Cat V. Chicken
If the idea of a day that involves driving all of a small area of creation listening to MGMT, Hot Chip, and the Presets while looking for wineries and watching chickens chase cats is unappealing, then you should probably go elsewhere.
So starting in the middle, through a series of events we found Preston vineyards, which was impressive for its Rhone blends, and more impressive for the flora and fauna allowed to run rampant. Preston is an organic farm that focuses on, well farming basically, meaning they have numerous crops and livestock in addition to grapes. To whit, whereas the driveway we arrived in had one cat, the garden in front had ten cats of varying sizes, three chickens, and a few guinea fowl. I expected new born fawn to emerge from the vines, cue Stravinsky but alas i believe my seasons were off.
Next up (earlier in real time) was the out of the way Iron Horse, which has long done some of the better American sparkling wines (they are most famous for their Russian Cuvee which was served for Gorbachev and Reagan during summit meetings near the end of the cold war (it is a wine that much like Reagan, has a reputation that far exceeds its accomplishments). The best of the flight were the traditional brut, the unoaked chardonnay(!) and the blanc de blanc which both had nice crisp acidity balanced with a yeasty roundness that helps the wine keep from being too sharp. The less said about the reds, the better.
Standing out on the day was Quivira vineyards, who were the best of three biodynamic we visited while up here. They started out with an unoaked Sauvignon Blanc that was one of the few i have found from the state of California that wasn’t like lemon Skittles.
Lastly, although i didn’t much care for the wines, Bella deserves a big shout out for their impressive caves and more impressive views.