There is a cluster of 5 or 6 wineries at/adjacent to the old Hollywood Hills Schoolhouse, so we decided to head there today.
Our first stop was Alexandria Nicole, which is located in the lower half of the old schoolhouse–an historic red brick building that you can’t miss near the traffic circle–which makes for a great locale. We had a great tasting here, with enjoyable wines across the board, but we were really struck by the 2012 Riesling–grapes from Destiny Ridge Vineyards. We love Riesling–and we’re sort of Riesling snobs. It’s not often one really takes us by surprise, but this one did. It was a perfectly balanced Riesling, with vibrant, juicy flavor. Pretty easy to redeem our tasting fee here!
Next, we crossed the parking lot to try out J Bookwalter. Solid wines here as well, with the reds really shining, but we felt that many were a bit pricey (~$50-$75) compared to other Washington reds that we like just as much. This is a great benefit of tasting though–it’s not just about finding out who you love and want to buy a case from–you also get to try and get to know the winemaker landscape in a region without committing to a $50 bottle–and you store away that taste memory for future reference. I did really like the 2011 Subplot No 27 (great value at $25), with delicious cherry, caramel, and coffee flavors, but Jonathan wasn’t a huge fan, so we decided to pass on buying a bottle here. I might be tracking that one down at the grocery store at a later date!
One of the Bookwalter wine club members made them this really fab cork wall art. Inspiration for the huge jar of corks that is accumulating in our kitchen from all this wine we’ve been drinking??
I should note that at this point in our tastings, we’ve figured out our tasting approach. We’ve noticed that most places charge a $10 tasting fee, which gets you a generous enough pour for two people to get about 2-3 swigs each. No one has given us a hard time about sharing tastings, so we’re going with this approach. Where there is a $5 fee, we’ll generally each get our own–not because it’s cheaper–but because the pour tends to be smaller. This approach seems to be working for us, just thought I’d point it out in case it’s helpful for others!