Marin: Wealthy in Wine
Post by Chuck Hayward | June 13th, 2011
Major wine tastings usually follow one of two basic formats. One focuses on a single variety, as with ZAP or the upcoming Pinot Days. The other centers on geography, like those hosted by the Wines of Spain or the Sonoma County Vintners Association tasting to be held in San Francisco in July. The problem with some of these bigger geography-based events (the Sonoma tasting will cover 12 different subregions) is that there is so much to take in, everything runs together and wines start blending into each other.
That was not the case with 7th Annual Marin County Wine Celebration—one of the more unique tastings I’ve had the fortune to attend. In order to raise funds for the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), an organization dedicated to preserving land for agricultural purposes in the county, an assortment of pinot noirs (and a rare white here and there) were poured by 14 wineries. Most were fairly new with a few pouring their first-ever efforts. To witness the gradual progress being made in this small growing region is truly exciting.
While Marin County wines are newcomers to the current wine scene, the area itself boasts a significant history, largely forgotten until the latest plantings began to take root. Though it was very likely that Spanish settlers planted grapes when they founded the mission in San Rafael in the early 1800s, grape growing really gained momentum in the late 1800s. Back then, Escalle Winery, where the tasting was held in Larkspur, was a frequent tourist destination for San Franciscans on weekend getaways of wine drinking and picnics in the estate’s gardens. Other vineyards were located in San Rafael and Fairfax on hills along today’s “Golden Mile.” (more…)