It’s Wednesday night. Marc is at a dress rehearsal for Austin Opera’s A Masked Ball. He texted me earlier in the day “let’s do something fun Friday night.”
Inspiration came in an email from the Red Room Lounge on 3rd Street:
Exclusive Wine Tasting – The Donum Estate with Anne Moller-Racke. There are only two days left until our next tasting event at The Red Room Lounge. The Donum Estate will be showing their wine collection for an exclusive tasting on Friday, November 7th.
Anne Moller-Racke, President and Winegrower of The Donum Estate, will be in attendance to discuss the wines showcased at the event. Anne is also the Featured Winemaker for The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas’ Rare and Fine Wine Auction that will take place in April 2015.
We have visited the Red Room Lounge on 3-4 occasions prior to this event, but never for a wine tasting. This place is so unusual and fun, and we always feel an excited energy in the room. The front door on 3rd street has only one red light that is lit when it’s open. You step into what looks like a speakeasy, wishing you had a red carnation for entry. As you step down into the establishment, the dark and cozy atmosphere is romantic and hushed, but with a fun energy of the those who serve you. The decor is a mix of ancient artifacts and signed electric guitars–yes, unusual and fun.
After the pain of facing Mopac traffic and parking downtown, we were treated to a fascinating tasting of California wines (mostly Pinot Noirs) from the Russian River Valley area of Sonoma.
The set-up featured a table set with eight wines available for tasting. Ms. Moller-Racke graciously poured and shared information about each wine. A lovely spread of cheese, nuts, olives and dried fruit was also provided to enjoy with the wines.
We found a comfy corner of a couch to plant ourselves on for the duration of the tasting.
Literature about the winery and the Pinot Noir growing area of Sonoma provided us great reference material. As always, I am overwhelmed by how little I know about the wine-making industry. Once we begin tasting, however, I am reminded of why I love tasting wine:
- It is an activity that invites the use of multiple senses.
- It is a process that provokes uninhibited thought and conversation with friends and those closest to you.
- It is an amazing learning process – life long learning – yeah!
- It brings you close to nature and the humans that nurture and celebrate the earth.
- It is fun!
The wines we tasted (and a few notes on our favorites):
Stemmler Estate Chardonnay, Carneros 2012— crisp, clean, and citrusy without the surge of oak. Pleasing to the palate, paired with cheese and dried fruit like a champ
Stemmler Estate Pinot Noir, Carneros 2011
Stemmler Estate “Nugent Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2011
Donum Estate Chardonnay, Carneros 2012
Donum Estate Pinot Noir, Carneros 2012
Donum Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2011
This “hands down” jumped to the top of our list. What an amazing wine! luscious, velvety texture with a voice that quietly says, “I’m a Pinot and I know it.” A Pinot that touches your soul and reminds you that God speaks through these grapes.
Donum Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2012
Donum Estate “West Slope” Pinot Noir, Carneros 2011
During the course of the evening, Ms. Moller-Racke visited with us several times. We mentioned to her that we had recently become quite fond of Oregon Pinot Noir, and she was eager to hear our thoughts about her wines. So charming and approachable, Ms. Moller-Racke was happy to chat with us about her wines and the area of Sonoma she calls home. She also shared some great travel tips for visiting the region.