Wait. “Am I in Dry Creek or the Russian River Valley?” I thought to myself as I sat there examining my glass of sparkling wine while deciding which of the two flights of wine to taste. You can get a glass of bubbly in the valley? Now that’s a treat I didn’t expect. Welcome to Cast.
Cast Winery is located on the northern end of Dry Creek Valley. Perched atop a small half dirt / half paved road, their winery has one of the better views of the valley floor outside on their tasting room patio.
If you’ve been tasting throughout the day on a hot and sunny day, go ahead and grab one of the spots below the winery that features natural shade. The parking spots at the top of the hill, while close, are not covered and you’ll run the risk of baking your wares if you don’t take precautions. My tasting partner and I had picked up some wine from a prior location so we made sure to park in the shade.
Walking up the small hill to the winery, we found a rustic and rusted pick-up truck, just lounging on the dirt in the forefront of the winery. I’m not entirely sure that the motif of the turquoise and rust-colored truck fit with the whole look of the winery, but we both took photos, noting that the truck with the vineyards and a palm trees in the background felt calming. Like a mixture of farmland and a winery. In any event, we uploaded our photos to Instagram and, oh look, the crush pad, and went in to wine taste.
At Cast, you can choose between sitting down inside or outside. We decided upon doing half of the wine tasting inside and the other half outside.
On a hot summer day, the inside air conditioning mixed with a cold glass of bubbly does sway your decision making. The sparkling wine that we had was comprised of Pinot Noir (skins off) and Chardonnay. Both grapes hailed from the Russian River, as if to foreshadow what was to come next.
At Cast, you are presented with two different tasting flights, though both come with the sparkling wine to get your palate in the mood. To compare the two, my tasting partner chose one path and I chose the other.
It turns that the two roads that diverged in a wood end up in Dry Creek and the Russian River Valley. The Russian River Valley road meanders even deeper into the AVA (American Viticultural Area) by selecting grapes from the Green Valley, a sub AVA, in the heart of the Russian River Valley.
The reserve tasting following that road into the Russian River by showcasing a selection of wines that are more native to that valley—Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The standard tasting (referred to as the terrace tasting) stays close to the estate by featuring wines more commonplace to Dry Creek Valley— Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.
Those two roads meet up towards the end with Petite Sirah. I describe Petite Sirah as a wine that no one is on the fence with. I have rarely heard someone say, when asked what they want to drink, “Ehh. I don’t know. I guess I’ll have a Petite Sirah.”
Most wine tasters will either light up when the mention of Petite Sirah or scoff and run. Petites have a very strong nose and taste. The small size of the grape (hence the word petite) produces a strong taste—oh the irony. Ok, must stop daydreaming about that Petite Sirah. Where was I?
Yes, Cast wines. If you’re not a vampire and it’s not hitting the triple digits, step outside to the patio and enjoy your tasting outside. There’s both a picnic table for a larger group and small clusters of Adirondack chairs (with umbrellas) right on the terrace edge.
The tasting staff was beyond accommodating on you tasting a little slower outside. They know that it takes time to both enjoy the wine and the view. Friendly and helpful, they also brought out some water for us to have with our wine. A large bottle and a few small glasses were provided. As we were tasting outside on a hot day, this was a welcomed relief.
We had planned on hitting one more winery, but the warmth of the afternoon sun, the comfortable Adirondack chair and that dang Petite Sirah slowed down our tasting (in a very good way; did I mention that I really enjoyed the Petite Sirah?).
Both tasting options were waived with a few bottles purchased. That’s a great value for the reserve tasting. My tasting partner and I split the two tastings so we could explore the entire portfolio that was available. The wines are a good showcase of what you can expect out of the two valleys, while relaxing and gazing over Dry Creek.
It’s chill, quaint and very relaxed. Take a seat in the Adirondack, and simply soak in the California sun while gazing over the northern end of the Dry Creek Valley. Then decide one of the two roads offered—the terrace or the reserve tasting. Take your time and remember that wine tasting is meant to be relaxing. Sometimes we just have to stop and smell the Petite Sirah.