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07.29.09

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Phaedra

Tin Barn Vineyards

By James Knight

Yes. Like the similarly candid Ernie's Tin Bar (Swirl 'n' Spit, Dec. 6, 2006), Tin Barn is situated in a metal shed. This shed is some several magnitudes larger, the winery's sign plate hidden away in the midst of still more sheds, as remote and nowheresville as it gets in Sonoma. North of the Sonoma Skypark, east of the water treatment plant, it's picturesque, for sure—I'm thinking motion picture: the deserted industrial park, the sunbaked asphalt canyons and long, looming warehouses that go on for a half a day could easily backdrop a rendezvous scene involving fast cars and contraband freight. I only lacked for teardrop sunglasses.

The thing about warehouse wineries is that they're really all about the wine, that's no line. Inside Tin Barn, the theme is continued with a nicely styled, bright tasting area accented with corrugated metal roofing. In the cellar, I found the manager, cradling a small dog, leading an informative tour, but mindful that there was naught but tanks and barrels to see in the tidy warehouse, I ducked into the tasting room to beat the crowd. Wine club members were already bellying up to the bar, and soon the tour group spilled in. The surprisingly busy little place filled with an ensemble cast, including detached young urbanites and friendly older win- club types, but the plucky staff managed to keep my glass in the rotation.

The crisp and pleasant 2006 Sauvignon Blanc ($18) had a narrow pine resin aroma with a shade of tropical and Jolly Rancher with just a sliver of oak—boding well for the just-released 2008. The 2007 Pinot Noir ($34) was seasoned with coriander and allspice, and fresh raspberry with dried herbs, jelly and plum skin on a silky road to a dry finish. Odd hints of horse tail and violets introduced the 2004 Sonoma Coast Syrah Coryelle Fields Vineyard ($28), followed by jelly Danish, dark toasted oak and gym locker; in short, a fine Syrah with varietal interest. The clean, conserve aroma and high notes of red fruit and grape jelly make the 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Blend ($34) a simply enjoyable claret style quaff.

Alert: Eighth Street wineries hosts its annual open house on Saturday, Aug. 8. Tin Barn and neighboring warehouse dwellers Parmelee-Hill, Enkidu, Anaba, Three Sticks, MacRostie, Ty Caton and Talisman will roll up their doors for library tastings, new releases and barrel tastings. While some of these boutique operations have off-site tasting, others are not otherwise open to the public. Admission includes logo wine glass; BYO tear drop sunglasses. Tickets ($20) available at MacRostie Winery, 21481 Eighth St. E., Sonoma. 707.996.4480.

Tin Barn Vineyards, 21692 Eighth St. E., Ste. 340, Sonoma. Open Saturday–Sunday, 11am to 4pm. Tasting fee $6. 707.938.5430.


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