Michel-Bernard Dry Creek Valley Tasting Room and Hospitality Center doesn’t offer the sweeping views of the valley that Armida, with its perch up on a hill, does, but it is set right in a vineyard. The large windows of the tasting room overlook a beautiful second floor terrace with views of the grapes. There are tables outside for those who would like to relax with a glass of wine or enjoy a picnic. Like most, their tasting room is open from 11AM-5PM daily.Michel-Bernard is a family affair and they offer tastings of a variety of wines produced by different family members and family friends under different labels. The family has actually been growing grapes for other wineries for years, and only recently decided to try their hand at producing their own wine. We’re glad they did! Despite our lack of high hopes, we wound up being very happy we’d stopped by! Not only did two bottles wind up going home with us that day, but we can definitely see stopping by again, soon!
We tasted:2008 Michael-Bernard Organic Sparkling Wine, $25 – Made from grapes grown organically in Mendocino County, this Sparkling Wine (aka Champagne) was a great start to our tasting at Michel-Bernard. Fairly dry, with a lovely fruity taste, a bottle of it came home with us.
2007 Orsi Papale, Pinot Noir, $35 - Made from grapes grown at the Orsi Vineyard, in the Russian River Valley, this Pinot Noir won a Bronze Medal at the 2010 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Ian wasn’t a big fan, but Wendy enjoyed it, despite the slightly sharp finish.
2007 Mobius Cabernet Sauvignon – We weren’t impressed with this Cabernet. It lacked the big, bold taste we favor and the finish wasn’t clean.
2006 Old Mantra Zinfandel, $30 – Made with grapes grown in the northern Alexander Valley on old vines, this Zinfandel had a nice clean finish.
2006 Orsi Papale Cabernet Sauvignon, $40 – This red wine was the last we tasted and a great ending to our tasting at Michel-Bernard. It won a gold medal at the 2010 Sonoma County Harvest Fair and we can see why! This Cabernet is big, bold and delicious with a lovely finish that lingers on the palate. A bottle came home with us as a gift to good friends who were very happy with it, too. We’ll be heading back to pick up another bottle!