Last wine country post, this time around! Over the course of a few days in Sonoma County, we also spent a day in Napa Valley, starting with some wine tasting at Chateau Montelena and Jessup Cellars, followed by a stop in St. Helena for a private tasting at Handwritten.
Handwritten’s tasting room is a sweet little cottage right on the main road in St. Helena, within walking distance to other tasting rooms and restaurants.
The afternoon was warm, with gorgeous blazing sunshine, but the tasting room in Handwritten was cool and comfortable, nicely set up for our tasting, which included six wines. We were greeted by Erin, who ended up being a delight, in addition to really knowing about and loving Handwritten’s wines.
We tasted the following wines:
Dark, juicy berry notes, along with a nice earthiness and a little bit of spice made this Pinot Noir a hit with both of us. This Pinot is bigger and bolder than most of the Russian River Valley Pinots that I love, which just made it a little extra special.
2009 Handwritten Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Aged for 22 month in oak, this Cabernet Sauvignon is dark, chewy, and full of silky smooth black cherry flavor, but also nicely balanced and not overly tannic like some Cabs can be.
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (a favorite!), and Malbec was definitely one of the most memorable reds we tasted in our travels. Oak, vanilla, and fruit all married together with a little bit of earthiness made for a wine that had a lot going on as it made its way across our palates.
2009 Handwritten Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap
My scribbly tasting notes for this wine say “cherry pie, luscious, elegant”. This rich Cab would stand up to a hearty steak dinner in the winter time.
Being that I have been on a Chardonnay kick, the 2011 Carneros Chardonnay was a favorite. It was bright and lemony but also had notes of vanilla and toast from the oak-ageing. Handwritten Chardonnay is definitely a new favorite.
Surprisingly, though I don’t always love sweet wines, I also fell head-over-heels for the Late Harvest Chardonnay. It’s definitely dessert in a glass, with a light syrupy mouthfeel and the perfect amount of sweetness, balanced by some of the same acidity from the Chardonnay.
Our leisurely afternoon of wine tasting at Handwritten was perfect, and we enjoyed every second, before we headed out for lunch at Pizzeria Tra Vigne.
Many thanks to Erin and the Handwritten team for hosting us and introducing us to their beautiful wines!