Shutterstock/ Christian Delbert
The Trione Family has been growing grapes in Sonoma County since the early 80’s. Between Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley they farm 700 acres of premium grapes. In 2005, they decided to start a winery and hired winemaker Scot Covington to make that dream a reality. His experience was gleamed working in Australia, South Africa, and right at home in Sonoma County where he worked with local legend Merry Edwards among others. His involvement started all the way from designing the facility of his dreams to picking the specific blocks of fruit he wants to source for the wines. As it stands today, they use only 3 percent of their fruit and see the rest to other producers.
I have been drinking the Trione wines over a number of vintages now and they’ve been good from the first sip that hit ever hit my lips. As Scot has honed in on the fruit he has to work with, his barrel regimens, and the wines have become better and better. They stand today as some of the very best values in Premium Sonoma County Wines out there.
I recently sat and tasted through some of the current vintages and I found that the needle continues to tick upward. I urge you to seek out the wines below.
Trione Vineyards & Winery 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, $23
The fruit for the sauvignon blanc comes from their River Road Ranch vineyard in Russian River. They have this spot planted to clone number 1. The vines had fourteen years of age on them at harvest. The fruit was hand harvested, whole bunch pressed, and fermented with a wild South African yeast. It spent 4 months in neutral French oak. Grapefruit, lemon and bits of orange peel are each in play on a citrus leaning nose that also shows a gentle hint of grass. The palate here is full flavored, balanced and it showcases a range of characteristics. Tropical and stone fruit flavors are in play along with bits of continued citrus. Papaya and peach elements emerge on the finish along with white pepper and a hint of vanilla. This absolutely delicious example of sauvignon blanc is getting noticeably more refined each vintage.
Trione Vineyards & Winery 2010 Syrah, $30
Fruit for this Syrah came from a single block in the Russian River Valley. After being picked by hand the fruit was treated gently, using many of the manual techniques typical to pinot noir. 5 percent viognier was blended into to enhance aromatics. Dark fruits, hints of toast and a bit of mushroom are all part of the enticing aromatics here. The palate is studded with black and purple fruit flavors as well as copious spice elements. Minerals, bits of smoked meat, earth and chicory are all in play on the long and absolutely spectacular finish of this wine. What Scot has done with Syrah here is not only make a fine wine, he’s proved Syrah can absolutely crush it in Sonoma County when grown in the right spot and treated well in the winemaking process.
Trione Vineyards & Winery 2012 Pinot Noir, $39
Fruit for this Pinot Noir came from blocks planted to four distinct clones (#115, #777, Pomard, and UCD#37). This was made in small lots, using time tested methodology including open top tanks and manual punch downs. Aging occurred over 12 months in French oak (40 percent new). Earth and wild strawberry aromas dominate the inviting nose. A cornucopia of cherry flavors (both black and red) dot the palate along with lesser bits of raspberry and a nice wallop of savory herbs. Sour red and black fruits along with minerals are part of the above average finish. Perfect acidity and a round, lush mouthfeel are the things that really stand out about this fine example of pinot noir.
Trione Vineyards & Winery 2010 Red Wine, $50
This Bordeaux inspired blend is produced from fruit sourced from Estate properties in Alexander Valley. It’s composed of cabernet sauvignon (69 percent), merlot (12 percent), petit verdot (7 percent), cabernet franc (6 percent), and malbec (6 percent). Each varietal was fermented separately. Aging took place over 18 months in French oak; 40 percent new. Blueberry and plum aromas emerge from the nose. A core of blackberry fills the palate and is joined by other black fruits as well as hints of cinnamon and black pepper. Spur black plum, cherry, and heaps of earth are all in play on the terrific finish. Firm tannins and zippy acidity provide excellent structure.
Trione Vineyards & Winery 2011 Henry’s Blend, $54
Cabernets sauvignon (35 percent), merlot (34 percent), petit verdot (13 percent), cabernet franc (13 percent), and malbec (5 percent) were blended together to create this wine. All of the fruit is from Estate Ranches in Alexander Valley. Barrel aging occurred over 18 months in French oak; 40 percent new. Heady, somewhat brooding dark fruit aromas explode from the nose of this wine. Plum, blackberry and raspberry in differing amounts come together to form a bit of a compote like character on this layered and substantial palate. Extensive black cherry flavors and plenty of earth drive the long finish. Delicious now, this wine will age well over the next 6-8 years.
Trione Vineyards & Winery 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, $67
This single block Cabernet was made from fruit sourced at the Trione Cloverdale ranch on the western flank of the Mayacamas Mountains. This block was planted in 2001 to clone 337. In addition to Cabernet (85 percent), small amounts of Merlot (9 percent), and Cabernet Franc (2 percent) were also blended in. Each variety was fermented and barrel aged separately prior to blending then returned to barrel. Plum and earth aromas abound on the nose here. The palate is stuffed with cherry and continued plum characteristics as well as oodles of raspberry and blackberry. Black tea, chicory, and a lovely dustiness are all present on the long and remarkably persistent finish. This is a great example of cabernet, but more precisely of Alexander Valley Cabernet. It shines year after year.
The sky is the limit for Trione Vineyards & Winery. With access to a lot more fruit than they could ever reasonably use, they can grow their production in an organic manner as demand builds. And build it will, Trione is a dynamo winery on the rise. The combination of terrific Estate fruit, Scot’s touch which is well attuned to a broad range of grapes and styles from varying terroir sets them up beautifully. There’s a reason Trione Vineyards & Winery made our Top 101 Wineries in America list. Start drinking the Trione wines now, before their inevitable ascension to household name status makes the wines hard to get.