Friday, October 5, 2012

Hendry Winery

One of the wineries we were fortunate enough to tour was the Hendry Ranch Winery ( just west of Napa.  Our neighbors recommended this winery to us and thought I would be interested in the particle accelerator owner and partner.  They were right!  The sign said by appointment only, but we were lucky and our timing was right to be able to join one of the tours for the day.  (if you go… please make sure to get an appointment or you will probably be turned away.)

We were fortunate that it was in the middle of the winemaking season,  so we were able to see the entire process from the large 1 ton crates of grapes all the way through to the final product.   We started the tour with the de-stemming machine that takes the grapes off the stems. 

Next we were able to taste the initial press after the first fermentation ( this was the process that I watched at Pacific Star,  but I never asked for a taste of the fresh wine at this stage)  next we were able to taste some of the fresh crushed juice.  This is some of the sweetest juice I have ever tasted.  Jeff continued the tour telling us every step of the process and allowing us to taste various wines in various stages of development.  The tour was one of the best and most enjoyable tours I have been on anywhere.  Jeff showed a tremendous enthusiasm and pride in what they have created in this winery.


Next was the tasting part of the tour.  By this point I had been to many wineries across the 5 regions so far,  and nothing compared to the information presented as we tasted the various wines.  He talked about the chemical compositions of the various wines and parings with food.   He also did a little experiment with us so that we could understand what a really good Cabernet was and why it needed to be pared with a really good and fatty steak, like prime rib.  He had us dip a cracker in good olive oil.  Then we smelled and tasted the wine by itself.  It was very tannic.  Then he had us eat the cracker (with olive oil) and then taste the wine again.  And it was incredible!  The fat softened the tannins and the mixture created a sensation I had never tasted with wine.  It almost made you melt, it was so good.


We finished by purchasing a number of bottles and then we fixed a little lunch and ate at one of the picnic tables overlooking the vineyard.  The entire staff was great and told us just to take our time and enjoy.  What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.  Check out my website for even more pictures of our tour.

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