Cosentino Winery 7415 St. Helena Hwy. (Hwy. 29), (707) 944-1220. Tasting daily 10-5:30; no tour. Built in 1990, this winery produced the country's first designated Meritage wine. Referred to as The Poet, it is a marvelous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. In a barrel room tasting here (held daily at 10am, 12, 2pm, and 4), I learned about toasting French oak barrels and sampled a pricey 2009 Chardonnay from Bacigalupi Vineyard and a 2005 Cabernet from the Secret Clone Vineyard (it is said the vines for the latter were smuggled in from Parma, Italy). Bread sticks, cheese, and salami enhanced.
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image ©2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers