Orlando Wine Community Alum Brings One-of-a-Kind Sonoma Tasting to Digress

Wine writers tend to overuse words like “special” and “unique.” I’m as guilty as anyone.

But Tuesday night at Digress Wine in College Park, Orlando’s wine community experienced something truly singular — a tasting of limited-production experimental wines from Sonoma producer Gary Farrell, many of which can’t be sampled even at the winery.

Orlando Wine Blog helped organize the event in partnership with Digress. We dubbed it “The Geeky Side of Gary Farrell,” and I couldn’t be prouder of Orlando’s wine community that an event with that name was a sellout.

But the real credit for its success goes to Gary Farrell Estate Sommelier and Wine Educator Tiffany Kuhn, who brought some truly unique bottles and provided great context to help us understand them.

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Orlando Wine Blog to Host Geeky Gary Farrell Tasting

My first encounter with Sonoma’s Gary Farrell Winery happened on my front porch in Orlando. My cousin had brought me back a bottle from her visit to the winery, and as we drank it together over cheese and laughter, it changed the way I thought about California chardonnay. Elegant and balanced rather than overwhelmed by oak and butter, this was a wine I could get behind.

Since then, I’ve visited the winery several times and have grown to love the equally elegant pinot noirs that, like the chardonnays, reflect the land on which they’re grown.

I’ve also been thrilled to discover winemaker Theresa Heredia’s “Inspiration Series.” These experimental wines (single clones, concrete aging, skin contact, etc.) are made in extremely limited quantities and are rarely available outside the winery. Thanks to a special connection between Gary Farrell and Orlando, I’m thrilled to be able to offer my readers and followers the chance to taste some of these wines – and other Gary Farrell gems – right here in Central Florida. And it’s just a few weeks away.

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Where to Go in Sonoma: The Blockbusters

Note: The wineries in this post followed the common industry practice of waiving tasting fees for bloggers and other media. 

Is a trip to wine country on your list of resolutions for 2018? If so, Sonoma County should be on your agenda.

Sonoma is sometimes an afterthought – nothing more than a quick stopover between San Francisco and Napa. But this diverse county is a worthy wine destination unto itself, offering everything from stunning tasting rooms with breathtaking views to flip-flop-casual samplings in out-of-the-way vineyards. Most importantly, though, Sonoma offers plenty of good wine.

In this post, we’ll explore three blockbuster wineries that hosted me for tastings on a visit to Sonoma last fall. Next time, I’ll unveil a few of the region’s hidden gems.

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A Florida Oenophile in California Wine Country: Onward to Sonoma – Fort Ross & Gary Farrell

About this series: After years of loving (and semi-seriously studying) wine, I finally took my first trip to Napa and Sonoma this summer. It was a wonderful week of sunny days, cool nights, beautiful views, and beautiful wines. These are the impressions, discoveries, favorites, and surprises from my journey.

Part 1: Chateau Montelena, CADE, Pride
Part 2: Frog’s Leap, Heitz, Mumm Napa
Part 3: Y. Rousseau, Antica, Failla
Part 4: Stony Hill, Domaine Chandon

This being my first trip to California Wine Country, I focused mainly on Napa, but I couldn’t leave without a little taste of Sonoma too. We managed to fit quite a lot into just a day and a half, including a few well-known places and one hidden gem.

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