Sublime Small-Bite Tastings at Three Sticks’ The Adobe in Sonoma

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Fall is just beginning in Sonoma, California. Grape harvests are finished and the delicate hum of early autumn may be felt in the quieter crowds and sun-warmed afternoons. With the change in seasons, it was time to revisit one of our favorite Sonoma tasting rooms, Three Sticks Wines’ The Adobe, to sip and sample their new small bites experience. Three Sticks Wines is a boutique, family-owned winery led by veteran winemaker Bob Cabral. For the new tasting experiences, guests may sample Three Sticks wines paired to locally sourced dishes by chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The tastings are held at the historic Adobe, located in the center of downtown Sonoma, right off the town square. One of the last standing buildings from California’s Mexican Period, it was originally a residence and experienced a faithful and stunning restoration last year by San Francisco designer Ken Fulk. The private luncheon ($200 per guest) and the small bites pairing experience ($85 per guest) are now offered Monday through Saturday for groups of two to eight by reservation. Lasting approximately 90 minutes, the pace is leisurely and the conversation with wine host, Kate, is relaxed and informative.

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The current seasonal food and wine small bites experience includes:

Scallops with Fire-Roasted Cauliflower
2013 Durell Vineyard ORIGIN Chardonnay

Chilled Corn Soup
2013 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay

Roasted Beets with Horseradish Fennel
2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Beef Short Rib, Peas and Leeks
2013 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir “The James”

Pork Rillette, Cornichons, Whole Grain Mustard
2013 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir

The 2013 Durell Estate Vineyard ORIGIN Chardonnay is made in concrete eggs (versus the more typical oak fermentation) where the carbon dioxide is forced down the sides of the egg and back up through the center. It exhibits Durell’s signature minerality, aromas of lemon blossom and fresh fig and a smooth, round mouthfeel. The oak-barrel aged 2013 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, however, is the afternoon’s standout. Durell Vineyard is one of California’s most prized Chardonnay vineyards and the wine soars with notes of ginger, citrus and roasted almonds. This perfectly balanced Chardonnay is creamy, complex and supple. It is interesting to note that both Chardonnays are made from the same type of grape (and largely in the same fashion) but what really comes through is the terroir, something about which owner Bill Price is incredibly passionate. Durell soil is mostly river rock with little bits of dirt interspersed, hence the definitive mineral character. The yields may be low but the results are simply transcendent.

The 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir features undertones of earthiness with lovely notes of cherry, plum and currant. Perfectly paired with the beef short rib is the 2013 Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir “The James”, named after owner Bill Price’s free-spirited son. It offers a bright and wild flavor reminiscent of berry brambles, with a light body and balanced acidity. The final offering, 2013 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir, is deeper and darker, giving forth a full-bodied, jammy finish. Located in the Santa Maria Valley, Bien Nacido Vineyards was purchased in 1969 by the Millers, a fifth generation California farming family.

A sample seasonal menu for the private luncheon includes:

Starter

Mixed Green Salad, market vegetables, goat cheese, pepitas, sherry vinaigrette
2013 Durell Vineyard ORIGIN Chardonnay
2013 Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay, “One Sky”

Entrée

Roasted Salmon, lentils, wild mushroom sauce
2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
2013 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, “The James”

Dessert

Molten Chocolate Cake, salted caramel, vanilla ice cream
2011 Moon Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

For more information on Three Sticks’ Adobe, please visit http://www.threestickswines.com/visit-the-adobe/.