On the Road: An Extraordinary Wine Tasting and Winemaker Dinner

My wife Amy and I were invited to do a wine tasting, followed by a winemaker dinner, a couple of weekends ago in San Diego at the private estate of long-time wine club members Russ and Cyndi Thurman. They asked us to bring some of our most sought-after wines, some bottled and some futures right out of the barrels that we could pour for their guests – a mixture of family, friends, and important business associates. In order to accommodate everyone, they held events on both Friday and Saturday, with about 40 people each night. Everybody had a blast! The excitement and energy was incredible and we met some really great people.

Russ loves to tell the story about how he discovered Ledson Winery. He came to wine country “not to taste, but to buy.” He said every winery had maybe one or two good wines, but nothing really special. Then he visited Ledson. Laughing, he said he cleared his whole schedule of wine tastings for the rest of the day because he enjoyed our wines so much- and was surprised that with such a vast selection of wine it was “all so good.” Music to a winemaker’s ear!

We gave the wines a lot of thought, and ended up bringing nine of our most exquisite wines, some as limited as 30 cases!

  • 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Best of Class and Double Gold, American Fine Wine Competition
  • 2010 Carneros Chardonnay Reserve
  • 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Reserve

We also brought futures from the 2009 vintage (we’ll be bottling those soon). This was the first time the futures were tasted outside of the cellar and everyone was blown away.

  • 2009 Knights Valley Sangiovese
  • 2009 Russian River Valley Merlot
  • 2010 Dry Creek Valley Malbec
  • 2009 Sonoma Valley ‘Ancient Vine’ Zinfandel Reserve
  • 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
  • 2009 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

One of the guests told me later, “The wine was, without exception, exceptional. A true rarity.”

The fun began with a two-hour wine tasting and cheese pairing, which was amazing. Following the tastings, we enjoyed fantastic dinners prepared by Cyndi. Once again, the wines complemented the food to everyone’s great, mouthwatering pleasure. Cyndi is an amazing chef.

We had the most memorable time. Russ and Cyndi are such gracious hosts and we cannot thank them enough for inviting us to be part of this awesome experience. Another guest summed it up well: “What a fabulous event – great people, food, and wine!”

It made me realize how much I love going on the road to share my passion for winemaking with new acquaintances and old friends. I’m ready to get out there more!

Amy and I are already looking forward to next year at the Thurman’s. . .


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