September 11 , 2006 - Joanne
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
"Sonoma's Next Generation Winemaker Dinner"
April 24, 2006

Wells Guthrie of Copain
Eric Sussman of Radio-Coteau
Alex Davis of Porter Creek
Wine Director, Geoff Kruth, led the discussion, as each winemaker talked a bit about their wines and wine making style. Here's Joanne's notes:

Notes on Copain wine-making:
They use whole-cluster Fermentation. They admit that Pinot Noir is still difficult for them.

Notes on Radio-Coteau wine-making:
First vintage was 2002. W of 101 North of SF vineyards (coastal) “County Line” clones from champagne. Whole cluster pressed and they use wild yeast. They use as natural a process as possible. They don’t own any land.

Notes on Porter Creek wine-making:
They make about 3000 cases, it's a family run winery. Their first vintage was 1982. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are their biodynamically grown wines; other varietals come from purchased fruit (and are not biodynamic). They try and make as pure an expression of vineyard site, choosing minerality to show rather than new oak. Alex’s favorite vineyard is Les Amoureuse in Burgundy.

The wines were paired with a special menu prepared by the Farmhouse Inn restaurant's Steve Litke. We loved the food - and returned shortly after to review the restaurant. Read our review here.

Sonocino County Line Rose 2005 I use a rating scale of 0 - (whatever#) Bottles I Would Purchase. For those with less than a 3 bottle score, I will not go out of my way to seek out. - Jack

2005 Sonocino County Line Rosé Anderson Valley
(Made by Eric Sussman of Radio-Coteau) Peachy/pink in color. Nose of fresh bread and hints of alpine strawberry. Very clean finish with almost a hard acidity. Good fruit.  2

2004 Copain Rousanne James Berry Vyd Paso Robles
Fresh clean nose. Clean center. Roundness on finish. Minerals and lemons in center. (Jack thinks this wine needs a lot more time.) 2-3

2003 Porter Creek Chardonnay Georges Hill Vyd Russian River Valley
This is one delicious chardonnay. Good clarity with a great floral fresh nose – almost a slight sweetness on the nose. Clean center. Shale and minerals on center. Dry and clean. Very balanced. May not have the acids for a long haul. Drink now – 5 years. (A recently drunk bottled was superior because it had a lot of opening time) This is a tremendous value at $24. 6

Paired with: Chilled Pea Soup, Spring Gulf prawns salad, micro greens garnish.
Good, a bit thin – the micro greens were crisp. Prawns were a nice choice - they did not overpower the delicacy of the soup.
2003 Porter Creek Pinot Noir Fiona Hill Russian River Valley
Nose of roses and minerals. Almost fresh raw meat as well – and almost red licorice..  Dry and tannic fruity center. Very balanced clean lean style. Most elegant of the three. 3-5

2004 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir Alberigi Russian River Valley
The vineyard is on Vine Hill Rd. Cherry Jam on nose. Very berry. Rich fruit in center with hints of fresh green leaved. Almost a thin finish but long. With a trace of bitterness. The mid notes have a powdery element to them. 3-4+

2004 Copain Pinot Noir Kiser Vyd En Haut Anderson Valley
Hard medicinal nose, later an antique rose element on the nose. Very closed center. Chalky center. Almost a creamy finish. 2-3

Paired with: Wild Mushroom and Squab Terrine, golden potato, fava bean and wild ramp vinaigrette
Beautifully made and presented. Delicious fresh ingredients well showcased. Mâche on the side was perfect. I wish this was on their regular menu! Divine.
2002 Porter Creek Syrah Timbervine Ranch Russian River Valley
Has 10% Viognier blended in which softens the tannins and opens up the fruit. Meaty nose of earth and blood. Very clean minerally center with soft tannins on the finish. 3?

2003 Copain Syrah Hawks Butte Yorkville Highlands

Nose of tart blueberries – later an intense nose of green olives. Clean center. Tiny bit of bitterness on the finish. The green olive-y nose is almost weird – after some discussions I gathered it might come from the stems. 6+

2004 Radio-Coteau Syrah Cherry Camp Sonoma Coast

This was the first vintage from Cherry Camp – 50 days on skins. Berries and mint on nose. Later thyme or winter savory on nose. Thick concentrated finish – but a great clean finish. Young – closed. Even later on – coffee and chocolate on the nose. 2-4?

Paired with: Braised Short Ribs, root vegetable spring onion puree, baby carrots and turnips, Sausalito Springs watercress
Fabulous flavor. Marrow in the sauce. Meat falling off the bone. Amazing dish – you want to lick the plate and steal your friends'. Accompaniments included an al dente carrot, nice watercress and half white turnip – nice additions but the beef was the star, served with a root vegetable puree ring around it.

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