Sunday, February 3, 2013

Minery Family Winery, November 12, 2012

Winery - 6 / Wines - 7
Range:  1 to 9 (9 is best, 5 is average)
Second floor patio overlooking Oakville vineyards.  The Oracle is a must-try wine.

Following my own advice about where to observe the autumn color, I brought my mom to taste wine on the upstairs deck at Miner Family Winery.  The afternoon temperature was quite agreeable for a mid-November afternoon, so we tasted outdoors on the patio.  The view from the Silverado Trail overlooking the eastern Oakville vineyards of Rudd Estate and others was nearly magical with the sunshine shimmering off the golden hued vines below.  The winery sits a few feet up the hillside, and this extra elevation broadens the view. 
The autumn view of Oakville vineyards from Miner Family Winery.
I first discovered Miner Family when I was visiting another tasting room and asked for a little advice for my next stop.  I put up two options and Miner Family was the recommended choice (for “their consistency”).  So I headed to Miner Family and have been hooked ever since.  During my first visit they were pouring the 2003 vintage.  Since then, I have found their quality to be amazingly consistent across the vintages.  This time they were pouring the 2009 vintage.

Minery Family Winery on the Silverado Trail
As you approach Miner Family along the Silverado Trail, you notice the bold, off-white, minimalist architecture practically protruding from the hillside.  The stucco exterior diffuses the afternoon sunlight giving the building a soft glow.  The winery operations occupy the entire first floor – this is intentional to force its guests to take in the view upstairs.  For those unable to climb a gentle flight of stairs, there is an elevator to get you to and from the second floor.  Upstairs, a partially covered patio welcomes you with comfortable, elegant furnishings.  Enter the tasting room through the double doors, head for the tasting counter, get your first pour, and head back outside to take in the view and the wine.  The tasting room itself is painted in warm, neutral colors with a beautiful wood bar for tasting.  Just to the back of the tasting room are large glass windows providing an overhead view of the winery operations below:  on the left are the fermenting tanks, and on the right is the barrel room.

The second-floor patio at Miner Family where you can enjoy your wine and the view.
One part of the tasting experience that I really enjoy at Miner Family is that they pour their wines in varietal-appropriate glasses (albeit stemless).  Having experienced a Pinot Noir in both a Cabernet glass and a Pinot glass, I can say that it makes a noticeable difference.  The tasting menu is comprehensive, making selecting just four wines to taste a fun challenge.  We enjoyed the 2010 Sangiovese in a smaller glass, while the 2009 Merlot, 2009 Cabernet Franc, and 2009 Oracle were served in a larger (Bordeaux) glass.  When it comes to value, few wines perform better than this Sangiovese, but the Oracle is my personal favorite.  I bought a half-bottle to bring home.
Based on this experience, I would rate the winery as a 6 and the wines offered as a 7.  This is consistent with my previous visit.

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