It was a fun day at Mueller’s Tasting Room in Healdsburg today. Bob and Lori Mueller rolled out an amazing array of Bob’s Russian River Valley library wines including their 2007 Chardonnay; 17 Pinot Noirs (ranging from 2003-2010); 2006 & 2007 Block Eleven Syrah; and 2006-2007 Old Vine Zinfandel. This is a friendly place, that reminds me of Cheers (everyone remembers your name).
I went in with a plan to taste an incredible offering of Pinot Noirs. But Maureen (their super-friendly, very knowledgeable tasting room manager) greeted me with the 2007 Chardonnay already poured, so, I thanked her and sat down with new friend, Shirley Mendoza to look over the library wines awaiting me.
I causally tasted the Chardonnay and the fruit was bright pears on the nose and continued into the middle palette with a full bodied mouth feel. I had to double check the year (thinking it was surely a more current vintage).
A quote on their website seemed to describe this wine very well “Every good movie, great novel, grand romance has something in common… balance. An engaging beginning, fine layered nuances in the middle, a satisfying finish.” Bob has been making this Chardonnay from the same Wente clones since 1991. Buy some of the 2007 and drink this all summer.
Now being a rookie, I have to choose my battles (wines) carefully, so as not to overwhelm my palate. This meant I passed on Mueller’s Syrah (the 2006 was Wine & Spirits 2011 Year’s Best Syrah) and their Old Vine Zinfandel (2007 Wine & Spirits 2011 Year’s Best Zinfandel) which was not an easy choice.
I instead went right for Emily’s Cuvée Pinot Noir (named for their daughter). I originally purchased the 2007 on release and 2003 (untried) as a library wine. The 2003 was in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 originally receiving a 93 point rating, but when James Laube tasted a few years later he upgraded to 96. Bob says to drink this wine now, but he didn’t need to encourage me. This wine has held up beautifully and still reminds me why I consumed every bottle I purchased so rapidly. Emily’s Cuvée is a very approachable pinot noir and if you don’t get any of their 2003, go for their 2011 which Restaurant Wine reviewed as “excellent plus/highly recommended.”
I then moved to Bob’s 2008 August Recher Pinot Noir (named for his grandfather) which was a Wine Spectator “Hot Wine” and rated 94 points. This was a new pinot in his library for me and I loved the blackberry nose that turned to a rich full-bodied mouth feel with a spicy oak finish. If you like a big, bold wine this one is for you. Mueller’s 2011 August Recher was rated by Restaurant Wine as “exceptional/very highly recommended.”
Regardless of what you like, I don’t think you will be disappointed with Mueller Wines. Bob makes many palette-pleasing options. Stop by and visit their Healdsburg tasting room and then visit Baci Cafe & Wine Bar which provided the fabulous food for this event and is a local favorite as well.
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