Trione treat

A box of samples from Trione Winery have been taunting me for the two-plus months they’ve been sitting on my shelf. The array of mini sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, syrah and more has been not-so-patiently waiting for me to get around to tasting them. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, but you don’t just drink a sample of $35 wine for the fun of it – it has to be savored. And who has time to savor anything these days?

Who would have thought that my daughter having the flu would present me with an occasion to savor? She slept all day, only waking when I ventured beyond the confines of our living room and kitchen – her Spidey Sense knows when I break the 20-foot barrier. Confined to the living quarters closest to her while she slept off her fever, I had a chance to try a new, rather complicated dinner recipe that I suspected would pair perfectly with the Trione Pinot Noir.

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I served the pinot with flank steak roulade – beef rolled with steamed spinach, red onion, feta cheese, coriander and pepper. A green salad with more feta, almonds and basil vinaigrette shared the limelight with creamy garlic rice.

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The pepper and coriander on the meat did not make the wine sing as I thought it might, but oh, the feta made it divine. The creaminess of the cheese crumbles played up the silky quality of the pinot, as did the garlic rice.

The Russian River Valley red is worth every penny if your budget allows. It’s an almost herbal pinot with the smoothest smoke and wood flavors. I’ve found that a really good pinot noir is hard to describe because it abounds with subtlety. There’s fruit and herbs and a touch of green pepper, but each is so perfectly intertwined with the next that it’s a taster’s challenge to single them out.

While subtlety is a challenge to the simple taster like me, it’s what the Trione family has spent three decades perfecting. They have grown some of the best grapes in the Sonoma region, providing other winemakers with their complex grapes, and in 2005 they decided to use those grapes themselves under their eponymous label.

The Trione varietals are small-batch productions, using only the best 3 percent of their grape harvest. The winemaking is a family affair, with three generations overseeing production and management.

While this label is certainly out of my standard weeknight budget, it’s a treat to taste the best from a family that only produces the best. The winery is located in Alexander Valley and the tasting room and picnic area is open to the public Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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