Last August we found ourselves in Sonoma with a bit of extra time to kill in the afternoon. This is a rare event, in that we don’t often find ourselves in that part of wine country without a specific agenda to follow. That’s when my Disney brain spoke out loud,”Hey! I should call Lasseter Family Winery and see if they have a reservation available.” (for those non-Disney folks… John Lasseter is the head of Pixar Films, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DisneyToon Studios and a Disney Imagineering advisor as well)
Ten minutes later we had a spot reserved for a tour and tasting later that afternoon, and a few hours later we’d be proud wine club members as well.
Lasseter Family Winery is off the main drag (Hwy 12) in Glen Ellen, but it’s definitely not far from other vineyards. There is no public tasting room, however, so all visitors need to sign up for a tour/tasting in advance.
[photo: Lasseter Family Vineyards – Facebook Page]
The tour will take you through a walk in the vineyards, and if you’re lucky to time the season just right, you’ll get to taste some of the grapes on the vine. We were there just at veraison (aka. color turning) which made for some very beautiful scenery on the grounds.
You’ll get to tour the production facilities, the barrel room, and finally sit down for a wine and cheese pairing in a stately dining room.
At our tasting, we sampled the ENJOUÉ (in the barrel room), CHEMIN DE FER, L’AME DU SAGE, PAYSAGE and AMOREUX. With the exception of the pure Zinfandel L’AME DU SAGE, all of the wines are red blends. Some folks prefer purity in their wine, but I’m much more of a “make the best of it” kind of wine enthusiast. So it goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed each of the wines we tasted.
The tour/tasting was $25/person, which by comparison to other wine rooms in Napa/Sonoma, and was quite the bargain. The 1.5 hour experience was relaxing and easy-going, and the wine paired perfectly with cheese and chocolate.
I went ga-ga over the ENJOUÉ, their rose, at first sip and knew I was going to like the rest. In particular, I fell hard or the PAYSAGE and the AMOUREUX. I always seem to enjoy the final wines at a tasting, and wonder if it’s my tongue warming up or if it’s really just saving those best wines for last.
At the end of the tasting Mr. M and I showed our enthusiasm by signing up as wine club members on the spot! We knew we couldn’t just go “grab a bottle” when we wanted to enjoy it, since all of the wines are exclusively available at the winery or in local Sonoma stores. Plus, we wanted to have an excuse to make it out to the winery for future events…
And we did just that in December with a trip to their holiday party!
The winery building was decked out in excessively huge Christmas lights (very Disneyland/Toy Story-esque) and everything inside was trimmed for the holidays as well.
This time around, we got to do something new! We were able to enjoy a glass of wine in the exclusive “tank lounge” complete with lava lamps and equally groovy music.
There’s something so pleasant about spending time during a California winter in a cold barrel room… and see folks walking around in shorts and sandals while we’re bundled in fleece for the 60-degree day.
The visit in December was a validation that we both loved the wine and the grounds, and that we’d definitely be back for more visits and more wine. After all, we do have to pick up our shipments every now and then!
So we’ll be back soon… and if you don’t find yourself in Sonoma, you can get yourself a glass of their goodness at Disney California Adventure, other Disney properties (i.e. California Grill at Walt Disney World), and perhaps in your backyard!