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Scot Covington, Trione Vineyards and Winery

We just had a great time hosting Scot Covington, winemaker for the highly regarded Trione Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma. Trione is not a nationwide brand, they are known for their small lot productions. So, I ask what brings Scot to Asheville. "A very small plane," he says. 
 
Scot Covington has an extensive and commendable biography of experience. But, lets be honest here, what we wanted to know was why his name, "Scot" only has one "t." I know. I know. You are thinking shallow. Well, we will get to the wonky stuff but the explanation for the lonely "t" actually turns out to be interesting.
 
"My grandfather was Scottish from the Orkney Islands, a Scot" says Scot, "my father wanted my name to reflect our heritage." Hence, Scot. 
 
OK. Back to the bio. In the beginning when the Trione Family decided to work wine on their Home Ranch in Alexander Valley, they set out to find a one-stop shopping winemaker with design, construction and winemaking experience. WOW. That's a lot to ask. Enter Scot Covington.
 
Scot says: "The Trione Family basically gave me a blank piece of paper and said "design your winery." WOW, again. Scot designed a straightforward winery for small lots and "hands-on-winemaking.' Mission accomplished.
 
Scot brought years of experience and expertise to the challenge. After graduating with a degree in Enology from California State University, Scot worked in Sonoma County, South Africa and Australia. His mentors included Bill Bonnetti and Merry Edwards. I am tired of saying WOW, but WOW!
 
Trione sells grapes from their 650 acres to other wineries, some of the BIG names you would recognize, but Scot keeps the "top 3 percent" for Trione. That said, this is a good time for me to say that what you get in a Trione bottle will cost you more from one of the well known, mass marketed nationwide brands. Blind Tasting anyone?
 
While Scot respects Napa, let's be clear, he is a big proponent of Sonoma wines. We tasted 4 of Scot's Sonoma County Wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
 
The Sauvignon Blanc was the hit of the tasting. The style is a little more fuller bodied and a touch smoother than you would find in a bottle of the varietal from New Zealand. I asked Scot if his wine work in South Africa had any influence on the style of his Sauvignon Blanc. "Yes, definitely. This wine is stylistically between Marlborough and Loire."
 
The Chardonnay was lovely. If you like French, this bottle is for you. Scot recommends this Chardonnay with a "plate of salmon and mashed potatoes!" I might add a healthy dollop of butter and chives but that's just me....
 
Since there are literally zillions of bottles of domestic Pinot Noir, I asked Scot what he wants customers to know about his Pinot Noir."Trione Pinot Noir is classic Russian River with a core of deep black cherry fruit, forrest floor, leafy." What is the perfect food partner?"Wild mushrooms," says Scot.
 
The Cabernet 2011 was spectacular. Scot posts his notes about all of his wines on the Trione website. Awesome! About the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Block Twenty-One (reaad: here's your wonky stuff!):
 
Our Block Twenty One Cabernet is a selection from the Trione Cloverdale Ranch, located on the western flank of the Mayacamas Mountains, in the northern portion of Alexander Valley. The vines, planted in 2001 with Bordeaux clone #337, grow in clay and sandy loam soils underlain with a high percentage of gravel. Cabernet Sauvignon grown in this ideal terroir develops deep, concentrated flavors and fine, smooth tannins. Cases produced: 707 six-packs 
 
The wine is a classic Bordeaux blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 2% each of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Growing season 2011 was relatively cool, thus promoting slow ripening, full flavor development and complex structure. We hand-harvested and fermented each variety, then moved the wines to barrel, where they aged six months. Once we determined our blend, we returned the wine to barrel for an additional twelve months, to 'marry' the varietals. We used tight-grained French oak barrels (45% new) from coopers Taransaud, Vicard and Bossuet. Alcohol: 14.4 percent by volume TA: 6.41 g/l pH: 3.75 Tasting 
 
Notes: Complex aromas foretell rich flavors of black currants, allspice and a hint of clove. Full bodied with velvety texture, smooth tannins and an extensive finish, this Cabernet blend will age in the bottle 10 years.
 
 
Scot also does a Zinfandel for Trione. He says he consulted with Carol Shelton, the undisputed Goddess of Zin, about plantings for the Zinfandel. She and he nailed it.
 
I asked Scot, because I knew you would want to know!! if he does a Rose for Trione. Indeed he does. "100% Pinot Noir." We are working on bringing it to you.
 
And, settle down, I did ask if he had a dog. "I am in the process of adopting a liter of Brittany Spaniels." Scot promises to send pictures. In the meantime, we took a picture with a pinata just to get the excitement started. Now me, I would have figured Scot for a Scottish Terrier.
 
But that's just me.
 
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