Great California Trip: Part 210 10 2008
But one place that never gets old for us is a visit to the Coturri Winery in Glen Ellen. This is like no winery you’ve been to before — no parking lot, no tasting room, no gift shop and, in fact, not open to the public. Even for us, after several visits, finding the place can be a challenge. No signage, a gate with four other addresses on it — just two howling dogs of indescribable origin to greet any car pulling up the long dusty driveway. The winery buildings consist of Tony Coturri’s house and something that resembles a garage, which is actually where the wine is made and stored. It’s great.
I called Tony to see if he had some time, and he invited us up for a Sunday lunch. He said he was having a few folks over. What we didn’t know was that the folks were about 20 pickers who were slaving away in the vineyard as we pulled up. At the house, Tony’s son Nic was preparing lunch with the help of a young woman who used to work at Chez Panisse. This was a very good sign. Tony immediately handed us two glasses glass of his first-ever (and outstanding!) rosé, while the guys and gals were wrapping up the morning’s work. Then the steaks were thrown on a open pit barbeque, and one ridiculously spectacular dish after another was laid out for the hard working crew. I gotta say, if there’s a wine heaven, it should be built on these specs. Gloriously sunny 85 degree day, food and wine fit for a king or queen, and exceptionally good, nice people. After lunch we waddled across the driveway to sample some new vintages, one better than the next. So good that I couldn’t resist buying a mixed case to bring back to the in-laws in Marin. If you’re at all into wines that taste really like the real deal, i.e. organic, biodynamic, un-messed with, true terroir, then these wines are for you.
As we hopped into our fire engine red Mustang convertible rental and drove off, Ellen and I couldn’t help but look at each other and grin from ear to ear. Now that’s how to “do the wineries” in Northern California.