As a wine writer, there are times that you really have to work for your content: I send out ideas for articles on a regular basis and some are embraced, but many fall on deaf ears (or blank keyboards–whatever the electronic equivalent is).
There are other times when elements seem to align and it all falls into place seamlessly.
The Trione (pronounced tree-o-knee) 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 across three Sonoma County appellations (Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, Sonoma Coast), 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” and they selected fruit from only the top 3% of their vineyards for their own wines to make their 7,500 cases. Even though the winery is beautiful and impressive, the focal point of the Home Ranch is certainly the Old Stone Building, a 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).
I sat down with the ebullient Jess Poshepny Vallery, the Direct Sales and Marketing Manager at Trione to taste through the winery’s line-up:
2013 Trione Sauvignon Blanc: Retail $23. Tight nose with a bit of tropics coming thru. On the palate nice balance of fruit and acid. Mineral and melon finish. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2014 Trione Sauvignon Blanc: Retail $23. Much more aromatic than the ’13. Pineapple and guava on the nose, more viscous and rich. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2011 Trione Chardonnay: Retail $37. Lemon, cream, and oak. Fermented in barrel. 1/2 new French oak. On the palate really nice. Full but not stifling at all this is bright even at four years out. Excellent to Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2011 Trione Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: Retail $37. Classic Russian River Valley nose with blackberry and some earth. Bramble and blueberry on the palate. Nice and Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2010 Trione Syrah: Retail $32. Raspberry and cherry with some anise. Rich and round good fruit great acidity and some tannic grip. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2010 Trione Red Wine: Retail $50. 69% Cab. Cassis some anise. Great fruit initially with some drying at the mid-palate. Lengthy finish. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2011 Trione Henry’s Blend Geyserville Ranch: Retail $54. More of a 50-50 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot style (35% Cab, 34% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec). Made in honor of the founder, Henry Trione, who passed away this past February (2015), but this was already in production. Eventually, this wine will replace the red wine in the Trione lineup. Much more of a classic Bordeaux nose, with a bit of green pepper and olive combined with plum and blackberry. Well balanced with the fruit in check but active. Healthy mid-palate and a long lingering finish. Plenty of grip. No hurry to pop this. Excellent to Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2009 Trione Block 21 Cabernet Sauvignon: Retail $67. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon. Darker both in color and aromatics with black and blue berry, clove and some allspice. Already five years in, this is still a baby. The fruit is pushing its way forward but then gets pushed around by the tannins. Decant for a while, serve with a rib eye. Or better, wait a bit. 5-10 years easy. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2011 Trione Flatridge Zinfandel: Retail $37. When I see a flagship Zin, I immediately think: “Here comes the fruit” but this is not overly fruity at all. In fact it’s a bit closed on the nose, with hints (and just hints) of blackberry and black cherry. Briefly, this is my style of Zin as it is not overly done, but restrained and elegant. Make no mistake, you can still pick out the fruit and the wine has some impressive tannins, but this is not a fruit bomb lovers wine. This is a Pinot lovers wine. And I love Pinot. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2012 Trione Primitivo Home Ranch: Retail $34. I am not a geneticist, but I hear all the time that Primitivo and Zinfandel are the same variety, yet every time I taste them, there are clear differences. This is another case in point. This Primitivo is richer than the Zinfandel (while the reverse is usually true).. Tight on the nose but not on the palate–there is some big fruit here with mocha thrown in but only slightly. Chewy as well on the finish. Another wine in the Trione line-up that could use some time (which is a good thing). If you are the big Zin lover, this is more in your wheelhouse. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.