The Grenache grape is one of my favorites. It’s beautiful, seductive and nearly impossible to find in the new world on it’s own. Yet this winery not only has the Grenache on it’s wine menu but it comes in eosé as well. Hello Trattore farms. Great to meet you.
There is probably one person more passionate than me about the Grenache grape. That man is Kerry Damskey, winemaker at Trattore Farms. He treats the luscious Grenache as a prized jewel sitting atop the Queen of England. Of course, much like one particular jewel on the crown, it’s brilliance only truly shines with accompanying jewels. Or in the case of the Grenache, with a little Petite Sirah and Zinfandel (in the 2013 vintage).
Did I mention the Grenache also comes in rosé too? Did I mention that I’m doing a little happy dance with that combination? The love I have for rosé is pretty much on par for the love I have for the Grenache (when it’s done right). And it’s done right at Trattore Farms.
The Grenache grape is one grape of many that hail from the Rhone region of France. In addition to Grenache, you can also find Viogner (pronounced Vee-own-yay), Marsanne (Marr-sann), Rousanne (Roo-sann), Mourvedre (Mour-ved-dra) and Petite Sirah.
Yet you won’t really see many of the aforementioned grapes with their names on the bottles. That’s because, like the French, Kerry is blending them together (even the Grenache rosé, 2013, features 10% Viogner). While I can’t speak about his winemaking in the future, his current releases are blends in some way, shape, or form.
The fun or troubling aspect of that is labeling laws allow you to label your wine as single varietal if you have 75% or more of that particular grape in the bottle. Even the Zinfandel, which can stand on it’s own, is a blend at Trattore (not a lot, but the 2013 Zin featured a little Petite Sirah).
If your head is still swirling a little from attempting to pronounce Viogner and figure out the blending percentages, take a step out onto the balcony and simply admire the scenery. Trattore Farms has one of the most beautiful views of the Dry Creek Valley.
The winery sits on the northern end of the valley so you get a nearly 180 degree view, from top to bottom. There are chairs and tables, along with overhanging fabric to protect you from the summertime sunshine. Along with wine, you can also order up local, Sonoma-produced charcuterie and cheeses while you bask in the California sunshine.
If the sunshine is too strong for you, you can also relax at the tables and chairs inside the tasting room. The southern end of the tasting room just happened to have two tractors flanking both doors of the room when I was there that day.
I chuckled as I likened them to a vintage sports car. The slightly funny aspect to it was that Lamborghini’s come in two styles—really beautiful (and expensive) sports cars and tractors. Ferruccio Lamborghini was born into a grape farming family. Before creating the Lamborghini sports car, he went into the tractor business, and created Lamborghini Trattori. Ferruccio went full circle later in life when he retired to Umbria, Italy and made wine.
While I didn’t check to see if the tractors inside of the winery were Lamborghini’s or not, they were polished and displayed in a way that echoed Lamborghini’s other model of transportation.
Trattore Farms features two tastings: a standard/estate tasting of 4-6 wines, along with a reserve tasting. While I generally am skeptical of splurging for a reserve tasting (since there is no official definition of the word reserve), I do recommend the this one. Why? Because even with the reserve, they waive the tasting fee with the purchase of a bottle. That’s one of the highest tasting fees I’ve seen waived with purchase. I can’t say if that will be around forever, but take advantage of it if you can. As always, prices can change and offerings may increase or decrease. If only I had a crystal ball.
What’s more Italian than wine and tractors? Olive oil. At Trattore, along with tasting through a flight of wine, you can also taste through a flight of stone-pressed olive oil. I didn’t see the stone press at the new location, but in their former building down the street, I was given a tour of the press. The olive oils, like the wines, are artfully produced. I think I still have one or two bottles left in my kitchen come to think of it.
Take some time for your tasting. Relax under the shade while overlooking the valley. Enjoy the slower pace of the old world at a new world location that is Trattore Farms.