Question: What's better than wine tasting in April?
Answer: Wine tasting at Martin Estate in April.
It was perfect weather for wine - sunny and warm - and there was a light breeze carrying the scent of dry soil and early orchard blossoms. We had set out early that morning and already hit two other vineyards for tastings and lunch, and the 20 minute drive north to the Rutherford Appellation gave us all much needed tastebud rehab time.
Martin Estate is not open to the public and it's easy to miss from the road. The one lane road from the highway to the estate is hidden behind an intricate wrought iron gate and ivy covered stone walls.
We were greeted in the small parking area by Petra and Greg, the husband and wife team who own and operate the winery, and by a beautiful Gardner snake*, basking on the hot gravel. (*Not 100% sure it was a Gardner. It may have been an extremely forgiving rattle snake. After two full tastings and a huge lunch, who knows. Maybe it was a moss covered stick.)
Petra ushered us into their home - an old barreling barn they had renovated into a house, a tasting room, and a museum for historic weapons - and into the very noticeably chilly cellar for our first tasting before a quick tour of the vineyard. View facing West:
We toured, we tasted, and for a little while I considered leaving the city and devoting my life to Bacchus. Highlight of the day: 2010 Martin Estate Gold Dessert Wine. I could live in a swimming pool of this stuff.
Leaving Martin Estate, we all had a chance to take a peek inside and use the barrel outhouse, an outhouse INSIDE a giant wine barrel. Now I've seen it all. Overall, it was a great day and all the wineries were beautiful, but it was our time at Martin Estate to which I'll compare all other wine tastings experiences in the future.