Russian River Valley 600-pound Apple Pie
Last weekend's Grape-to-Glass event in Russian River Valley marked the 30th anniversary of the AVA and honored the founders. The labels of my favorites among many wines from the appellation available for tasting are shown below.
The outdoor barbecue ended with Gravenstein apple pie. The 6-foot diameter pie weighed 600 pounds and included 550 pounds of apples from Dutton Ranch. It was baked in Costeaux Bakery's oven in Healdsburg and transported to Saralee's Vineyard and Richard's Grove by a fire truck. My piece was still warm. The pie was served with vanilla ice cream from Petaluma Creamery.
Since this was a social event and not a structured tasting, I didn't take any notes. I still managed to taste 40+ wines at the walk-around tasting in 1.5 hours. The ones in the photos I liked best. I'll add that I liked the 2011 Two Shepherds "Pastoral Rouge" (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) a great deal too.
There was some talk among winemakers that the 2011s may be a hard sell due to negative early press for wines from other parts of the North Coast. So I was paying particular attention to 2011s that were available here and I found no fault with them. I loved the pure, clean fruit in a lighter frame with high acidity, that's my own style preference. That said, the producers who normally work in that style range who do not overextract, overoak nor strive for high alcohol were the most successful with 2011 fruit and thus were among my pick of the litter. I can see where producers of bigger styles could easily mess up when handed delicate fruit that doesn't fit their winemaking regimen or barrel stock.