9282 West Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448 (map link)
We arrived at Preston after a lovely meandering drive through Dry Creek Valley. The tasting room is spacious and low-key, decorated in a country style. Books about biodynamics, grape growing and other topics are displayed on tables along with t-shirts and other merch. There’s also a table featuring samples of olives and olive oil.
All of Preston’s wines are made from their own estate-grown grapes and hail from the Dry Creek Valley appellation.
Our pourer educated us about tannins and how they form shorter and longer molecular chains. Shorter chains are more astringent, while longer chains are softer and smoother on the tongue. Oxygen causes shorter chains to join together to form longer chains, which happens naturally as the wine ages and is accellerated by decanting to let a wine breathe. Cheap mass-producers aerate their wines which produces a short-term softening of the tannins, but it also means those wines won’t age well. I love learning about these kind of things, and I appreciated hearing more about it.
2009 Sauvignon Blanc
This wine started with a generous flavor of sweet fruit, pear with a hint of pineapple. The fruit then mellow into a richness at the end.
“Bitter to Butter” is what my notes say. I’m used to Roussannes being a bit sweeter throughout, so I was pleasantly suprised to have this one start with a welcome bitterness that then gave way to a gentle fruit flavor, fading away into a butteriness at the end.
2009 GSM Blend
I was reminded of cotton candy when I smelled this one. The flavor was round and fruity but without becoming heavy. Some nice tannins bring the flavor to a close.
This red has a bit of tartness to it, a characteristic common to many Italian wines that helps a wine stand up to the bold flavors in food. The color was very deep, but the wine was not heavy at all. Fruit predominates in the flavor – plum and a little raisin – with tannins on the finish.
Nicely fruity but with an interesting pepperiness, like the spiciness of olive oil. I also got hints of yeast, and a nicely balanced tannic throughline.
2009 L. Preston Blend
This is a blend of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Grenache and Carignane. The aroma reminded me of a perfume counter at a high-end store, with a wafting of berries. The flavor was berry-riffic, with blackberries in the lead and hints of raspberries and even blueberries.
95% Syrah with 5% Petite Sirah. I noted “Super-Fruit” upon tasting this wine. It was difficult to pick out the components though. I definitely got notes of blackberry and plum, but to my palate the flavors blended into a coherent unity of fruit balanced by a slight astringency.
Preston is a lovely wine tasting destination. It felt like a summer vacation trip to the home of an eccentric uncle – an uncle who makes outstanding wine.