Our buddy Barry Koslow (Executive Chef of Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar) set us up with two unforgettable private tours. We traveled over to Acorn Winery in Healdsburg to meet with Betsy & Bill Nachbaur (pictured to the right with Meghan in the middle). They showed us around their Alegria Vineyard and we marveled at the some 20 plus different types of grapes they were growing. Admittedly, these were not our favorite wines of the trip, but the vineyard is worth mentioning because of the informative and beautiful tour we were given.
From there, we drove about ten miles (top down in our rented red Mini Cooper Convertible) to Lauterbach Cellars. What can we say about Stew Lauterbach? First of all, for those of you who know Tim, you know about his unnatural obsession with the name Stu. Seriously, what's that all about. To make things just a bit more confusing, he now believes that his rightful name should be spelled like the great Dr. Lauterbach. Something about the greatest human name in the world mixed with food. But we digress. On to Stew. You know how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak supposedly built the first Apple computer in a garage? Well, Stew does the same thing, only with wine. This spry 60-something part-time emergency room doctor crafts Pinot Noir and Syrah in the garage of his rustic, vineyard-covered property. On a stepstool, brandishing a wine thief (a device used to taste wine from the barrel) that may have doubled as a turkey baster, he vaulted among several 30-gallon barrels to nab us generous samples of his upcoming vintages. In all, we must have tasted over 15 selections and we were starting to feel it, especially Meghan, who is still not comfortable with public expectoration (spitting). At one point, Stew had us taste from four separate Syrah barrels which individually tasted anywhere from extremely tannic to highly sulfuric, but when blended together formed a pleasant wine.