Right before the holidays I was sent the following email:
We would like to send you a holiday gift of Trione wines! Feel free to review them or just enjoy them, we have no expectations. If you would send me your shipping address that would be wonderful.
Thank you and I wish you Happy Holidays from Trione Winery!
I followed up (of course) by sending them my address and they promptly let me know that they do not ship to Pennsylvania (of course). Nor do they ship to New Jersey (of course), which is right across the bridge, but a world away in many aspects. What followed was a rather humorous interchange of a) where Trione would ship and b) where we would be over the course of the next several months. You can read more about that package and the eventual tasting notes HERE.
When my wife
and I decided that we would once again be spending Spring Break out with my in-laws in Northern California (I refuse to call it the “Bay Area” since although they live only about 60 miles from the San Francisco Bay geographically, it would take the better part of two hours to ever drive there due to traffic. Culturally, the town where my in-laws live might as well be the redneck capital of the world–the only real place to eat out is In-n-Out Burger.), I knew I would try and visit the winery even though I had not yet received the package from Trione.
ditched left the boys with their grand-parents, we decided to stay in Napa for our night of blissful freedom. Trione was a bit of a trek, therefore, since it is up in the Northern part of Sonoma Valley, in Geysersville. I thought it would end up taking about 45 minutes.
When we finally pulled into the winery (after an hour and a half on the road), we were immediately struck by the large stone building with the name of the winery on the side. Just next door looked like to be the main winery building, as people were scurrying in and out on the cold, damp morning. I carefully parked my father-in-law’s car and we picked our way through the rain drops and into the tasting room.
We went in looking for “Lori”, the person behind all the emails, and the main reason why we were even there. I engaged the cute, young, perky woman behind the counter, who turned out to be none other than Lori herself. I was a bit taken aback since I was envisioning someone, well, older. I am not quite sure why, but I imagine it was a combination of the professional way she presented herself in the emails and the fact that most wineries have someone more “experienced” manage their outreach.
OK, I am an ageist jerk.
Lori turned out to be absolutely perfect: Her boundless energy and impressive knowledge would stand up to even the most indefatigable visitor. She proceeded to lead us through a bevy of wines all while giving us some background on the winery.
We started off with a few Sauvignon Blancs: The 2009 ($22) was tart but also had some heft and a great finish (88-90 Points). The 2010 ($23) used a different yeast strain and was more new world in its orientation, resulting in a lighter style (86-88 Points). Last, the 2011 (Not yet released) had still a third yeast program and was considerably brighter and grassy (87-89 Points).
Moving on to Chardonnay, the 2008 ($30) clearly saw some oak and went through 100% malolactic fermentation, but it certainly did not seem that way as there was still a nice bright tang on the finish (87-89 Points). The 2009 ($30) was even brighter still and could benefit from a little more time in the bottle.
Lori informed us that the Trione family has been in the wine business for years: they are one of the largest land owners in Sonoma, with about 700 acres under vine, and originally all the fruit was sold off to various wineries. In 2005, the Trione family decided that it was time to get into the wine production business. They built a magnificent facility at what they called the “Home Ranch” (where we were currently standing) and they selected fruit from only the top 3% of their vineyards for their own wines. Even though the winery is beautiful and impressive, the focal point of the Home Ranch is certainly the Old Stone Building, an historic landmark that the Triones restored. It was originally a winery, but now serves as an event center for private parties (think “ideal wedding spot” you lovebirds).
Moving on to the reds, there was but one Pinot, and given my proclivity for the finest of all varieties, I was certainly honed in. The fruit for the 2009 ($37) came from the Russian River Valley and it had that classic RRV fruit and acidity. Excellent balance (89-91 Points).
Next up were three vintages of Syrah, starting with the 2006 ($32) that they pulled for us from their library. Lori popped and poured, and the wine was a bit shy initially. But after a few swirls in the glass, it really opened up on the palate. Despite being seven years old already, this wine has a lot of time ahead of it (90-92 Points). The 2007 ($32) was not as expressive on the nose or palate as the ’06 but it had perhaps a slightly better finish (88-90 Points). The 2008 ($32) seemed to be a bit of a step back, but some additional time in the bottle might allow for better integration as the acidity seems a bit out of balance (85-87 Points).
Last, we moved on to some bigger reds, which is not really my thing, but Trione produces some really nice wines at that end of the spectrum. First was the 2008 “Red wine” ($48), a blend of all five Bordeaux varieties (53% Cabernet Sauvignon 20% Merlot and smatterings of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot): great fruit and body throughout, this wine is great right now, but could also sit for another 3-5 years easily (91-93 Points).
The 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($67) is 85% Cab with Merlot and splashes of the other 3. Big red fruit and a bit light on tannin, this wine is for consuming now–not sure it will benefit from any more time in the bottle (86-88 Points).
While the ’08 was a fruity wine for now, the 2006 could lie down for another 5-10 years easily. It has all the fruit of the ’08 but much more back end structure. I think it needs at least a bit more time but it is fantastic (91-93 Points).
The last wine we tried was the 2010 Primitivo (Only available through the winery). Primitivo is a very close relative of Zinfandel (some say they are the same, but they are actually different clones). This wine had big expressive fruit and a just a hint of sweetness. It was really big, but the bottle had been open for some time. Lori then opened a fresh bottle and it was much more refined and restrained–a truly interesting and captivating wine in both iterations (89-91 Points).
Lori then led us on a tour of the facility which was impressive and eventually over to the Old Stone Building, which was quite interesting. We ended up buying a few bottles (the 2006 Syrah and the Primitivo) and vowed to be back on our next trip out to the in-laws.
Many thanks to all the people at Trione, but particularly Lori, who was a fantastic host!