Winemaker Scot Covington and owner Denise Trione from Trione Vineyards join Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger on California Wine Country today, with Harry Duke and Tom Simoneau.
Before we get to Scot and Denise, Dan Berger has again brought some wine from his personal cellar. The first one is a 2008 Navarro Vineyards Muscat Blanc. Muscat is not a wine to keep in the cellar for 13 years, but this one was lost. Muscat is an aromatic white. This one is tasty although it is a bit past its prime. Sometimes if harvested late it can be sweet. This one is not very sweet though. It did get a gold medal the year it was released.
Scot Covington, winemaker
Scot Covington says he was lucky to break into the winemaking business. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College then finished his Bachelor’s degree at Fresno St. He got an internship at Sonoma-Cutrer and did some work in wine-producing countries in the southern hemisphere. The last harvest was his seventeenth at Trione.
The Trione family has been farming for three generations in Sonoma County. Denise’s grandfather Henry Trione came to the area in the late 1940s. In the 1970s the family started to purchase and develop vineyards. At one point they were the largest landowner of vineyard properties. They purchased Geyser Peak winery and after some changes in partnerships they sold it in 1998 and went back to growing grapes. After that they wanted to start a small winery to focus on the best of what they are already growing.
They sought Scot for his Russian River Valley resumé, although they also have properties in Alexander Valley. Tom Simoneau remembers that they produced the first boxed wine and others in big jugs. They kept the old stone building built in 1908, which has been renovated and is used for events, especially weddings. They have also built a new winery there. The property is perfect for outdoor tasting. They have planted an olive orchard on the north side of the property and there is a bocce court too. They are open for appointments, Thursday through Sunday, 11-4. It is located right off the 101.
They had a bonded winery number of 350, which they were able to get back, their original number was fifteen thousand seven hundred and something, and we are up to seventeen thousand now. Dan says that one advantage they have is that their vines are mature, even if some of the vines were planted since Scot started there.
Tasting Trione White Wines
After the break, they begin tasting a 2018 Russian River Chardonnay. Scot says this was a season of dreams and poets and songwriters will have much to describe. “It’s a perfect encapsulation of what Russian River Chardonnay can be.” It won a Gold Medal at the recent SF Chronicle wine competition. It has a bit of white peach, tangerine, citrus, it has a nice tartness. Dan Berger points out that it is young still, and the aftertaste is bright. It retails for $37. It is all barrel fermented and underwent malolactic fermentation. Denise gets hints of nutmeg in it. It has a clean finish even if it is from the oak style.
Next is the reserve Chardonnay. They started their reserve program in January of 2020, when they wanted to refocus on their vineyards. They have so many varietals that she did not want to lose focus on their favorite varietals and clones that they feel they do best, barrel select from only certain clones. It is still a Trione wine but with a new label.
Tasting Trione Red Wines
Their 2017 Pinot Noir comes from their Russian River Valley ranch. They have fine tuned this wine and there will be a reserve version of it too. This clonal selection of Pinot Noir has evolved and this is a blend of all the clones on that ranch. Tom Simoneau says it has a warm spicy character. It also won a Gold medal at the SF Chronicle competition. Dan Berger says this Pinot Noir is the heart of Russian River Valley and as a 2017 it is just getting into its prime.
Next is their Block 21 Cabernet. Alexander Valley Cabernets are getting some recognition now. Tom Simoneau says, “Wow!” It is a beautiful midnight purple color. Scot calls it their best example of Cabernet. This wine won a Double Gold Medal at the recent SF Chronicle competition.
The last wine is their Flat Ridge Zinfandel, her father’s pet wine. Sportsmen’s Ranch straddles Mendocino and Sonoma Counties, on a flat ridge near Rockpile, but not within its limits. This also won a Double Gold.