Friday Rave: Passaggio Wines

When I was a kid, I always hated admitting that I did not know something or, even worse, that I was wrong. As I grew older, I realized there is a term for the people who hang on to that trait on into adulthood:


(Yes, there is perhaps a more appropriate term, that represents a bit of a void on the human posterior, but a while ago, I decided that I would only use language on this space that I would not mind having my two boys use, but after hearing my twelve year old using some choice language with his brother the other day, that might not be the best policy.)

I am not saying that I look forward to admitting my errors, or even that it does not still tweak me a bit when I find myself wallowing in ignorance, but I do now realize that being wrong is perhaps the most human of experiences and I try to embrace those moments (OK, endure).

Shortly after starting this blog, I started getting comments from Cindy Cosco, who had a blog of her own chronicling her experiences as she worked to open a tasting room to sell her own wines.

The beautiful passage way from the main square in Sonoma to the Passage tasting room.

The beautiful passage way from the main square in Sonoma to the Passage tasting room.

At the time, I really did not think much about it–don’t get me wrong, I loved reading her blog (she is a talented writer), but I honestly thought “How good can her wines actually be?” Her story is interesting, if not fascinating: born in West Virginia, she married rather young, had a son, and moved to Virginia where she had a 15 year career in law enforcement (the first eight of which were was a correctional officer).

Compelling story, but not your prototypical background for making wine.

I wanted her to succeed since we had built a bit of a “blogship” (I just made that word up, I think), but I did not have high hopes. After all, what does a cop know about making wine?

Well, this past Spring, I was once again out in Sonoma riding my bike and visiting a few wineries and I decided to stop in at Cindy’s tasting room in downtown Sonoma. Meeting another blogger for the first time is odd–at least it is for me. Cindy and I had traded several comments over the couple of years that we “knew” each other–she had read my writing, and I hers, but still, those first few moments are awkward. Do you hug? Shake hands? Give an uncomfortable wave and say “hi” in a pubescent voice-cracking manner?

The Passage tasting room has to be one of my favorites--well done, but far from ostentatious--walking in feels like being invited into somebody's home.

The Passage tasting room has to be one of my favorites–well done, but far from ostentatious–walking in feels like being invited into somebody’s home.

Well, after getting past the initial awkwardness, we sidled up to the bar and started tasting some wine.

I was nervous–I really wanted to wine to not suck (I don’t particularly like using that word, but it is apt for what I was thinking). I know that is terribly judgmental, but, well….

Well, they didn’t suck. At all. In fact, they were simply fantastic. From top to bottom, Passaggio wines are impressive, and I am happy to admit that…

…I was wrong.

A former cop can make wine, and great wine at that. Clearly Cindy is very passionate about what she does and it shows in her wines. I do not hesitate for a second recommending her wines, they were all fabulous. If you see “Passaggio” on the label (and I must say that her new labels are great–a big improvement over previous vintages), buy it–you will not regret it.
2012 Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay: Retail $30. All the fruit comes from Lodi, but uses the “California” Appellation (put “Lodi” on the label Cindy!). Green apple and lemon with other tropical notes. Very nice acidity thru the mid-palate with minerality on the finish. Yummy and Outstanding. 89-91 Points.

2013 Passaggio Sauvignon Blanc: Retail $28. Floral nose with some lime, lemon and stone fruit. Bright, fresh, and austere all at once. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.

2014 Passaggio “Passion Blend” White Table Wine: Interesting blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Grigio, 20% Roussanne: what Cindy “had left lying around.”  Amazing how the Roussanne takes over as it coats the mouth with melon fruit and a chalky minerality. I have never seen these three varieties blended together, but this is really wonderful. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.

I bought two of these--should have bought more....

I bought two of these–should have bought more….

2014 Passaggio Barbera Rosé Lodi: $26. Cindy bought the fruit from a residential home in Lodi with a hidden vineyard in the back. She wanted to make a red but Barbera is naturally very acidic and needs a lot of sugar to convert into alcohol to balance out the acidity. She was looking to get at least 28 Brix, but early on, she realized it was not going to make it. So she decided to make it into a rosé. Half neutral oak, the rest in stainless steel. An interesting pale orange color with melon and a hint of anise on the nose. Unique is thrown around a lot in wine and other arenas but this is as close to it as I have seen in a while. This is a wine I would love to see in a year or two, but I doubt that any will last that long. There is something about this wine I can’t put my finger on, but it is certainly not a “typical” rosé–this is a wine geek type of rosé, and that is a good thing. Outstanding. 91-93 Points now, but this is likely to change a lot in both the short and long term.

2014 Passaggio Mourvèdre Rosé: Retail $26. More red berry and fruity than the Barbera–a more traditional style of rosé. Having said that, those berries and great balance come thru on the palate, pushing this near the top of the “best rosés I have had in a while” list. This is Outstanding, but I could not stop thinking about that Barbera rosé. 90-92 Points.

FullSizeRender2014 Passaggio “Rose Colored Glasses”: $25. 100% Tempranillo. Anybody that makes two rosés is a champion in my book, and Cindy makes three. Three dry rosés? Are you kidding me? This is perhaps the most traditional of the three with a sweeter nose of strawberry and watermelon and rounder on the palate. Very Nice, Outstanding even. 89-91 Points.

2011 Passaggio Napa Pinot Noir: Retail $46. Just from the other side of Carneros (Cindy lamented the fact that even though this is just barely across the line, having to call this a “Napa” Pinot as compared to a “Carneros” wine makes a huge difference in the market [a Pinot from Carneros is much more marketable than one from Napa]). Cindy uses all neutral oak on all her Reds, which adds a bit of depth without the heavy wood. Big fruit of cherry and spice, but balanced with a nice finish. I normally do not lean toward this type of Pinot, but this is very nice. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.

2013 Passaggio Pinot Noir Sonoma County: Retail $46. Bigger fruit but perhaps more complex than the Napa Pinot, but similar in that the fruit comes from just across the appellation line demarcating the Russian River Valley. Thus, this has to be called Sonoma County. More cherry here, and equally Outstanding. 91-93 Points.

By the way leaving? It was definitely a hug....

By the way leaving? It was definitely a hug….



About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Barbera, Chardonnay, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Friday Rave: Passaggio Wines

  1. Hey there

    I am completely flattered and humbled by your reviews and tasting notes of my wines. It was a pleasure finally meeting you after all this time following your blog. What a great friendship! I am sure we will see each other again soon…

    BTW – I have been “wrong” many times in my lifetime – LOL

    And I love the new word “blogship”



    Liked by 5 people

  2. Nice! I’m not familiar with her wines, but will definitely check them out when I’m in Sonoma next week. Thanks for the tip Jeff!


  3. Cindy’s wines sound great. I have been following her for a while; I look forward to tasting them some day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope to meet you someday Michelle…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My wife is a huge fan of dry roses (OK, I’m not exactly afraid to put them back either), she’d hit the floor if she could taste three in one place! We’ll keep this place on the radar next time.



  6. Beth says:

    Told you so, Jeff! I love when I’m right! 😉


  7. I’m going to walk on over to meet Cindy, buy that Passion Blend and give her a hug. I’ll leave the awkward voice cracking to you! Nice post xoxo🍷😘


  8. mistermuse says:

    A posting such as this is an example of why I follow your blog, even though I’m not a big wine aficionado. I simply enjoy your good writing and storytelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nicely done!!!!!!!


  10. Pingback: Balletto 2014 Rosé « Fifty Shades of Wine

  11. chef mimi says:

    Great post. And great picture!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This post made me smile! I’m so happy for all around! (noobie here, but learning and learning) even if not drinking it much yet!


  13. Hi anotherfoodieblogger – glad you’re here! Cheers!!


  14. Pingback: My June Sips | Traveling Wine Chick

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