I was lucky enough to be able to pause on a bicycle ride and taste a new Sonoma County (Alexander Valley) winery that really, really impressed me-Verite. I know that their wines are very pricey, but I as a noobie was still overwhelmingly impressed. Verite specializes in Bordeaux Blends, with a French winemaker who strives for clear flavors and balance. Umami was there in all its glory-and the taster even used that very term (my favorite flavor profile).
The high point of the tasting was Le Desir 2003, a Cab Franc (and Merlot)-based blend that is just lusciously delicious and herby and savory and just achingly beautiful even now as a newly released wine. (I splurged and had to buy one.) The 2003 La Muse, a Merlot, still offered beautiful fruit and a savory back palette but was not yet completely knit-together and integrated. I didn't pick up a bottle of this one, because they were pouring their 1998 La Muse, which was much less expensive and drinking absolutely, stunningly amazing and delicious. The gentleman indicated that this was the wine flying out of the winery right now, and I understand why. The Cab Based 2003 and 1998 was also delicious, with dark fruit . Finally, I also throughly enjoyed the much less expensive "second wine" (although he said it wasn't really a second wine, just farmed differently) Archipel, grown on hilltops that poke out of the fog like an island chain An absolutely lovely bordeaux style blend that I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed at no more cost than a garden variety mid-priced Napa Cab ($40).
What really impresse4d me was the complexity of the taste experience. There were layers of flavors and an amazing nose and a lovely back and mid palette herbal finish. Delicious. Lovely little tasting room setting, and because its based on reservations, you get a nice discussion about the wines and the philosophy of the house. I can't afford to buy too many wines here, but this winery is definietly in my top five now!