides in our wine fridge waiting for a perfect time to open it up and enjoy.

We really enjoyed the near hour we spent at Loxton, and I feel at some point we shall return to see what the wine maker has come up with next.The prices range from 25.00 to 30.00 and is about average for a Napa/Sonoma offering.  If you are in the Sonoma Valley I suggest you visit, if you can not make it there, you can still order from them...all info is included on this blog that leads you to the web site.

The road in...a bit dusty, but with promises to cure a parched soul, it is worth it!

The entrance is unassuming...our favorite kind. The larger, fancier wineries are indeed lovely, but the best wines are often found in such places as this!!

The surrounding grounds are lovely, and peaceful. Roses in shades of pink, orange and yellow blended in one perfume the warm air, and the distant sounds of birds can be heard.

The surrounding land is filled with grapevines and golden fields of plowed grasses. The hills surrounded us, covered in lush greenery, off set by the prefect blue sky.

Inside, rather like m2 in Lodi, we were surrounded with barrels and boxes and a casual environment, where wine making comes first, and glitz and glam are an afterthought, if one at all.

Hubby, our friends Tim & Robbie get started without me, while I was busy snapping pictures and touching up my pout.

Cheers from Loxton Cellars !
Pop over tomorrow and see where we went next! 


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