Remember the phrase, “Good things come in small packages”? Never was that more true than at the Porter Creek Vineyards and Winery. A big player in the bio-dynamic agriculture business and a producer of really big wines, this tiny winery plays way above its weight.
Midway into our day of wine tasting tour with Cliff and Katie, we had already completed a nice tasting at Rochioli Vineyards and Winery. We were excited to experience a tasting at Porter Creek based on all the wonderful things we had heard. We walked up the hill from the parking lot and discovered that we were literally late to the party. And what a party it was!
As soon as we entered I was ready to leave. The small tasting room was elbow-to-elbow full. I didn’t see any way we were going to be able to have a positive tasting experience. Then we met Paul. Paul ran the tasting room like his own private party. He seemed to know everyone, greeting Cliff and Katie by name and remarking on Cliff’s latest CD (Cliff is a pretty big deal in the jazz trumpet world). All my worries evaporated. This was going to be great!
The tasting room was jovial and accommodating. People cycled up to the bar, collected their next taste,and rotated back to the rear of the bar. We joined the scrum, collecting the first of two Chardonnays and decided to continue our tasting on the covered patio. Our plan was to send two of us back into the tasting room occasionally to pick up new wine. That didn’t happen twice.
Paul quickly noticed that we were outside, so he swept out the back door of the tasting room, bottles in each hand, and refilled wine glasses all around. Picture a tornado that pour wine. Someone said, “thank you, sir” and Paul, in his delightful Scottish brogue, said, “don’t call me sir, I haven’t been knighted, call me squire!” That pretty much captured the feeling of the entire tasting.
We tasted four Pinot Noirs as we soaked up Paul’s encyclopedic knowledge of Porter Creek’s history and approach to winemaking. We learned that Porter Creek is the oldest bio-dynamic winery in Sonoma County. This means that the vineyard is managed with a focus on ecological self-sufficiency, avoiding adding anything to the ecosystem that did not originate there.
We tasted an amazing 2012 Old Vine Carignane, which puts an entirely new meaning on the term “old vine”. These Carignane vines were planted in 1939! The wine was amazing, but to consider everything that has happened in the world since these vines were planted is truly mind-blowing.
We finished up our tasting with their 2012 Timbervine Ranch Syrah and their 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel. These were both amazing, but the Carignane had me from the beginning.
We had places to be and things to do, so we picked out some wines to take home, said our thanks to the amazing Paul, and continued our remarkable day of tastings.
p.s. Did you miss the start of this tour? Catch up here: Rochioli Vineyards and Winery!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?