Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trione's Wide Range of Sonoma Wines

The Trione family has been managing Sonoma County vineyards for 35 years, growing grapes that ended up in many award-winning wines. In 2005 the Trione family decided to strike out on their own, build a winery and make their own wine. In addition to the classic Russian River varieties of pinot noir and chardonnay, Trione makes a sauvignon blanc and a syrah, as well as a cabernet and a red blend from the Alexander Valley appellation.

Winemaker Scot Covington, who joined the Trione family in 2005 and made the wines in this report, has quite a resume. He began working at Sonoma-Cutrer in 1990, and moved on to become a production enologist at Marimar Torres Estate. Covington also spent a year working with Vergelegen Estate of South Africa, trying his hand at pinotage and sauvignon blanc grapes. Gallo Sonoma hired him as the “experimental winemaker” in 1997. He then went Down Under, working with Rosemount in the Hunter Valley and Yalumba in Barossa Valley. So it’s no surprise that Covington has been able to make solid wines from a wide range of grape varieties.

I have to hand it to Trione for this marketing idea. They managed to fit six 50ml sample bottles into a small cardboard case, and inserted all sorts of information about their winery. But, in the end, a marketing gimmick is only as good as the product itself. And in this case, Trione backs it up. Before this tasting I’d never tried a Trione wine. I was legitimately wowed by these wines. My only wish was that I had more than 50 ml to sip!

Here are my notes…

2010 Trione Sauvignon Blanc River Road Ranch (Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) $23.
A slight spritz in the glass. On the nose, this sauvignon blanc is beautiful. Starts off with a burst of melon, cantaloupe and honeysuckle, with hints of sage and shallots. High acid provides intense verve, but there’s lots of creaminess as well. Flavors of lime, melon and pineapple mix with a soft herbal note. The acid lingers long on the finish along with bits of mineral and limestone. One of the most complex domestic sauvignon blancs I’ve had in a long time. (91 points)

2008 Trione Chardonnay River Road Ranch (Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) $30.
Aromas of pear butter, papaya and a nice kick of sage and wax. Wow, the palate is really tangy, with live wire acid and lots of lemon-lime flavors. But the hazelnut, nougat and yellow apple flavors keep this from being austere. Not goopy, this is a bold but focused chardonnay that begs for oysters. Long finish with lemon zest and green apple. This chard sees a mix of new and used French oak. (89 points)

Trione's small bottles bring big taste.
2008 Trione Pinot Noir River Road Ranch (Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) $35.
Pretty ruby color, and you can actually see your fingers through it! Complex aromas of spicy cherries, wild strawberries, clove and vanilla. Full-bodied with mouth-coating and firm tannins, bold but juicy red fruit. Earth and pepper accent the wild cherry and strawberry flavors. A judicious use of oak adds complexity but doesn’t overwhelm the other elements. A hefty pinot at its core, but equally bright. Long, fresh finish. (90 points)

2008 Trione Syrah River Road Ranch (Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) $32.
Dark purple color. The aromas on this wine are fantastic: smoke, blackberry, green olive, hints of coconut. The palate is full-bodied and packed with gritty tannins. The acid, while not outspoken, is present enough for balance. Blackberry and plum fruit is slathered in olive tapenade, charred meat and sun-dried tomato. Even from a tiny 50ml bottle, there’s sediment in this wine, which I’m always fine with. Long, full finish. If served blind, I could’ve easily guessed this as a 2009 Northern Rhone syrah. I’d love to taste this again in five years to see what happens to those olive and meat flavors. Delicious! (92 points)

2007 Trione Cabernet Sauvignon Block Twenty-One (Sonoma County, Alexander Valley) $64.
A nice purple-earthy color. The aromas of fresh black cherries, violets and red licorice are sleek and elegant; they don’t punch you in the nose. The palate shows silky tannins, surprisingly fresh acid and a medley of delicious flavors. Black cherry and currant fruit is highlighted by menthol, cedar and creamy oak. A tangy cherry note lingers with toast and earth on the finish. A cabernet with boldness, but also class. The cabernet grapes come from Trione’s Cloverdale Ranch in the northern part of Alexander Valley. The wine, which is aged in 45% new French oak, contains 10% merlot from Trione’s Geyserville ranch and 2.5% petite verdot and malbec from Cloverdale. (90 points)

2007 Trione Geyserville Ranch (Sonoma County, Alexander Valley) $50.
Lush and complex aromas of sour cherry, red currant, tar, rhubarb and green and black peppercorns. The palate shows silky tannins and medium acid. I love the fleshy red currant and raspberry fruit, and it’s backed up by bay leaf, smoke and earth. The oak adds a creamy aspect to this nicely balanced red wine. It’s in a beautiful spot right now (at least as much as I can judge from a 50ml bottle), but if I had a full bottle, I’d lay it down for three or four years and see what kind of herbal and dried fruit flavors come out. A blend of 57% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot, 4% petite verdot and 4% malbec.
(90 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist. 

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