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Hi everyone,

After lurking around these forums for the last few weeks, I just decided to join. I've been more into beer over the last couple years (same username on BeerAdvocate if any of you use that) but have recently been getting more excited about wine.

I live about an hour from Napa and Sonoma. I'm on the mailing lists of Beau Vigne and Checkerboard and would love to branch out a bit. I'm on the waitlist for most of the big boys around here (SQN, Scarecrow, Schrader, etc.) but am always on the lookout for lesser-known, quality wineries in the area for my wife and I to visit. If you have any suggestions, I'd really appreciate it (and can even pickup and send bottles to you at cost) -- we drink mostly cab and zin but are open to trying anything.

Thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to crossing paths with many of you.
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Welcome. My suggestion has to do with your comment about drinking mostly cab and zin. When people say they don't like white wine (and I know you didn't say that), my response is that they haven't tried the right white wines. As for reds, there's an ocean of great wine coming out of Spain and France, especially the relatively affordable wines of the Rhone Valley. I'd suggest attending tastings and trying new varietals. If you can, get together with a group of like-minded people and taste the wines of different regions. I'm sure you'll find many that you enjoy.
Originally posted by masilva48:
If you have any recommendations that come to mind, I'd love to try a few.

I say this with no snarkiness, but asking for wine recommendations from people whose palates you are unfamiliar with is like asking the waitress at a restaurant what she recommends. Just get out there and drink some wine. You'll figure it out. And +1 on the welcome.

I agree with what the guys above said. The reason you drink mostly Cab is because there's so much of it around Napa and Sonoma. In Napa, it would be dumb to plant something for which you would get half the price or less. Sonoma is not so much locked into Cab, so my suggestion is to look around Sonoma.

Napa does have other varieties, it's just that prime land goes to Cab and that's what people think about. But you like big wines, so look for Petite Sirah. There is some in Napa. And Syrah, there's some in Napa as well, but more and more interesting in Sonoma.

And you don't have to drink single grapes. As mentioned, there's a lot of great wine coming out of France, Spain, and elsewhere. Tonight I had a wine from Toro. If you like big Cab and Zin, it's something you'd likely enjoy but it was a fraction of what you'd pay out of Napa.

Anyway, good luck on your explorations!
Originally posted by GregT:
Tonight I had a wine from Toro. If you like big Cab and Zin, it's something you'd likely enjoy but it was a fraction of what you'd pay out of Napa.

It'd be a good idea, as Greg suggests, to try a Toro or other Tempranillo based wine, to see how you like a wine with a little more acidity.
I really think you guys are missing the mark here recommending Rhones and Toros, etc. The palate of the OP currently likely prefers the profile of what's near him/her: California Cabs and Zins. Recommending that he/she go to something that is a significant change from what he/she said they like isn't good advice, IMO.

masilva48, I'd try Bevan Cellars. Good, big, easy-to-enjoy wines that I'd be you'd enjoy. Also, Bedrock makes some really great Zins that can be realtively easily sourced. I wouldn't call either of these marketly, "lesser-known," but they're good wines/wineries and you can find them. AND, the mostly won't break the bank.
Originally posted by Italian Wino:
Roy's wines are excellent. Do yourself a favor and try the Pinot Noirs around Sonoma. Much different than the cabs and zins you are used too.


Awesome, thanks man. I pulled the trigger on that Piper 3 pack.

And thanks for the tip on Sonoma pinots. A buddy was nice enough to pop a bottle of kosta browne this past weekend and we loved it. I'm now on the waitlist but will probably take a while to get off. If you have any favorites, please let me know and I'll go check them out.

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