• I took a mini-vacation last week, and I popped up to Sonoma County for some wine tasting. It was a glorious jaunt full of adventure, a cave with barrels, fluffy chairs, a bunch of giraffes and breathtaking views.

    D’Argenzio in Santa Rosa was the first winemaker we went to where Raymond D’Argenzio and his daughter Breanna were our hosts. Coincidentally, it was a barrel tasting which was very entertaining. We tried a few bottles including a fabulous white wine and a killer Pinot from their library. We were given a taste of a dry Moscato that was a fun twist.


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    Side note: Library wines are wines that a winery cellars for any length of time past the release date. If the wine improves the price goes up. It also helps the winery to gauge what will happen to their wine over time.


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    After Breanna gave us the tastes, Raymond walked us into a barrel room.  Using a wine thief, he extracted a couple of samples which we were given to enjoy. Many of the varietals were classic Italian, like Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Tocai Friulano.


    Wine-Thief(wine thief)


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    Side note: Tocai Friulano, as of 2007 is now called Friulano, because of Hungary. Why?, you might ask. It is to avoid confusion with their Tokaj wine blend. Somehow Hungary got the European Union to agree to its removal.

    The D’Argenzio family has roots in Campania, Italy which is home to Taurasi. Taurasi is a town that creates an amazing wine of the same name using a varietal called Aglianico. By no coincidence there was a barrel of Aglianico to taste at the tasting room.


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    Nearly a dozen barrels later, Raymond asked if we wanted some food. I barely had time to smile and nod before he dashed off into a side room. We went back to the wine tasting bar where Breanna poured us a few tastes of a couple more bottles.


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    Then what couldn’t have been a few minutes later Raymond reappeared, open-faced sandwiches in hand… crispy sausage, olive oil grilled bread, arugula, and some grilled peppers. They were delicious.


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    My absolute favorite was the library wine offering:

    2000 Pinot Noir D’Argenzio Russian River Valley

    The winery tasting notes:

    “Our classically Italian stylistic approach to this splendidly versatile varietal is intensely flavored, with great body and structure. You will find it the perfect accompaniment for all but the very lightest of dishes, and pure magic paired with a delicate ravioli, warm Italian bread and Asiago cheese.”