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Sonoma Wine Country
off Highway 101
7 Wine Tasting Trips plus 35 Tasting Room Reviews from Geyserville to Petaluma
A publication of
The Magazine of California Wine Country
TO THE MENDOCINO COAST
DUTCHER CR EEK
TO THE MENDOCINO COAST
David Caﬀaro J Rickards Bella Vineyards Pedroncelli Preston Vineyards Geyser Peak Zachichi CANYON RD Talty Palmeri . Yoakim Bridge Martin Amphora Raymond Burr Vineyards FORCHINI Terroirs Meeker Route 128 Winery Göpfrich PAPAPIETRO PERRY TRUETT HURST Kokomo Mercury Trione deLORIMIER WINERY Quivira Family* Michel-Schlumberger CLOS DU BOIS Unti Rued Francis Passalacqua Mounts F. TeldeschiMauritson Ford TRENTADUE A Rafanelli Coppola
FERRARI-CARANO DUTCHER CROSSING
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Robert Young Stryker Sonoma EXA ND Hawkes E Jordan R VALLEY SAUSAL Stuhlmuller Stonestreet White Oak Johnson’s
Amista Deux Amis Everett Ridge
Northern Sonoma Russian River
Duchamp Grove Street
MacPhail Mill Creek Vineyards De La ARMIDA Montanya
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Bradford Mtn Rochioli Arista Porter Creek Thomas George MOSHIN Copain Banyon Gary Farrell
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FOPPIANO CHRISTIE Limerick Lane ACORN Meitz CHRISTOPHER CREEK RODNEY STRONG J Wine MERRIAM DeNatale
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Alexander Valley Vineyards Hanna
Lancaster Estate Archipel
Chateau Felice Chalk Hill
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FERRARI-CARANO’S SEASONS OF THE VINEYARD KENDALL-JACKSON PROHIBITION – The Speakeasy Wine Club SEGHESIO SELBY TOPEL
Artiste Downtown Wine Front Street Wineries: • Camellia Cellars • Davis Family • Sapphire Hills • Holdredge Hauck Hawley Tasting Room & Gallery Hudson Street Wineries • Bluenose Wines • Grove Street • Owl Ridge • Sadler-Wells • Rocking Z Vineyard • Teira Gallo Family La Crema Lake Sonoma Longboard Vineyards Murphy-Goode Optima Rosenblum Cellars Stephen & Walker Thirty Four North Wine Merchant Thumbprint Toad Hollow Waterfront Tasting Room • J. Keverson • Christie • Hart’s Desire Williamson
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Occidental Road Atascadero Creek Graton Ridge
Dehlinger House Lynmar
Russian River Vnyds Iron Horse
Joseph Swan ESTATE Martinelli Pellegrini Harvest Moon
KENDALL-JACKSON WINE CENTER
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HOOK & LADDER
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Taft Street Winery
Balletto & Dutton-Goldﬁeld ENHanna
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D’Argenzio Cellars of Sonoma
Gourmet au Bay
Freestone Vineyards Guest Center
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Grey Stack Sable Ridge Matanzas Creek
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Travelling around Sonoma County
Travel Time miles (average) (Peak)
Sonoma Valley Portworks
Golden Gate Bridge to Petaluma Petaluma to santa rosa Downtown santa rosa to Healdsburg Healdsburg to Geyserville
33 17 16 8
45 25 20 15
60 40 30 15
Adobe Road Winery
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Sonoma Wine Country
off Highway 101
5 10 16 23 30 37 44 47
7 Wine Tasting Trips
Dry Creek Westside Road Eastside Bunch Alexander Valley Downtown Healdsburg Russian River Petaluma Index
35 Tasting Room Reviews from Geyserville to Petaluma
Acorn Winery Alderbrook Winery Armida Winery Christie Vineyards Christopher Creek Winery Clos du Bois deLorimier Winery Dry Creek Vineyard Dutton Estate Winery Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery Foppiano Winery Forchini Vineyards & Winery Geyser Peak Winery Hook & Ladder Winery Hop Kiln Winery Keller Estate Winery Kendall-Jackson Healdsburg Tasting Room Kendall Jackson Wine Center Martin Ray Winery Matrix Winery Merriam Vineyards Moshin Vineyards Papapietro Perry Prohibition – The Speakeasy Wine Club Rodney Strong Vineyards Russian Hill Estate Sausal Winery Seghesio Vineyards Selby Winery Simi Winery Sonoma Valley Portworks Suncé Winery Topel Winery Tasting Room Truett Hurst Trentadue 19 11 12 22 18 25 28 7 40 6 21 9 27 39 14 45 32 38 42 13 20 15 5 34 17 43 29 35 36 24 46 41 33 8 26
Cover Photo courtesy of Rodney Strong Vineyards Crown Vineyard ©AlanCampbellPhotography2010
A Publication of
669 Broadway, Suite B • Sonoma, CA 95476 P.O. Box 92 • El Verano, CA 95433
707-938-3494 Fax 707-938-3674
PUBLISHER Mike Giangreco Direct (707) 938-3734 email@example.com Chandra Grant Phone 707-938-1783 • Fax 707-938-3674 firstname.lastname@example.org Cathy Gore Phone 707-938-3494 • Fax 707-938-3674 Email email@example.com Introductions by Abigail Zimmerman Michelle Baker Charles Neave Nan Reiley Sue Straight, Wine Wench
LooK FoR US on FACEBooK!
Dry Creek Valley
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Dry Creek wine country is one of the smallest enclosed American Viticultural Areas in the nation, only 16 miles long and two miles wide. With 9,300 acres of vineyard along this beautiful valley’s floor, Dry Creek is a “must see” for first-time and veteran wine lovers. Dry Creek boasts 63 wineries producing a diverse range of wines from the famed Zinfandel to Bordeaux and even Mediterranean varietals. Don’t let its small size fool you… Dry Creek winemakers have been growing grapes and making great wines for more than 135 years! THINGS TO DO Lake Sonoma Hatchery 3333 skaggs springs road, Geyserville (707) 433-9483, www.parks.sonoma.net Located in the beautiful coastal foothills of Northern California, Lake Sonoma is surrounded by vineyards and land rich in history. Here, visitors can observe the operation of the hatchery and see displays which describe the life cycle of the coho salmon, steelhead and chinook. Open year round. Dry Creek Olive Oil, 4791 Dry Creek road, Healdsburg (707) 431-7200, www.DryCreekOliveCompany.com Rooted in traditions as rich as the Dry Creek Soil, Dry Creek Olive Oil Company is your destination for artisan, very fine, extra-virgin olive oils. PICNIC FARE Oakville Grocery, 124 matheson street, Healdsburg (707) 433-3200, www.OakvilleGrocery.com “Little Country Store” with overflowing shelves and a deli chock full of handmade, gourmet picnic items, the Oakville Grocery is an absolute MUST. Dry Creek General Store, (707) 433-4171 3495 Dry Creek road, Healdsburg So much more than just a corner store, established in 1881, this is also a full-service deli and beer garden with live music occassionally, spectacular views and a wealth of information on wine tasting, tours and even fishing! LODGING Grape Leaf Inn, 539 Johnson street, Healdsburg (707) 433-8140, www.grapeleafinn.com A picturesque Queen Anne Victorian bed and breakfast, the Grape Leaf Inn seamlessly blends modern decor with timeless antiques. Gracious staff provide the best hospitality in this relaxing, romantic environment. Hope Merrill & Hope Bosworth B&B 21253 Geyserville avenue, Geyserville (707) 857-3356, www.hope-inns.com Once an early stage-coach stop, these now two strikingly restored Queen Anne Craftsman homes welcome you with open arms. Truly where wine and romance intertwine!
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Hope Merrill/ Hope Bosworth House
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FORCHINI PAPAPIETRO PERRY Dry Creek TRUETT Olive Oil HURST AIN VER
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Papapietro Perry Winery
Ben and Yolanda Papapietro and Bruce and Renae Perry If you like Pinot Noir, a trip to their winery is simply a are living a wine country dream in Sonoma County’s Dry “must do” on your wine country visit. Where else can you Creek Valley. They are four good friends who have become find ten, count ’em, ten, single-vineyard-designated Pinot business partners in a small, very successful winery they Noirs? It’s more than likely that you have never heard of this created in the late 1990s. winery and you may have some Ben Papapietro, a native San lingering doubts about how good Papapietro Perry Winery Franciscan of Italian descent, the wines are. Never fear. Two of Open daily from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. grew up thinking that cooking America’s top wine publications, 4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg food and drinking wine were synThe Wine Spectator and The (707) 433-0422 • www.papapietro-perry.com onymous activities. In his Wine News, have consistently exploration of fine wines from rated the Papapietro Perry wines Pinot Noir (10), Zinfandel (2) around the world, Ben soon in the mid-to-high 90s (based on and small lot of Chardonnay honed in on his favorite varietal – a score of 100 points). FUN Wine was made in their garages in San Francisco Pinot Noir. In his work for the San Ben gets his grapes from RussFACT for 20 years as a hobby before opening a winery. Francisco Newspaper Agency, he ian River Valley and Anderson met Bruce Perry, who shared Ben’s Valley, two of the most prestigious love of good wine, and who was to become a fast friend. growing regions for Pinot Noir. He also pays tribute to the Ben was already an enthusiastic amateur winemaker when winery’s location in Dry Creek Valley by making two differthe two men had an opportunity to help in a Sonoma County ent Zinfandel wines from this warmer climate location. His grape harvest for Burt Williams, of the famous Williams- style goal is to present fruit-forward wines that express the Selyem Pinot Noir winery. Perhaps that experience help to individuality of the vineyards they come from. You have a propel them into a new career: they decided to take the delicious Pinot Noir and Zinfandel experience waiting for you. plunge and form their own winery. With wives Yolanda and The winery has picnic tables and bocce ball courts availRenae handling much of the business end of the winery, able, so you might want to bring a picnic lunch with you. Papapietro Perry Winery has made its home on a vineyard Or, you can stop at the Dry Creek General Store on the way and oak-studded hillside in Dry Creek Valley, sharing space and buy sandwiches and other picnic supplies. with several other small, family-owned wineries. BY NAN REILEY
Vineyards & Winery
6 Dry Creek Valley
Now you have two choices when tasting Ferrari-Carano Hospitality Department at (707) 433-6700. Private wine tastings in the PreVail Room are also availwines – visit Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Dry Creek Valley, or taste the wines in Healdsburg at Ferrari- able by appointment. Each tasting is designed to highlight Carano’s new Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique! the many nuances of wine in a fun and informative style, Visit the beautiful home of Ferrari-Carano wines, the spec- and include The Matchmaker wine and food pairing, tacular Italianate hospitality wine center, Villa Fiore, set in Chardonnay Lovers, The King of Reds, The PreVail Tasting and Scentiments, to name a few. the midst of the 70-acre Dry Creek Private tastings are $20 to $35. Valley estate vineyard. Here you Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery To schedule a private tasting, may taste the critically-acclaimed Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. call (707) 433-6700 or email Classic Wines at the Tasting Bar in firstname.lastname@example.org. the Villa Fiore Wine Shop, or head 8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, (707) 433-6700 downstairs to sample Limited ReFerrari-Carano’s Seasons of Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boulease and Reserve Wines in the Tuesday-sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed mondays Enoteca located in the undertique, located on the Healdsburg ground cellar. Stroll five acres of Plaza, offers visitors hand-picked 113 Plaza Street, Healdsburg, (707) 431-2222 beautiful gardens at your leisure, wine flights from the Ferrariwww.ferrari-carano.com and be sure to browse the Wine Carano and Lazy Creek Vineyards Shop where you’ll find wine counportfolio of wines. Here, cusFUN Plan extra time for this stop … there’s too try’s most distinctive gift selections, tomers may enjoy the easy, FACT much to see, taste and explore to be rushed! gourmet gift and wine packs, and relaxed atmosphere of tasting of course, the entire portfolio of Ferrari-Carano wines. wines as well as shopping for unique home décor gifts from If you’d like an in-depth look at Ferrari-Carano, reserve California’s wine country. Featuring exclusive collections inyour spot for the free winery tour. You will stroll through cluding Sandra Jordan Soft Peruvian Prima Alpaca™ and renowned gardens, see vineyards up close, perhaps catch one whimsical ceramics by Carlo Marchiori, as well as classic Italof the winemaking team or cellar crew hard at work, view ian ceramics from Vietri, Fortunata and Modigliani, Don and Rhonda Carano’s personal wine cellar, and visit the decorative table runners and pillows, and other home acEnoteca Lounge and Villa Fiore tasting rooms. After the tour, cessories, visitors will certainly find something to remind you are invited to taste Ferrari-Carano wines at the Tasting them of their time spent in wine country. If you’re looking Bar or in the Enoteca Lounge. Winery tours are by appoint- for a venue for a private group tasting, the beautiful Back ment, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. To schedule your Room is perfect for up to 30 people. Your tasting may be tour, email email@example.com, or call the customized to include chocolates, cheeses or small bites.
Dave Stare, Don & Kim Wallace
Dry Creek Vineyard
When you drive through beautiful Dry Creek Valley in standing Fumé Blanc and Chenin Blanc (the only wine whose northern Sonoma County, you will see that the entire valley grapes come from outside Sonoma County), Dry Creek now floor is covered with vineyards. It’s quite obvious what the makes many other varieties, including excellent Chardonnay, economy here is all about! But if you were passing through in Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel as well as a few 1972, you’d have found a few prune orchards and not much single-vineyard-designated wines. Many of these wines are else in the way of agriculture. One man changed all that – available only at the tasting room, so treat yourself to a visit well, at least he started the wave of to the pioneer winery of Dry change in the valley to wine-grape Creek Valley. Dry Creek Vineyard growing. The path to the winery’s tastOpen daily 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dave Stare, founder of Dry ing room meanders through 3770 Lambert Bridge Road, Healdsburg Creek Vineyard, can be charactershady lawns dotted with picnic (707) 433-1000 • www.drycreekvineyard.com ized as a man of tenacity and tables. After 35 years, the winery’s Chenin Blanc, Fumé Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, vision, unafraid to experiment to stone walls are covered with soft Chardonnay, Petite Zin Rosé, Zinfandel, create a new future. A lover of moss and clinging vines, stately Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Loire Valley French wines, Dave’s and serene. Inside the tasting vision was to make excellent Fumé room, you’ll see many photos and FUN Check the website for a downloadable Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) and illustrations of sailing boats, and FACT two-for-one tasting coupon. Chenin Blanc in Loire Valley style sailing boats are the primary in California. His new winery, Dry Creek Vineyard, was the illustration on the winery’s labels, reflecting a life-long passion first to be built in the valley since the era of Prohibition. He for sailing shared now by three generations of Stares and Walhad no one else’s expertise or experience to draw on, and laces. You might also notice glamorous photos of Kim Wallace many predicted that he would fail, but failure was not in Dave in the company of blockbuster movie stars, because for the Stare’s makeup. His young daughter Kim was with him to past 10 years, Dry Creek Vineyard has been the official wine help turn over the first shovel of dirt for the winery’s foun- poured at the annual red-carpet Screen Actors’ Guild award dation, and she is still side-by-side with her father as she and ceremonies. husband Don Wallace have become the second generation of Do-not-miss wines include the highly acclaimed 2008 the family to carry on the tradition of fine wines made from Fumé Blanc and the delicious 2006 Somers Ranch ZinfanSonoma County grapes. del. Chilled wines are available for your after-tasting picnic on Although the winery’s flagship wines are still the out- the lawn. BY NAN REILEY
Dry Creek Valley
Truett Hurst Winery
Nestled in the heart of Dry Creek Valley is a very special of the wine come into a perfect state of balance. Their style estate called Truett Hurst. As you drive in, the permanent … big, bold, textured wines with lots of jammy fruit and sheep and goat pasture, complete with an under the road tun- spice. nel, are the first indication that this is not your average winery. You can savor these wines in one of the most comfortable The vineyards, flanked by little habitat islands for birds and and relaxing wineries in the valley. You have a choice of beneficial insects, contain lots of Adirondack chairs down by the occupied bluebird and owl boxes. creek where you may be lucky Truett Hurst Winery Maintaining biodiversity and habienough to see Steelhead or Coho Open Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tat are part of the philosophy salmon. If you prefer, you can underlying Biodynamic® farming, hang out on the patio and listen to 5610 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg which they adhere to. The orchard, music while viewing the sublime (707) 433-9545 • www.truetthurst.com featuring beautiful 60-year-old scenery of Dry Creek. You may Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and a few other treats. olive trees, the four-acre chef’s want to enjoy a picnic or a slow garden and pristine creekside land lunch in the olive grove. If this is FUN A 60-year-old olive grove, 4-acre chef’s garden all contribute to both the aesthetic not enough, you can be served by and a beautifu Dry Creek (which is never dry) FACT are all part of the estate. and biodiversity of the estate. the friendly wine pourers who will Their commitment to responsimake you feel right at home in ble stewardship of this property is matched by the passion their inviting tasting room. Most Saturdays they have live with which they handcraft award-winning Zinfandel and music from some of the finest local musicians who deliver Petite Sirah wines. everything from a jazzy-swing vibe, to a third-world grove to The wines are made by fermenting grapes in small, open Americana to some of your favorite classic tunes from the ’50s, top stainless steel fermentors. The grapes are punched down ’60s and ’70s. There may even be something from the grill to during fermentation, rather than pumped, to minimize shear- munch on while you take in the whole experience. ing of the skins and seeds. This allows for gentle extraction of The tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. color and flavor components, while avoiding extraction of Tell them in the tasting room that Luci the black goat sent bitter tannins. The wines are then barrel aged in approxi- you and you can taste the special Zinfandel that’s named mately 30% new French oak, until the flavors and structure after her.
8 Dry Creek Valley
Forchini Vineyards & Winery
Forchini Vineyards has been growing premium varietal Just north of Healdsburg, a few miles out Dry Creek Road is a very special place, where you’ll feel like part of wine grapes since 1971. There are two properties – the the family. Turn at the Bacchus sign, drive up the narrow, Dry Creek Bench (where the winery and tasting room are winding, rosemary-edged driveway and you’ve arrived at located) is comprised of 67 acres and is planted to CaberForchini Vineyards & Winery. You’ll be greeted by at least net Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carignane, Petit Verdot two happy, tail-wagging dogs, which will escort you to the and Zinfandel, with 13 acres of 100-year-old Zinfandel remaining. The Russian River tasting room. Terrace is comprised of 24 acres Forchini Vineyards & Winery Forchini Vineyards & Winery and is planted to Chardonnay, is a family-run winery that proOpen Friday-sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and duces only estate grown and 5141 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg Zinfandel, with four acres of 90bottled wines. Owned by Jim and (707) 431-8886 • www.forchini.com year-old Zinfandel remaining. Anita Forchini, Jim is the wineThe winery was built in 1996 maker, Andrew Forchini is the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and produces 3000 cases per vineyard manager, Michael and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel year. Carla Forchini lend a hand with FUN Bring a lunch to compliment your tasting and Let’s talk about the wines – I marketing, special events and tastFACT be surrounded by the beautiful vineyards, rose tasted two wines during my visit ing room. You can’t get more gardens, Italian fountains and exceptional views. and they were both excellent! family-operated than that! The 2007 Pinot Noir, PropriThe building, surrounding picnic area and vineyards look as if they are right out of an etor’s Reserve is a classic, with aromas and flavors of black Italian landscape – stucco walls, tile roofs, splashing foun- cherry, strawberry, baking spices and vanilla, all wrapped tains, flower gardens and vineyard-striped hills delight the up in a silky-smooth mouthfeel. The 2006 Old Vine Zinsenses. Just wait until you taste the wines – then your fandel, Proprietor’s Reserve is also wonderful, with abundant blackberry, raspberry, bramble and peppery senses will be delighted even further! Once inside the main building, you feel as if you are in spice aromas and flavors. It is big and bold in the mouth someone’s comfortable home. There is a large dining room, and almost too easy to drink! You really should visit this beautiful, comfortable, with a table ready to serve eight, a fully appointed kitchen, an office and the tasting room, which is decorated in warm delicious winery! The tasting room is open 11 a.m. 4 p.m. tones, with faux-painted walls, wood flooring and a gran- Friday – Sunday and by appointment. For more inforite-topped oak bar. Behind the bar, a portrait of Bacchus, mation, call (707) 431-8886 or visit their website at www.forchini.com. BY SUE STRAIGHT, THE WINE WENCH the god of wine, is the central focus of the tasting room.
Dry Creek Valley
Westside road is, quite literally, one of the most recommended routes to take for wine tasting in this russian river valley ava. Westside road is slow and winding, filled with redwood trees, heritage oaks with moss beards and famous vineyards. should you wish to slow down and experience wine country up-closeand-personal, Westside road is your road.
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SHOFFEITT’S Off the Square
THINGS TO DO Shoffeitt’s off the Square 208 Healdsburg avenue, Healdsburg (707) 433-5556 • www.shoffeittsoffthesqure.com This is a shopping mecca of antiques, collectibles, local arts and gifts, as well as fine & custom jewelry. “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” ... the building goes on forever! Dragonfly, 425 Westside road, Healdsburg (707) 433-3739, www.dragonflyfloral.com By appointment only, this is a unique botany and flowerlover's destination. They can custom pick and arrange flowers. Wohler Bridge, 9765 Wohler road, Forestville A true Sonoma County landmark, Wohler Bridge is one of the few old-old-OLD bridges left in California. This steel truss bridge crosses the Russian River at quite a beautiful spot, too.
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LODGING Madrona Manor, 1001 Westside road, Healdsburg 1-800-258-4003, www.madronamanor.com A world-class destination for guests seeking gracious service and luxurious accommodations in the heart of wine country. Oh yes... "Rated #1 in Napa & Sonoma" by Travel & Leisure... Need we say more? Farmhouse Inn, 7871 river road, Forestville (707) 887-3300, www. Farmhouseinn.com Representing the finest level of Sonoma inns, restaurants and Spas, sublime guestrooms, farm-fresh food, and seasonal body treatments come together for one unforgettable experience. DINING Farmhouse Inn Restaurant, 7871 river road, Forestville (707) 887-3300, www.farmhouseinn.com Tucked into one of the smallest, lovely towns in wine country, the Farmhouse Inn boasts an exquisite restaurant. Each plate by Chef Litke tells the story of Sonoma's diverse agriculture and artisan producers.
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The scene is the corner of Westside Road and Kinley fandel from several different vineyards in Dry Creek, plus esDrive in Healdsburg, on the edge of Dry Creek Valley. An tate and old vine fruit. Parker uses just 25-30% new French array of red-colored flags line the southwest corner, marking oak, saying “I don’t want the oak flavors dominating the prothe spot where some of Sonoma County’s best Zinfandel is files. By keeping all the things the same for the most part, I want the vineyard site to show through.” flowing. If you are tracking your wine buying more closely in this The spot is Alderbrook Winery, a family-owned venture soft economy, the quality to price that has been flying its welcome ratio at Alderbrook is sky high. flags at this well-traveled corner for Alderbrook Winery Factor in the savings after you many years. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. leap into the Alderbrook wine Alderbrook is something of a 2306 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg club (with 20% off wine shipnirvana for Zinfanatics who want as ments and a staggering 30% off many different Zins as there are (707) 433-9154 when you reorder in the first 45 days in the week. Alderbrook offers www.alderbrook.com days after your club shipment ara selection of five vineyard-desigCarignane, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Zin Port rives), and you’re covered for nated Zinfandels, each with its own everyday wines at less than $15 a personality. For the seventh day, FUN Alderbrook Tasting Room carries delicious bottle as well as highly-rated Alderbrook has a snazzy Zin/Syrah FACT picnic goodies as well as elegant gift items. weekend or special occasion blend called “Confluence,” and for wines for about $20 to $25 per dessert, a Zin Port. All of the Alderbrook Zins come from Dry Creek Valley, bottle. These winery-exclusive wines are available in the tastwhich has a history of growing and producing Zinfandel that ing room and through the wine club only. Alderbrook has a fantastic porch out front or a verdant is 135 years long. Many of the earliest immigrants to Sonoma County who settled in Dry Creek Valley after the Gold Rush lawn out back with picnic tables and umbrellas where you brought with them grapevine cuttings, including Zinfandel. can enjoy a picnic and a bottle of one of Alderbrook’s Zins. Most of the oldest vines in Dry Creek Valley are Zinfandel, If you don’t want to lug around your own picnic all mornand some are as much as 125 years old. In fact, driving ing, check out the tasting room’s supply of lunch munchies: through Dry Creek Valley you can see some of these old prosciutto and other deli meats, a selection of cheeses and vines, easily distinguishable for their appearance as bushy crackers, and an assortment of dips. After your picnic, don’t miss the fabulous array of housewares and unique wine gifts shrubs in the summer and barren stumps in the winter. Winemaker Bryan Parker, now heading into his seventh to take home as mementos of your wine country vacation. BY MICHELLE J. BAKER harvest at Alderbrook, has the luxury of working with Zin-
“Wines to remember in a place you’ll never forget…” ies. A full-sized wooden Indian gazes solemnly at visitors as That’s how the folks at Armida Winery describe what they’re they sip, swirl and shop. Against the back wall, a glass-fronted all about. I must agree – I’ve been a fan for years. Armida refrigerator is well stocked with cheeses, hummus and other Winery is definitely an unforgettable place! picnic fare. This is a really great place to have a picnic! Located not far from Healdsburg on Westside Road, Armida Winery is a popular stop along the wine road, beArmida Winery sits atop a vineyard-striped knoll. Wind your cause the tasting room is unique, the views are stunning, way up the driveway and you are these folks really know how to in for a real treat! To start with, the show visitors a good time and the Armida Winery views from the oak-shaded wines ROCK! Let’s talk about the Open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. deck/picnic area and bocce court wines – I just had to taste the 2201Westside Road, Healdsburg are unforgettable – the Russian 2008 PoiZin “The wine to die (707) 433-2222 River Valley unfolds before your for.” It is a classic Zinfandel, www.armidawinery.com eyes in a glorious patchwork of loaded with aromas and flavors of vineyards, trees and hills. The winripe blackberry, plum, caramel Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Barbera, ery itself is a geodesic dome, the and peppery spice, with a big, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, PoiZin practical reason, according to rich mouthfeel and long, juicy FUN Take advantage of the bocce courts overlooking finish. The bottle is really cool, Buckminster Fuller, would be that FACT rosebeds, ponds, vineyards and the valley below. too – it’s black, with a red skull“The sphere uses the ‘doing more Bring a picnic and enjoy it with Armida wines. with less’ principle in that it enand-crossbones label. I also tasted closes the largest volume of interior their 2006 Durrell Vineyard Pinot space with the least amount of surface area, thus saving on Noir, which was another delicious, varietally correct wine. materials and cost.” The Armida reason is “’cause it looks The nose drew me in, with hints of rose, violet, cherry and cool.” baking spices. These aromas continued as flavors in the ohThe tasting room is light, bright and airy feeling, with an so-silky mouth and on through the finish. Yum! octagonal shaped wooden bar that is staffed by friendly and Be sure to visit this unforgettable place and tell them The knowledgeable servers. PoiZin (Armida’s signature Zinfandel) Wine Wench sent you! is everywhere in the artfully merchandised tasting room – Armida Winery is located on Westside Road, just outside casket-shaped cases and numerous displays offer a wide array of Healdsburg. Check them out on Facebook or Twitter. of PoiZin T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other non-wine goodBY SUE STRAIGHT, THE WINE WENCH
Ken and Diane Wilson, the prolific proprietors of Matrix Combining the talents of winemakers Diane Wilson and AnWinery and other premier Sonoma wineries, founded Matrix toine Favero, Matrix wines have the chance to experience that Winery so they could expand their well-documented passion balance. But of course you must taste those wines to fully underfor Stuhlmuller Reserve Chardonnay, two different Zinfandels (Russian River and Dry Creek), Pinot Noir (five of them), stand. Matrix is one of those wineries that makes Sonoma and the classic Matrix Bordeaux Blend, Dry Creek Valley. The County so special and, at the same time, delightfully surprising. Set at the top of a rise grapes they source come from the perhaps a hundred yards from winery’s estate vineyards on the Matrix Winery one of the county’s most scenic western edge of the Dry Creek ValOpen daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. wine trails, Westside Road, about ley, often mountainous land that ten or maybe 15 minutes from produces grapes with intense yet 3291Westside Road, Healdsburg my favorite town of Healdsburg, balanced fruit. (707) 433-1911 • www.matrixwinery.com it is a discovery, a find, a little The Wilson family – and this is Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, treasure you simultaneously want very much a family operation – Bordeaux Blend, Zinfandel to share as much as you want to owns a total of 280 acres of planted keep it all to yourself. vineyards and are committed to In the tasting room itself – sustainable farming, which they FUN At Matrix, guests have been seen hula hooping, a building that might best be believe adds significantly to the FACT blowing bubbles, picnicking, even picking fruit! described as designed in the very wines that bear their labels. The Wilsons started planting grapes in Sonoma almost stylish barn style (a compliment; this is an agricultural area three decades ago and the vineyards, as they are today, are after all) – the panoramic views encompass hills and vines to both unexpected and diverse. This diversity offers the wine- the right, a pond and more hills and trees below the sweepmakers of Matrix the ability to hand-select grapes from estate ing terrace in the front, and off to the left the famed wine vineyards, and not just vineyard block by vineyard block, but region known as the Russian River Valley. Tastings – whether inside at the bar with the wall of winsometimes even row by row. For a winemaker committed to dows behind or out on the terrace beneath the brightly quality, this is the ultimate gift. As they say at the winery “Passion and excellence are in- colored umbrellas – are fun, informal and informative. Ask tertwined and essential for any winery dedicated to producing about the hula-hoops. They may have nothing to do with the premium quality wines.” And, by the way, these are wines that art of making fine wine, but they are another small expression continually, consistently and deservedly won medals in virtu- of what makes a visit to this winery so unique. BY CHARLES NEAVE ally every wine competition in which they are entered.
Hop Kiln Winery
In the words of the very nice people at Hop Kiln Winery, Competition. With a very limited production, most of the it is all about “Honoring the past, and handcrafting the fu- wines are sold at the winery or through their very popular ture.” When you start with a 250-acre piece of prime wine clubs, including the new HKG Collection with its long property located within Sweetwater Springs Historic lists of benefits and access to some spectacular bottlings, District, add a structure that dates back to 1905 (California many of them in very limited production. You may also enjoy the Hop Kiln Chardonnay, Historic Landmark # 893), and then you have it positioned Sauvignon Blanc, the pleasantly in Sonoma County’s fabled fruity Thousand Flowers or the Russian River Valley, well, you Hop Kiln Winery versatile Rosa Bellissima. Or for pretty much have it all. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the reds: an aromatic Grenache, The ranch property became a the rare full-bodied Malbec, an viticultural mecca in 1975, when 6050Westside Road, Healdsburg aptly-named Big Red or the grapes, not hops (as in beer, the (707) 433-6491 Syrah/Grenache blend fancifully original crop that was mainly hopkilnwinery.com called Rushin’ River Red. All shipped to the brewmasters of HKG Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of them at an exceptionally Washington State) became the Hop Kiln Thousand Flowers, Big Red and Malbec reasonable price. crop and the original kilns beOne treat is to buy a bottle came working space for a winery FUN Hop Kiln also features mustards, oils, vinegars, of a favorite, get some artisan and a comfortable, casual tasting FACT pestos, vinaigrettes and dessert sauces. cheese and meat from the deli room. An enlargement of the tastcase, a loaf of bread (they ing bar, to be unveiled this supply glasses, cutting board and knife) and sit outside by spring, will provide an exciting personalized experience. Every weekend throughout the year there are up to 60 the pond. You can watch the waterfowl land, look out over of their award-winning gourmet products to sample, from the property and relax. Be sure to bring your camera to a staggering array of locally made mustards to grapeseed capture the three drying towers, silhouetted against the sky, oil, chocolate wine truffles, pesto sauces and more … every the fragrant beauties in the rose garden and the miniature replica of the winery floating in the pond serving as a duck one of them first-rate. But of course you go there first for the wines produced rest. It is the perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon, and from Hop Kiln’s prime real estate under the HKG label. Both unfiltered, there is the complex Sonoma Chardonnay and a think about how things have changed over the last century delicious, classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that recently at this historic property, and all for the better, year after BY CHARLES NEAVE took a “Gold” medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine year.
Wineries have been present here since the early 1800s local artists. Exhibits change frequently and can feature and are almost without exception unpretentious in ap- anything from oils to photographs to a quilt collection. Rick’s wines are the best reason to visit Moshin Vinepearance and serious about good winemaking. A perfect example of this is Moshin Vineyards on Westside Road. yards. The new winery saw its first harvest and crush in This winery is the dream come true of Rick Moshin, a for- 2005, and Rick is now making Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, mer professor of mathematics at San Jose State University. Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Sirah as well as a proprietary red wine called He fell in love with the valley Promoshin and a white dessert more than 20 years ago and, with Moshin Vineyards wine called Moshin Poshin No. the help of his family, managed to Open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. • Tours by appointment 7, names that tell you Rick has buy a 10-acre Pinot Noir vinefun making fine wines. One of yard. The years he spent teaching 10295Westside Road, Healdsburg the most fascinating parts of in San Jose and making wine 120 (707) 433-5499 • www.moshinvineyards.com your tasting experience at miles to the north kept Rick movPinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moshin will be to taste his Pinot ing like a “train going downhill Merlot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel Noir wines from different rewith no brakes” according to his gions in Sonoma County. This sister Janet, who is a co-propriprovides a dramatic example of etor of the winery. how soil and climate differences But those days are over now: can change the character of a Rick purchased a five-acre propwine, but all are delicious. Anerty in 2000 and here has built other star is Rick’s 2007 Russian his own wine production facility, River Valley Chardonnay, a silky, a four-tier gravity flow system FUN Schedule a tour of the winery and see luscious wine with notes of pear that enables him to make his FACT how Rick’s gravity-flow system works! and apple and a rich caramel wines with gentle handling and aroma that comes from barrel minimal intervention. In keeping with the local tradition of living in harmony with the land, aging in French oak. The tasting room staff is welcoming and knows almost Rick constructed his tasting room using 100-year-old barn wood for its facing and a countertop for the bar made from everything about the secluded area – where to stay, where a fallen black walnut tree. The tasting room is a small, to eat and how to get from here to there. You can schedule cheerful room with a flooring of glazed tile squares and a tour of the winery, too, to see how Rick's gravity-flow BY NAN REILEY white walls that are covered with art work (for sale) by system works.
The "eastside Bunch" (as they call themselves) are eight topflight wineries located close together along the eastern stretch of the russian river in sonoma County. specializing in Pinots, cool-climate syrahs, and that famous Zinfandel, the eastside Bunch represents some of the finest winemaking and culinary talents in all of Northern California. Don't miss the annual summer Fest open house for a kick-butt good time!
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THINGS TO DO Powell’s Sweet Shoppe 322 Center st., Healdsburg (707) 431-2784, www.powelsss.com Remember yesterday, today! An old time, old fashioned candy, ice cream and sweets shop sure to delight your child within! This is the first shop for Powell's now beloved franchise. Riverfront Regional Park 7821 eastside rd, Healdsburg, (707) 565-2041 Once an old quarry, Riverfront Regional Park is now home to two sparkling lakes perfect for swimming and non-motorized boating...or hike a trail through serene redwood groves! Rodney Strong Vineyards 11455 Old redwood Highway, Healdsburg 1-800-678-4763, www.rodneystrong.com Join visitors and locals alike on the lawn outside Rodney Strong Vineyards for warm summer evenings, good food, great wine, and a variety of musical guests. Look for the summer 2010 line-up in May! Russian River Valley Produce 400 Grapevine lane, Healdsburg, (707) 433-7933 A four-acre, family-owned ranch, Russian River Valley Produce farms top-notch vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers sure to brighten any palate and table. Excellent farm tours by appointment. The best of California farming! FOOD Giorgi’s Restaurant 25 Grant street, Healdsburg, (707) 433-1106 Great family-style Italian restaurant…pasta and hand-thrown pizzas. Has a full bar, open late and food available to go. Gilardi's Delicatessen 810 Den Beste, Windsor, (707) 838-9869 Certainly a vine above the rest! Feast on homemade lasagna and freshly baked sourdough garlic breads. LODGING Country Garden Inn, Healdsburg (707) 431-8630, www.hcountrygardens.com Three fully-equipped, affordable vacation homes located on a 25-acre wine country estate boasting spectacular gardens. Located just 1½ miles from charming downtown Healdsburg.
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Rodney Strong Vineyards
These days, the tasting room is still very busy. Tours are ofRodney Strong Vineyards is an historical, architectural treasure of a winery, located just south of Healdsburg. Built in fered by appointment and a variety of wines is available for 1970, the winery building is somewhat pyramid shaped and tasting. Tasting fees are either $10 or $15, depending on the wines. The room is bright and airy, the staff is cheerful and inwas constructed as a tribute to beauty and efficiency. The front entrance to the winery is a treat for the senses; formative and a tasteful selection of wine-related gifts is a fountain burbles merrily at the base of the steps, the air is artfully displayed around the room. The atmosphere is one of understated elegance, with a scented with roses and jasmine splash of education thrown in for from planters lining the walkway, Rodney Strong Vineyards good measure. and the building is just so danged Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rodney Strong Vineyards concool. tinues to evolve over the years. I will always have a soft spot in 11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg One development is what proprimy heart for Rodney Strong Vine1-800-678-4763 • www.rodneystrong.com etor Tom Klein calls “a winery yards because the wines are always Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, within a winery.” Rodney Strong wonderful, Rodney Strong was a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Port Vineyards has always owned exwine industry pioneer, as well as cellent vineyards. Now the focus being a scholar and a gentleman, FUN Look for the huge rebate check from PG&E for is on site-specific vineyards and and well, I started my career there FACT $2,164,403.00 for the installation of the largest making small lots of vineyardmore than 28 years ago. Geez – solar electric system ever realized by a winery. designated wines that reflect their that’s a long time! own unique terroir. Things have certainly changed This season, Rodney Strong Vineyards and Omega Events over the past 27 years. When I started my wine industry career at Rodney Strong Vineyards, the winery was under present the 20th Annual Summer Concert Series. Enjoy different ownership and called Sonoma Vineyards. Windsor breathtaking views, wine tasting and sizzling jazz! SurVineyards shared the space. Back then, the tasting room was rounded by acres of beautiful vineyards, guests will be treated set up with several small tables and the apron-clad staff (my- to some of the top performers in contemporary music while self included) ran around the busy room, pouring a generous picnicking at the winery’s intimate concert venue, The Green. The Collectors Circle, Rodney Strong Vineyards’ wine selection of wines from both wineries. Sonoma Vineyards specialized in estate grown, vineyard designated wines and club, has more than 2000 happy members that receive quarWindsor Vineyards (which also featured estate grown, vine- terly wine shipments and discounts on wines and events. yard designated wines) specialized in wines with personalized Club members also enjoy special receptions at the summer concert series. BY SUE STRAIGHT, THE WINE WENCH labels.
Christopher Creek Winery
Charming. It’s a good word – almost the perfect word – to cultural practices they employ and the quality of the grapes. “The best wines in the world are made in the vineyard,” use when you describe Christopher Creek Winery. says Crowell. “The main job of The winery is owned by the the winemaker is to take care of Wasserman family who, in addiChristopher Creek Winery the grapes and protect what tion to their grape growing and Open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mother Nature has given. That’s winemaking venture, have a long 641 Limerick Lane, Healdsburg our philosophy... and the proof is history of farming in California’s (707) 433-2001 • www.christophercreek.com in the bottle.” Central Valley where they have To taste their superb wines, farmed oranges for the past 37 Syrah, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Port, head to the tasting room. Christoyears. They adamantly believe that Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier pher Creek is comfortable – even that growing the highest quality Cellar Club: 3 shipments/year, choice of wines, 20% oﬀ cozy – and indisputably rustic. As grapes possible must be the main a result, it’s sometimes tough to focus if you want to produce truly FUN 2006 Estate Bottled Reserve Petite Sirah has tell where the tasting room ends great wines. FACT received Best of Class twice and Double Gold and the serious business that conThey, and their winemaker, Todd Crowell – a Texas native and graduate of Texas A&M – stitutes a working winery begins … which merely adds to the BY CHARLES NEAVE understand and appreciate the fine balance between the agri- charm.
Recent Winery Awards
TASTERS GUILD WINE COMPETITIONS • 2006 Dry Creek Finlay's vineyard Cabernet sauvignon – DOUBle GOlD (all JUDGes vOTeD GOlD) • 2007 russian river estate Bottled reserve Petite sirah – GOlD • 2007 russian river Catie's Corner viognier – GOlD • 2007 Dry Creek Zinfandel – GOlD • 2006 russian river Zinfandel – GOlD • 2006 russian river estate Bottled reserve Petite sirah – DOUBle GOlD (all JUDGes vOTeD GOlD) • 2005 Dry Creek Finlay's vineyard Cabernet sauvignon – GOlD RIVERSIDE INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITIONS • 2007 russian river estate Bottled reserve Petite sirah – Chairman’s award (all JUDGes vOTeD GOlD) • 2006 Dry Creek Finlay's vineyard Cabernet sauvignon – GOlD • 2006 russian river estate Bottled reserve syrah – GOlD SONOMA COUNTY HARVEST FAIR • 2005 Dry Creek Finlay's vineyard Cabernet sauvignon – GOlD • 2006 russian river estate Bottled syrah – GOlD • 2007 russian river Catie's Corner viognier – GOlD NEW WORLD INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITIONS • 2005 russian river estate Bottled syrah – BesT OF Class (all JUDGes vOTeD GOlD) These wines are all available for purchase.
PACIFIC RIM WINE COMPETITIONS • 2006 russian river estate Bottled reserve Petite sirah – BesT OF Class (all JUDGes vOTeD GOlD)
Bill & Betsy Nachbaur
“Estate-grown, sustainably-farmed, field-blended – do not miss a visit to this jewel of a winery! “Alegria” is the vineyard name at Acorn – the Spanish wines” is the slogan at Acorn Winery. In my humble opinion, they should also add unpretentious, friendly, translation is “happiness,” and the name “Acorn” comes educational and delicious to their descriptive notes. This from the majestic oak trees on the property – meaning small, family-owned and operated winery produces from small beginnings comes mighty results. I must tell some excellent wines. And they are really nice folks, too! you from personal experience, the wines are mighty fine at Acorn! I had the pleasure of tastLocated just south of Healdsing a few wines during my visit. burg on Old Redwood Highway, Acorn Winery They were all excellent, but my Acorn Winery is easy to find. Hours are by appointment only, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. particular favorites were: Turn onto the driveway and allow an hour for your visit to acornWinery. 2006 Sangiovese, wend your way past a few Alegria Vineyards $26 houses, through some well-kept 12040 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg This is the best California Sanvineyards and you’ve arrived at (707) 433-6440 • www.acornwinery.com giovese I have ever tasted (and a very special place. Really. Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Syrah, I’ve tasted a bunch.)! Aromas Acorn Winery’s owners (and Cabernet Franc, Dolcetto, Rosato of red cherry, strawberry, founders), Bill and Betsy NachWines are all ﬁeld blends from estate-grown grapes. vanilla, spices and a hint of baur truly enjoy sharing their fresh green herbs meld seamwines and educating people FUN They grow 40+ different varieties of grapes. lessly and continue as flavors about the vineyards and the FACT Grapes have been grown here since the 1880s. in the bright, juicy mouth. fruits of their labors. You’ll need This wine has a long, delicious to call to make an appointment – no crowded, bustling tasting bar here, folks! A visit with finish and is entirely too easy to drink. them is an up-close, personal experience that you won’t 2006 Zinfandel, Heritage Vines,™ Alegria Vineyards $35 soon forget. In fact, if you visit at harvest time, Bill or Betsy Wow! Aromas and flavors of raspberries, blackberries, will take you out in the vineyard, put a refractometer caramel, chocolate and peppery spice delight from the (sugar meter) in your hand, have you check sugar levels first sniff, all the way through the finish. Yum! and create your own field-blend. Talk about hands-on! For a truly unique, personalized, delicious winery exThe tasting bar is a barrel in the winery. Period. No gift perience, be sure to make an appointment to visit Bill and shop, no restaurant and no self-guided tour – this place is Betsy at Acorn. Call (707) 433-6440 or visit the website at all about function – wine grape growing and crafting ex- www.acornwinery.com. cellent wines is the focus here. That said, take it from me BY SUE STRAIGHT, THE WINE WENCH
One of Russian River Valley’s newest wineries, Merriam Vine- cels at, Merlot may be the wine she is best known for, so the Meryards is perched on a knoll at the far eastern edge of the valley, so riam portfolio is a great match for her talents. Merlot from far to the east that it actually backs up to the Chalk Hill appella- Windacre Vineyard, for instance, has great depth and balance, tion. And that’s a good thing, because it means that the climate with rich dark fruit flavors and smooth tannins. Merriam’s 2005 Miktos (from the Greek, meaning to blend here is warm enough to produce richly ripe Bordeaux varieties – well together), a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Franc and Petit Verdot, is a huge Winery owners Peter and Diana wine with plum and cassis flavors Merriam are both New Englanders Merriam Vineyards and powerful but tamed tannins. transplanted to California. Their Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For the white wine lover, Merhoneymoon in France led to a life11650 Los Amigos Road, Healdsburg riam offers a Chardonnay from the time love of fine wines, and Peter’s (707) 433-4032 • www.merriamvineyards.com Simoneau Ranch vineyard in career as a wine retailer in New EngAlexander Valley. Fermented in land reinforced their knowledge of Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon French oak barrels, it is aged for 10 and love for Bordeaux wines. As is Cabernet Franc, Bordeaux Blend months in the barrel with a regular often the case, their interest in wine stirring (sur lies) regime for a silky, led them to purchase vineyard propFUN Cheese and wine pairings by appointment. creamy mouthfeel. Its sweet fruit erty in 2000, in this case an 11-acre FACT $20 per person. shines through with pineapple parcel called Windacre Vineyard, the flavors and a toasty, nutty character from the oak. soils of which are uniquely suited to these Bordeaux varitals. The Stainless Steel Chardonnay was just released. It is from The second 12-acre vineyard property was purchased in 2002, winery construction followed in 2007, and the tasting the same vineyard, Simoneau Ranch, made from five different room was opened just this past year. The exteriors of both build- fruit clones – it tastes like a tropical vacation! Because of the very limited production of Merriam wines, they ings are reminiscent of a New England farmhouse, a tip of the are available mostly at the tasting room, in local restaurants or to hat to Peter and Diana’s origins. And the presence of one huge, stately palm tree gives a nod to wine club members. Thanks to Peter’s New England wine sales California and the generous warmth of this location. Magnificent career, you can find limited distribution in some New England views to the west show off the rolling hills and vineyards of the states. But why not just enjoy a beautiful day in Sonoma County Russian River Valley proper. A terrace dotted with tables and and visit the winery? The tasting room plans to offer gourmet picnic lunch items like paté, cheese, crackers, tapenades, salami and chairs invites visitors to linger, taste wine and take in the view. The well-respected veteran winemaker Margaret Davenport cookies, so you can enjoy a snack on the terrace with your fais now crafting the Merriam offerings. Of all the varietals she ex- vorite Merriam wine. BY NAN REILEY
20 Eastside Bunch
Through its 113 years of winemaking history in the Russ- the way for the sixth generation by bringing on top wineian River Valley of northern Sonoma County, the Foppiano making and management talent. “We’re updating our estate family has played a significant role in the making of the vineyards, which are located in one of the most prestigious American wine industry story. As Sonoma County’s wine regions in the world. What’s more, our new winemaker oldest family-owned winery, Foppiano Vineyards represents Natalie West, who joined our team during veraison in an authentic family tradition, which is not only rich with 2008, has added key pieces of new equipment that enable history but also confirms the value gentle handling of fruit at harof perseverance and commitment. vest. This, combined with our Foppiano Vineyards The winery was founded in commitment to quality ensures Open daily 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 1896 by Giovanni Foppiano, a our ability to move the legacy for12707 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg young immigrant who came to the ward as we make world-class 707-433-7272 • www.foppiano.com United States from Genoa, Italy in wines that reflect our core family the 1850s. After the gold rush, values,” said Louis M. Foppiano. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Giovanni imagined a future in Foppiano Vineyards sits on Petite Sirah, Rosé farming and winemaking and 170 acres of Russian River bench FUN During Prohibition, federal agents emptied 140,000 settled in Sonoma County. He land, of which 140 acres are FACT gallons of the family’s 1918 vintage into the local stream. planted to vineyards. Guests bought the Riverside Farm Winery, People came from miles around with cups and jugs hoping establishing it as Foppiano Vinewho visit Foppiano can take to get a sample of the Foppiano wine. yards in 1896. Soon, Giovanni’s a self-guided tour of the estate son Louis A. joined the family business, producing and sell- vineyards at their own pace enabling them to see grape ing Foppiano wines and creating a family line of participants, vines up close. The friendly and knowledgeable staff in the including his son Louis J. Foppiano, who was born in 1910 tasting room pours current releases every day with a focus and just celebrated his 99th birthday in November. Louis J.’s on the flagship Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir. Conveniently son Louis M. Foppiano is the fourth generation and third located just south of the popular town of Healdsburg on Louis Foppiano at the helm of one of the country’s few six- Old Redwood Highway, Foppiano Vineyards is one of the generation family operations. few wineries that does not require an appointment or charge Today, the Foppiano family has renewed that same inge- for tastings. Open seven days a week it’s the perfect place to nuity and dedication that the winery was founded on all step back in time, learn a bit of history while enjoying those years ago. Recognizing that the first chapter of the handcrafted Russian River Valley wines made with today’s family history was written, Louis M. Foppiano wanted to lay state-of-the-art technology.
Authentic, friendly, down-home, fun and delicious! rest, as they say, is history. Let’s talk about the wines – I tasted two of Steve’s wines Christie Vineyards is all this and more! Located just south of Healdsburg on Limerick Lane, and both were excellent! 2008 Pinot Noir, Russian River ValChristie Vineyards is a place you just gotta check out! You’ll ley: Aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry, rose petals, need to call in advance of your visit, because they are open by vanilla and spice abound, all presented in a silky, lovely appointment only, but it’s well worth the extra planning. mouthfeel. 2007 Zinfandel, Russian River Valley: Oooh! Juicy! Mouthwatering aromas of Only 1000 cases a year are proraspberry, blackberry and pepduced and they are only available Christie Vineyards pery spice continue as flavors in at the winery. Open by appointment only the lush, balanced mouth. The short gravel driveway is 851 Limerick Lane, Healdsburg So, there I was at Christie flanked with vines and olive trees. (707) 431-0662 • www.christievineyards.com Vineyards, tasting wine in the You can’t miss the winery – it’s a barn, feeling relaxed, petting the rustic barn-like building accented Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Prosecco, dog and talking with Steve with stainless steel tanks and racks Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, about his vines and wines. It just of barrels. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel doesn’t get any better than this! When you arrive, you’ll most Here are a couple of cool likely be greeted by Christie VineFUN Join the wine club and have your initials yards’ founder/owner/farmer and FACT permanently branded on one of their buildings! things that are going on now (or will be in the near future): winemaker, Steve Aitken, and Jug wines – Steve has a program going where you can, for T-Bone, his trusty, two-year-old Black Lab/Golden Retriever puppy. Both are lanky, friendly and happy to show you a very reasonable price, label, fill up and take home a jug with some of his excellent Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, around. Steve Aitken is a study in entrepreneurial spirit. He started Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. Steve also makes a Proseco an automotive repair shop at the tender age of 18 and ran it (Italian bubbly), which is available in a 750ml bottle. Brand recognition: Steve has made branding irons with for 30 successful years until 2001 when he sold it and moved his family to the current home of Christie Vineyards on Lim- the letters A-Z. If you join Christie Vineyards’ wine club, Steve will brand one of his buildings with your initials. How cool erick Lane. In 1981, Steve purchased a parcel of land in the Dry Creek is that? Steve is also working on creating a picnic area and big orValley and started his adventure as a winegrower. After being a weekend farmer for 17 years, Steve took a home winemak- ganic garden down by the creek. Long story short – don’t miss ing class and produced his first barrel of estate wine and the this place, it’s special! BY SUE STRAIGHT, THE WINE WENCH
Only an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Alexander Valley is leaps and bounds away from any hustle and bustle. Visitors looking for a more relaxed, authentic wine country experience, will be happy here. Brimming with hospitality, this stunning corner of the world is home to 40 wineries, each boasting distinctive, unassuming wines. THINGS TO DO Bosworth & Son General Store 21060 Geyserville avenue, Geyserville (707) 857-3463, www.bosworthandson.com Once a mortuary and even a buggy store – the buggy paint still stains the floor – Bosworth & Son General Store is an old-fashioned store meeting the Western-inspired needs of today’s customer. Healdsburg Ridge Hiking Trail entry gate at arabian Way and Bridle Path. (sorry, no pets allowed). One of Sonoma’s favorite nature preserves, take the Ridge Hiking Trail to the Fox Pond Run and Fox Pond Overlook. A wonderful place to get some fresh air and exercise in wine country!
Veterans Memorial Beach, 13839 Healdsburg avenue, Healdsburg, (707) 433-1625 Truly one of Healdsburg’s most favorite river side beaches! Bring a picnic, kick off your shoes, or even borrow an inner tube. Nothing to do here but relax, breathe deeply, and listen to the river roll on by. FOOD Jimtown Store, 6706 Highway 128, Healdsburg (707) 433-1212, www.jimtown.com Literally tucked into the vineyards in the Jimtown store. For more than 100 years, Jimtown has provided Healdsburg with fresh baked goods, hot coffee, and local products. Linger over the eclectic American antiques and old-fashioned toys. Diavola Pizzaria & Salumeria 21021 Geyserville avenue, Geyserville (707) 814-0111, www.diavolapizzaria.com Diavola is your stop for deli sandwiches, house cured salamis, and refreshing wine and beer. A gourmet picnic heaven! Diavola practices the time honored tradition of 'Cucina Povera' and uses the most locally available ingredients combined with centuries old recipes. Hoffman House Restaurant 21712 Geyserville ave, Geyserville (707) 857-3264, www.hoffmanhousegeyserville.com Built more than 100 years ago by the Hoffman family, this cafe serves healthy breakfast and lunch with striking views of the majestic mountains nearby. Seasonal dinners, call first. LODGING Grape Leaf Inn, 539 Johnson street, Healdsburg (707) 433-8140, www.grapeleafinn.com A picturesque Queen Anne Victorian bed and breakfast, the Grape Leaf Inn seamlessly blends modern decor with timeless antiques. Gracious staff provide the best hospitality in this relaxing, romantic environment. Belle de Jour Inn, 16276 Healdsburg ave., Healdsburg (707) 431-9777, www.belledujourinn.com A single-story Italiante built in the 1870s, Belle du Jour nestles on six acres of hilltop overlooking rolling hilltops and valleys. Hope Merril & Hope Bosworth B&B 21253 Geyserville avenue, Geyserville (707) 857-3356, www.hope-inns.com Once an early stage-coach stop, these now two strikingly restored Queen Anne Craftsman homes welcome you with open arms. Truly where wine and romance intertwine! Geyserville Inn, 21714 Geyserville avenue, Geyserville (707) 857-4343, www.Geyservilleinn.com First class accomodations at more affordable prices in the heart of wine country!
Geyserville Inn\Hoffman House Restaurant Hope Merrill/Hope Bosworth House Bosworth & Son General Store deLORIMIER Diavola Pizzeria
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Gateway to Alexander Valley
It was more than 75 years ago when Isabelle Simi Haigh winery operating profitably when both her father and her announced to her work crew that she wanted them to con- uncle died unexpectedly within a few weeks of each other vert a huge, unused wine vat into a unique tasting room. and left her to carry on. Even the stones used in conSince then, Simi Winery has built a reputation for offering struction of the waterfall in the grove have a story to tell, visitors not just tastes of superb wines but comfortable and since all the materials that went into the creation of this unique settings in which to try the wines. In the warm vis- idyllic spot were recycled from earlier structures or were natural stones found on the iting days of summer, tours often property as land was cleared for begin in the redwood grove that Simi Winery vineyards over the years. The shelters the tasting room. The Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. long communal tables where grove also serves as the focal point 16275 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg wine fanciers from everywhere for events and for special food sit down as perfect strangers and wine explorations. (707) 473-3232 and rise as friends trading their This summer many Simi www.simiwinery.com own recipes for special pizzas, guests may be seen, heads raised, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, were crafted from staves of old making gentle sniffing sounds Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon fermentation tanks. and remarking that they think Many pizza lovers swear they smell pizzas. And they are FUN Simi Winery tasting room was originally that the only wine to consume right. Each Saturday from 11 FACT made from a huge wine vat. with their favorite pizzas, no a.m. till 4 p.m., the redwood matter which crust is made or grove is transformed into an exotic sort of pizza parlor, offering a menu of exotic pizzas what toppings are sprinkled over the top, is Cabernet created by Chef Eric Lee. The pizzas are made in the East Sauvignon, The hearty, beautifully balanced 2006 Coast thin-crust style, but the toppings are all strictly local, Alexander Valley Cabernet and the 2005 Reserve Caberwith generous use of fresh-from-the-farm greens that Eric net just released by Simi Winery will only reinforce that selects for the pizza he calls “Forage.” Even the Italian belief, and the more daring suggest that they have found a new combination to savor, quaffing the gold medal sausage (salsicce) is made by Eric in the winery kitchen. As delicious as the pizzas are, the winery staff eagerly winning 2008 Sauvignon Blanc with the Forage and points out that they taste even more tempting when con- Sausage pizzas. This trio of wines is only available, at sumed in the setting of the redwood grove, and nearly the present time, in the tasting room, so while the pizeveryone involved with the winery loves to tell the story zas bake, visitors may want to sample these three elegant BY MILLIE HOWIE of this historic family and the teenage girl who kept the newcomers.
Gateway to Alexander Valley
Clos du Bois
Many wine lovers know the offerings of Clos du Bois so massive rose-pink production facility is plumped down in well that they may think they have no need to re-visit their the middle of vineyards that stretch to the feet of Black Mounold favorites during a trip to wine country. Not true, tain and Geyser Peak on the eastern edge of the valley. Its tasting room has a whimsical “faux barn” look to it, because in addition to the widely available Classics series of Clos du Bois wines, visitors to the Clos du Bois tasting bordered by broad grassy lawns dotted with pagodas and room can sample not only the smaller-production series of picnic tables and with massive terracotta planters full of flowers on the walkway leading to Reserve wines, but also the presits doors. Wines available to taste tigious Proprietary series of wines Clos du Bois vary from time to time, but there (showcasing the excellent vineOpen 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. are always many to choose from. yards of Alexander Valley) and The tasting room staff is uncomLimited Release wines that are 19410 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville monly knowledgeable about available only in the tasting room. (707) 857-1651 • closdubois.com every aspect of the wines you will Clos du Bois was founded in Old Vine Zin, Old Vine Carignane, Malvasia Bianca, taste and will be happy to guide 1974 on 100 acres of land in your tasting to the wine styles you Alexander Valley in the northern Fume Blanc, Fleur Late Harvest Riesling, Petit Sirah prefer. If you linger for a picnic, part of Sonoma County. The CaliFUN Clos du Bois was poured at the White House it’s good to know that a wide fornia wine renaissance was just FACT in 1984 at President Ronald Regan’s selection of chilled wines and getting under way at that time, second Inaugural Dinner. light picnic fare are available to and little was known about the enjoy with your lunch. potential of this valley for growing If you are interested in knowing more about how the outstanding wine grapes. Clos du Bois succeeded in putting itself on the map for wine excellence and in the process also wines are made, you can arrange to take a tour of the vinemanaged to help make Alexander Valley well-known for yards and cellars. A modest fee of $15 includes the tour, wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Chardonnay sampling aging wine directly from the barrel, and a tasting of five wines afterward. The tasting room at Clos du Bois is and Sauvignon Blanc in particular. Today, visitors can enjoy tasting many different varieties of located at 19410 Geyserville Avenue; the nearest exit from wine in the heart of the gorgeous Alexander Valley, just to the Hwy. 101 is Independence Lane. For tour reservations, east of Hwy. 101 and a few miles north of hip and charming directions or other information, visit the website at Healdsburg. (Or if you prefer, a couple of miles south of www.closdubois.com. P.S. The Clos du Bois website usually offers a 2-for-1 Geyserville, a stubbornly un-gentrified little town with amazBY NAN REILEY ingly good restaurants.) The winery is hard to miss – its tasting room coupon – check it out!
Gateway to Alexander Valley
There is never too much of a good thing at Sonoma and friendly) tasting room staff members will pour and edCounty’s Trentadue in Geyserville, especially when it comes ucate visitors in a relaxed and very Northern California to the awards they receive for their wines. As a Michelin in- comfortable setting at the tasting room in Geyserville. spector would say if this were a restaurant, “Certainly worth Check into the chocolate and wine pairing, done by special request, which might define, in a very nice way, the word the drive.” As Trentadue winemaker Miro Tcholakov said, “For the “decadent.” With a last word, Royalene last decade Trentadue wines have Mancini has said more than once changed dramatically, and in a Trentadue Winery that, “Trentadue makes incredible positive direction. Consistently Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. award-winning wines that are and quietly we have been win19170 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville available at very affordable prices. ning many best of class and gold (707) 433-3104 • 1-888-332-3032 It’s all about quality for value!” medals from the Sonoma County www.trentadue.com And a visit to the winery will Harvest Fair, and from other prove that over and over again. prestigious wine competitions, Sparkling, Grenache Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon, Trentadue’s tasting room offers placing us in the top ten percent Zinfandel, Merlot, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Port tastings of any four wines for $5. or better of all wineries. We just The La Storia Reserve tasting don’t brag about it! For all these FUN Gondola tours of the vineyards room is available for groups of six years I have really enjoyed makFACT are available by prior reservation. to 20. Sit down and relax while ing great wines from our estate tasting six different varietals of Trentadue wines. One of the fruit, especially the reserve La Storia wines.” Leo and Evelyn Trentadue, fruit growers from Santa Clara professional tasting room staff members will pour and eduCounty, first purchased this Alexander Valley estate in 1959. cate guests in a comfortable lovely setting. The duration is At the time, 150 of the property’s roughly 200 acres were one hour, $20 per person, reservations are required. There is also the popular “Gondola Tour” where you can plum trees; the rest of the estate was planted with old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane. Soon after their pur- ride through the estate vineyards and learn the history bechase the Trentadues began replacing the plum trees with hind Alexander Valley and what makes this particular valley grapevines. The family didn’t start making wine until 1969, so special, as you taste wines along the way. There is an eight when they held back some of the fruit they usually sold to guest minimum and reservations are required. For reservations or more information, call Royalene at start their own Trentadue label. One thing you can be assured of is that one of the (707) 433-3104 #106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. BY CHARLES NEAVE winery’s professional (not intimidating, but knowledgeable
26 Gateway to Alexander Valley
Winemaker Mick Schroeter
Geyser Peak Winery
Ask questions. This is an opportunity to not only eduGeyser Peak Winery was named “One of the best tasting rooms cate your palate, but also learn more about the winemaking in Napa and Sonoma Counties” by the Wall Street Journal. One of California’s oldest and most award-winning winer- process. You will find tasting room staff, owners and wineies, Geyser Peak was founded in 1880, a pioneer of the makers quite congenial and eager to share their knowledge Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Perched on a hillside with you. Taste the wines in the suggested order. Always taste from across from Geyser Peak Mountain, this beautiful setting whites to reds. Attempting to overlooks Geyserville, the Russian identify fruit flavors or delicate River and the northern end of Geyser Peak Winery floral notes in a Pinot Grigio after Alexander Valley. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tasting a peppery Zinfandel is The winery consistently garners 22281 Chianti Road, Geyserville next to impossible. If you’ve alsome of the most prestigious ready tasted a red wine and want awards in winemaking, including 800-255-WINE • www.geyserpeakwinery.com to try a white wine again, either Winery of the Year and WineSauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, wait for another day, or perhaps maker of the Year honors. Its Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Grigio rinse your mouth with Sauvignon outstanding team of winemakers Blanc, eat a cracker or bread stick, and viticulturists are noted for FUN FACT Visit the website for a 2-for-1 tasting coupon. and then you may be able to reset fruit-forward, food-friendly wines your palate to experience the nufrom prime vineyard sources in the Alexander Valley. If you have been thinking about visiting the ances of the white wine. Please use dump buckets set out on the tasting bar to diswinery, now is a great time to come visit! The winery is located in the heart of Alexander Valley, surrounded by vine- pose of excess wine. Don’t feel compelled to finish each glass. Limit yourself to no more than four wine tastes per yards and the historic winery itself. Step up to the 30-foot granite bar to sample award-win- winery. Don’t wear perfume, cologne or scented lotions. They ning varietal wines. Five to seven wines are poured every day ($5/person) and a variety of wine accessories and gift items WILL affect how you smell the aromas and taste the flavors are available. A café-style tasting room, overlooking the bar- of the wine. Always designate a driver. A prudent decision for a carerel cellar, hosts the Reserve Tasting ($10) and, during the weekend, Library Tasting ($15). All tastings are compli- free day of tasting is to utilize one of the many local tour services available. They are fun and especially affordable for mentary for wine club members. To fully enjoy your wine tasting experience, Geyser Peak groups. Most importantly, have fun! Winery offers these suggestions and pointers:
Gateway to Alexander Valley
The architecture of this 44-acre property fits into the land- that deLorimier is quickly becoming the hot new “Cabernet scape seamlessly, surrounded by vines as it is, the property House” in the Alexander Valley. Already known for quality, adding a variety of vineyard-designate Cabernet Sauvignons line at the back being the Russian River. Go down the long drive and you will go past the original seemed like the perfect next step for owners and respected farm house, now lovingly restored, and you will come to the Sonoma County winemakers and grape growers, Ken and winery proper. To the left, the smaller of the two buildings Diane Wilson. The fact that they keep winning gold medals on these new Cabernets just adds houses the tasting room, a fully another gratifying dimension. licensed commercial kitchen, and deLorimier Winery Stop by, visit and sample. The a private tasting room. To the right, Open daily 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. tasting room, with its high wood the building you first thought 2001 Highway 128, Healdsburg ceilings, old vines above the bar might have been a barn, is the cav(707) 857-2001 • www.delorimierwinery.com (you’ll see), fireplace, three-sided ernous barrel room which, at times, copper-topped tasting bar – hosts private parties. In between is Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, which is backed by a large wina spectacular courtyard with a Malbec, Sangiovese, Meritage, Zinfandel, dow framing the vineyards on the perfectly proportioned fountain, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc other side of the glass – is the perlots of comfortable seating and plantings that compliment both of FUN Expect to stay a while for the wine, art and croquet. fect place to learn about the wines of deLorimier. the buildings with their mellow FACT Look for live music during the summer. It is here that you might try wood construction and this beautiful outdoor space. No wonder the property is in demand their famous Cabernets, and perhaps the Stuhlmuller for parties, receptions, retreats and, of course, this being wine Chardonnay or the Estate Merlot. Or, it could be their medalwinning Estate Mosaic Red Meritage or the Stone Ranch or country, weddings. The winery’s estate vineyard has been sculpted for wed- Francis Vineyard Zinfandels. And if they are not sold out (as dings of all sizes. Besides the spacious gallery tasting room, they often are), the Sauvignon Blanc or the Cabernet Franc. the private “Club deLo” space provides an intimate venue for Variety is not an issue here, which may be an understatement. Outside you can picnic on a lawn where croquet has been smaller tastings and dinners, while the extensive vineyard grounds and “Cabana Courtyard” have been designed to han- played every now and again; perhaps walk down to the river’s dle dream weddings. There is even a two-bedroom guest edge. The key to it all is to relax and enjoy, which is what this house on the grounds, and every bit of it is surrounded by beautiful spot is all about. Just one more reason why, when you visit this part of the world, it is one you will not want to vineyards. BY CHARLES NEAVE Special events aside, it has become rather widely known miss.
28 Gateway to Alexander Valley
Sausal Winery in Alexander Valley – no world-famous ar- fandels, plus some Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, all chitect built it, no priceless art collection is housed in it, and from estate-owned vineyards that surround the winery. You will have to taste for yourself to see which is your fano sumptuous gardens with waterfalls and statuary are to be found in it. What visitors will find at Sausal is the Demostene vorite – none will disappoint you, and the 2007 vintage family, who has lived and worked in the Alexander Valley for Century Vines Zinfandel will make you a true believer in the generations and who make some of California’s finest Zin- mystique surrounding old-vine Zinfandel. All the Zinfandels are dry-farmed for added fruit infandel wines. tensity and the oldest vines are The family purchased the Sausal Vineyard & Winery head trained in the traditional Sausal Ranch (named for the creek manner, as you would expect. that flows through it into the RussOpen daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A visit any time of year would ian River) in 1956. The next 7370 Highway 128, Healdsburg be rewarding, but if you find generation of Demostenes 1-800-500-2285 yourself in the area on Saturday, founded the winery in 1973, in www.sausalwinery.com June 26th, don’t miss the Sausal large part to take advantage of the Sock Hop Party, an open-to-theexistence of Zinfandel grape vines Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon public celebration themed to the that had been producing high FUN Sausal’s Century Vines Zinfandel is from 1950s because of the Demostene quality grapes since 1877. That’s FACT their estate vineyards planted in 1877. family’s purchase of the winery not a typographical error, and you property in that decade. There can prove that for yourself when you visit the winery to taste living history – Zinfandel wines will be food and wine, music from the ’50s, an Elvis imperthat are made from vines that are 50, 90 and 130+ years old. sonator and classic cars of the period. So put on your poodle Follow Hwy. 128 along the eastern edge of the Alexan- skirts and dig out those pop-it beads or roll up your T-shirt der Valley to the winery, then down the winery’s driveway to sleeves (cigarette pack optional) and grow some sideburns. a rustic, barn-red wooden building with a trellised porch that The party lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs only $15 houses the tasting room. Simple, like the rest of the winery, for all-day fun and great Zinfandel. The Sausal Vineyard & Winery tasting room is open daily the tasting room is not a mini-mall teeming with wine country merchandise. There is only some nice logo clothing and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is wheelchair accessible. Picsome sleeping and scratching stations that exist for the pleas- nickers are welcome to enjoy themselves on a trellised patio ure of the two winery cats, Sophie and Gypsie, who wander shaded by luscious grape vines, a traditional Italian touch. The winery is located just a few miles east of the charming in and out as the mood takes them. BY NAN REILEY What you’re there for is a treasure trove of old-vine Zin- town of Healdsburg.
Gateway to Alexander Valley
Healdsburg is charming. Every brick, every flower box, every elegant shop and eclectic gallery, every five-star restaurant and cozy cafe on every single corner speak to this town's genuine individuality and down-to-earth-treasures. Downtown Healdsburg may be surrounded by bucolic rolling hills and picturesque vineyards, but around this age-old square, its hard to imagine being anywhere else more delightful. No matter what time of year, Healdsburg is a town for every season. THINGS TO DO Erickson Gallery, 324 Healdsburg avenue (707) 431-7073 www.ericksonfineartgallery.com Local and international artists are featured in the gallery. Works for sale include contemporary paintings, sculpture and works on paper. Sonoma County Wine Library 139 Piper street, Healdsburg (707) 433-3772, www.sonomalibrary.org A free visit with a wealth of information! The library has more than 5,000 books dealing with all aspects of making wine, some of them date even back to 1512! Knowledgeable librarians are on hand to help guide you. Raven Theater, 115 North street, Healdsburg (707) 433-6335, www.raventheater.org Where would we be without performing arts? A big, dark nowhere, that's where. It’s thanks to cultural theaters like the Raven, that publics can experience entertainment that is beyond a moment's blip of distraction. Enjoy wonderful performances and expand your world. Healdsburg Museum & Historic Homes Walking Tour, 221 matheson street, (707) 431-3325, www.healdsburgmuseum.org Don’t miss “From Cabins to Craftsmans: 100 Years of Healdsburg’s Architecture” – on now through June 13, 2010. Sign up for a guided tour of the town's unique, architecture and history! Hand Fan Museum 327a Healdsburg avenue, Healdsburg (707) 431-2500, www.handfanmuseum.com Explore geography, art and history in this unusual museum of actual hand fans from around the world. Shoffeitt’s off the Square 208 Healdsburg avenue, Healdsburg (707) 433-5556 www.shoﬀeittsoﬀthesquare.com This is a shopping mecca of antiques, collectibles, local arts and gifts, as well as fine & custom jewelry. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” ... the building goes on forever! Segway Tours, (707) 953-3477 www.segwayofhealdsburg.com Take a fun tour of Healdsburg on a rented Segway – helmets included, $69 per person. Getaway Adventures santa rosa, (707) 568-3040 www.getawayadventures.com Healdsburg Sip 'n Cycle: Visit the sites and learn local wine facts throughout downtown Healdsburg and into the vineyards on this innovative, healthy tour! Tours include a picnic and bocce. Options, 126 matheson street, Healdsburg (707) 431-8861, www.optionsgallery.com Beautiful unique, creations of art for you to wear, use or admire in your home. FOOD Bear Republic Brewing Co. 345 Healdsburg avenue, Healdsburg (707) 433-2337, www.bearrepublic.com Sonoma County's premier brewpub, brewery, and restaurant! Real beer, microbrewed and real cold! Perfect after a day of tasting wine. Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen Hotel Healdsburg, 317 Healdsburg avenue (707) 431-0330, www.charliepalmer.com Celebrating Sonoma's pioneering wines and spirits, celebrated Chef Charlie Palmer takes the best of our farm-fresh produce and culinary cradle and infuses it with his passion and trademark style. Zin Restaurant & Wine Bar, 344 Center street reservations recommended, (707) 473-0946 Dinner served daily, lunch monday-Fridays Zin features delicious seasonal cuisine with produce grown especially for them. Wine industry locals often gather here for a little nourishment and “shop talk.” Cyrus Restaurant , 29 North street, Healdsburg (707) 433-3311, www.cyrusrestaurant.com Consistently reviewed as one of THE best restaurants in all of wine country by Wine Spectator, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Esquire, Wine Enthusiast, and Wall Street Journal. Splurge on the Tasting Menu or the Vegetarian Tasting Menu. Oakville Grocery, 124 matheson street, Healdsburg (707) 433-3200, www.OakvilleGrocery.com “Little Country Store” with overflowing shelves and a deli chock full of handmade, gourmet picnic items, the Oakville Grocery is an absolute MUST. LODGING Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza 112 matheson street, Healdsburg (707) 433-6991, www.healsburginn.com Built in 1901, this classic California inn is located right on the Healdsburg Plaza. From summer concerts to holiday tree lightings, the town's best events take place right here. Guests are also surrounded by shops, galleries, tasting rooms and restaurants. Hotel Healdsburg, 25 matheson street, Healdsburg 1-800-889-7188, www.hotelhealdsburg.com Chic, beautifully appointed Hotel Healdsburg is located on the historic square and is one of the premier Wine Country luxury lodgings in all Sonoma County.
30 Downtown Healdsburg
DRY CREEK RD
GRAPE LEAF INN
Sonoma County Wine Library
Raven Theater Cyrus Zin Restaurant
FINE ART GALLERY
Historic Homes Walking Tours
Bear Republic Brewing Co. Hand Fan Museum Dry Creek Kitchen Hotel Healdsburg
SEASONS OF THE VINEYARD POWELL’S SWEET SHOPPE
Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza
SELBY SHOFFEITT’S OFF THE SQUARE
Not to scale
“Sure we’re Kendall-Jackson, and you can find our The wines of Kendall-Jackson are known to virtually every wine lover anywhere in this country and far beyond. great Vintner’s Reserve that you know from home,” Will And the historic Sonoma County town of Healdsburg is noted. “But what thrills me is meeting people who come rapidly becoming a destination in itself, with a constantly here and discover a whole new world of hand-crafted, growing collection of shops, boutiques, some first-class limited-production wines.” Visitors can approach wine tasting in two ways: a hotels and restaurants, bars and grills, bed and breakfasts selection of four wines, or a and small inns, bistros, galleries tasting focusing on Stature and and more. Very near the northwest corner Kendall-Jackson Healdsburg Tasting Room Highland Estates. Employees Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. are happy to serve the needs of of the Healdsburg Plaza, the rich every guest, whether a wine and varied world of Kendall337 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg aficionado or a complete newJackson wines seems to shrink (707) 433-7102 • www.kj.com comer. down to an intimate, unhurried Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Grand Reserve is their superscale that wraps every visitor in Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Pinot Noir, Malbec, lative blend of terroir from key a unique welcome. You are not Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, the harmony of apintimidated in the least, simply pellation and winemaking skill. encouraged to enjoy the wines, the FUN Taste small-production, vineyard-designated Then there are the bottlings from tasting room, the surroundings. FACT wines available only in the tasting room. Highland Estates which are Guests from all over the world, the wines that best showcase greeted by the veteran KendallJackson tasting room staff, soon find themselves discovering Kendall-Jackson’s estate properties on mountains and ridges an unexpected dimension of this renowned winery. The in California’s cool coastal regions. Stature, the highest level of Kendall-Jackson winemakdesign of the tasting room invokes browsing among wines and gifts chosen personally by the manager – ceramics, ing, is produced in very small lots from the finest estate vineyards. books, glassware, olive oil and more. With its unmatched blend of a welcoming staff, handMany, if not most, visitors to the tasting room admit that they have never seen this side of Kendall-Jackson, or K-J as crafted wines, and its exceptional and easily accessible it is called. Will Alexander, the Tasting Room Manager, loves location makes the Kendall-Jackson Healdsburg Tasting what he calls that “Eureka” look on the faces of guests just Room one of the must-see attractions in this part of the getting acquainted with the more exclusive Kendall-Jackson beautiful Sonoma Wine Country. BY CHARLES NEAVE wines they will find there.
32 Downtown Healdsburg
Topel Tasting Room
Known as the hidden jewel of Mendocino’s Duncan Sauvignon from Howell Mountain in Napa, two Pinot Noirs; Peak, Topel Winery is a far cry from the well-trodden two Chardonnays, a Sauvignon Blanc, a white wine blend highways and byways of California’s most visited wine called Birdsong, Mark’s Blend, a Meritage, a Gamay, a Zinfandel and a lovely Orange Muscato. country. Compact and cozy, the Topel Tasting Room was artfully A haven of spiritual sustenance for owners Mark and Donnis Topel, the former sheep ranch and craggy 14-acre designed with comfort and style as commanding elements in the details of its copper counmountain “Hidden Vineyard” tertops, sleek black fixtures and that produces many of the winTopel Tasting Room cherry wood library seating area ery’s most sought-after wines is a Open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with digital slideshow of the world away from the chic downcompelling vineyard cycle. town address of Topel’s trendy 125 Matheson Street, Healdsburg A snug and attractive estate and attainable Healdsburg tasting (707) 433-4116 • www.topelwines.com room tasting area off the main room. www.facebook.com/topelwinery room is a regular hot spot for Just off the Plaza and across the street from the Oakville Gro- Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Meritage, blending parties with the Topels frequently hosting special cery, Topel Tasting Room opened Super Tuscan Blend, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, events. Estate room tastings are to wine aficionados in September Chardonnay, White Wine Blend, Orange Muscato available for private groups of 2008, offering winter discounts Sunday through Thursday, and FUN Topel publishes a calendar every year – Topel Wine Tails four to 12 people by appointFACT – a benefit for the Healdsburg Animal Shelter. ment only, and a fee of $20 per tastings of the winery’s Biodyperson is refundable with a namic® handcrafted wines for a minimal fee of $5 for a choice of four wines, $8 for a minimum purchase of a (six bottle) half case per person. choice of six and $11 for all nine wines – $5 is refundable Private tasting includes all Topel Flight wines, plus at least two library wines and a selection of cheeses, breads and with purchase. Topel wines are gently crafted to reveal a unique evo- light appetizers. As owner/winemakers, Mark and Donnis Topel infuse lution of each varietal, as minimalist techniques have transformed the grapes into world-class, soulful wines that a wealth of aesthetic senses and experiences into their reflect the steep, rocky soil and foggy climate of their ori- wines. Leading a dual life, Mark Topel is a prominent criminal defense attorney handling some of this country’s gin. Topel Cabernet Sauvignon, Hidden Vineyard is the most complex criminal and civil litigation. BY FRANCES RIVETTI flagship wine poured alongside a limited-edition Cabernet
Prohibition– The speakeasy Wine Club
Of all the wine bars in all the towns in all the world, I can’t be beat – it sits right in the middle of downtown had to walk into his. Richard Rosenberg looked up at me Healdsburg, on the corner of Healdsburg Avenue and North from behind the black, semi-circular bar as I settled myself Street. You enter through the wine shop in the front (which looks like it’s right out of the 1920s) – barn siding and coron one of the padded black leather bar stools. Richard asked me, “What’s on your mind beside your rugated tin are the backdrop to tasteful wine-related items hat, doll-face?” I told him, “I haven’t lived a good life – I’ve and some carefully chosen wine selections. There’s a phone booth in the corner of the shop drank bad wines, worse than you that opens into the back, then can imagine.” He replied, “Well, Prohibition – ring-a-ding-ding! you find yoursweetheart, you’ve come the right The Speakeasy Wine Club self in an authentic looking, joint – here at Prohibition, you’ll 1920s era speakeasy. This place never have to drink another bad 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily has such an authentic 1920swine.” 340 Healdsburg Avenue 1930s feel that you almost I cased the speakeasy, taking in at North Street in Healdsburg expect to see a group of flappers the brick walls, polished wood (707) 473-WINE (9463) and their guys doing the and tables scattered around the www.speakeasywineclub.com Charleston in the corner. spacious interior. A large flat A generous selection of hardscreen TV showed Jimmy Cagney FUN You’ll need to sneak in The Speakeasy to-find wines and Prohibition getting tough with some G-man FACT through the phone booth! style beers are available by the as twenties music filled the air. The gat sitting front and center on the back bar didn’t scare glass, by the bottle and by the case. Wine cocktails are also available. If you are a wine-loving dame like me, or a Joe me – I took it as a warning… “My Grandfather owned and operated a real speakeasy who likes his wines and beers, this is the joint for you. during Prohibition and I was always intrigued by his sto- There is also a Prohibition Wine Club in the works, where ries of the fake facades, bootleggers and revelry of the time,” lucky Joes and dames can get a choice selection of wines said co-owner Richard Rosenberg when I asked him about shipped conveniently to their offices or homes. Take a trip back in time and check out Prohibition in how this came about. “We wanted to recreate the incognito speakeasies of the 1920s and the camaraderie people felt downtown Healdsburg. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. during the Prohibition era, yet incorporate an authentic Knock on the phone booth and tell ’em “The Wine Wench wine country atmosphere.” Designed by Kae Rosenberg, sent me.” I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship… Richard’s wife and Prohibition co-owner, this snazzy BY SUE STRAIGHT, THE WINE WENCH speakeasy is sure to be a Healdsburg hot spot. The location
34 Downtown Healdsburg
Photos by Barbara Bourne
Seghesio Family Vineyards
The Seghesio Family has grown grapes in Sonoma County And, speaking of food, this family cannot help themselves since 1895. That year, Italian immigrant, Edoardo Seghesio but to share their food traditions! Well known throughout and his new bride Angela planted the land surrounding their the wine industry for their culinary skills, the family offers modest home to Zinfandel. weekend guests a seat at their “Family Tables.” This seated Today, second-, third- and fourth-generation family mem- wine-and-food pairing allows guests to escape the busy tastbers continue Edoardo’s work as they sustainably farm more ing room bar for a quiet room overlooking the barrel cellar. than four hundred acres of vineThere, monthly seasonal family yards on six ranches in Sonoma recipes are paired with library Seghesio Family Vineyards County. The younger generation, wines. If you’re lucky, you might Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. led by Peter Seghesio and his even get a taste of their house14730 Grove Street, Healdsburg cousin and winemaker, Ted Seghmade salumi. Often, Rachel Ann (707) 433-7764 • www.seghesio.com esio, have dedicated themselves to or Ed Seghesio, the family’s macreate some of the finest Zinfandel triarch and patriarch, pop into the Zinfandel and Italian Varietals and, embracing their history, Italrooms to share the family’s rich ian varietals, in Sonoma County. FUN Family recipes are served with highly limited wines history. Seghesio Zinfandels are consisEd can also be found in his FACT in private rooms each weekend overlooking the cellar. tently top the lists of the world’s favorite spot, the gardens surCall for details. best wines. A stop to the tasting rounding the winery. The room will allow guests to taste wines from some of California’s charming city of Healdsburg has grown up around Seghesio oldest and most venerable vineyards. The “Old Vine,” “San where you are tempted to linger as the winery and its garLorenzo” and “Home Ranch” wines boast vineyards dating to dens evoke a simpler time. Engage in the one sport that the 1890s! And, if you’re looking for a house wine, the Segh- allows you to savor a glass of wine as you play on the family’s esio Sonoma “Blue Cap” Zinfandel was recently chosen bocce courts under the shade of a rare cork tree! number 10, on the Wine Spectator’s list of the World’s Top If you decide you want to be adopted by the Seghesio 100 Wines! Family, ask about their Centennial Wine Club where you not Embrace the family’s Italian heritage and a bit of Amer- only enjoy their great wine but are included in their family ica’s history with Sangiovese. The Seghesios have the oldest traditions. plantings of these classic Chianti grapes in America. Limited A stop at Seghesio, with its authentic and abundant amounts of Barbera, Arneis and Fiano scream, “Food!” hospitality, will certainly be a highlight of your trip!
Looking for a wine tasting stop in Healdsburg? Then let ley grapes in her rich, full-bodied 2009 varietal. Known for us suggest an excellent one – Selby Winery’s Tasting Room at its pineapple and grapefruit flavor and crisp, clean finish, it’s the perfect companion for shellfish or pasta with a white 215 Center Street, just off the main downtown plaza. With at least a dozen wine tasting venues in Healdsburg, sauce. Susie’s newly-released 2008 Russian River Valley there are several reasons why Selby should be at the top of Chardonnay is supple and elegant, intensely flavored with your list. From Selby Winery you are going to find delicious, notes of toasty oak from its barrel fermentation and aging. An herb-roasted chicken would elegant Sonoma County wines be a fine dinner with this wine. made by the woman who owns Selby Winery Tasting Room Don’t miss sipping her 2007 and operates Selby Winery virtuOpen daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Selby “Bobcat” Zinfandel, made ally as a one-woman operation. from grapes grown in the Susie Selby is that talented 215 Center Street, Healdsburg vineyards of Dry Creek and woman, and her wines fall into the (707) 431-1288 • www.selbywinery.com Alexander Valleys. The grapes “must taste” category, no matter Sauvgnon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Rosé themselves are picked at maxihow many wineries you plan to Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec mum sugar levels to attain the visit. Today, Susie is making classic Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petit Sirah, Zinfandel, Port most extreme concentration possible. The wine features a rich varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, FUN To date, no one has determined whether Selby's Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet FACT highly-acclaimed “Bobcat” Zinfandel was named and bold dark cherry flavor with hints of pepper, anise and nutSauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel after the elusive bobcat Susie saw in one of the vineyards meg. Available only in the tasting from some of the finest vineyards or if the wine is named after her 25lb cat Bob. room, the 2007 Selby “Bobcat” in Sonoma County. Susie makes wines that are both sophisticated and accessible. Everything Zinfandel is the most famous and popular of the wines made possible is done by hand during the winemaking process in- by Selby. When Susie’s not busy at the winery, guests may find her cluding picking, fermenting, processing and even bottling! The Selby Winery Tasting Room is small and intimate and at the downtown tasting room, pleased to talk with visitors offers guests an appealing and comfortable atmosphere where about her wines. For those wanting additional information they can concentrate on tasting excellent wines. Featuring about Susie or Selby Winery, visit www.selbywinery.com or more than 12 wines, including reserve wines, Selby Winery call the tasting room at (707) 431-1288. And the next time is know for its unique selection of varietals including Mal- you’re in Healdsburg, savor a leisurely luncheon or dinner at bec, Petite Sirah and Port. Sauvignon Blanc lovers will find a one of our city’s excellent restaurants, followed by a stroll beautiful combination of Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Val- around this active, stylish downtown.
36 Downtown Healdsburg
For more than a century, the Russian River has been a true gateway to the grandeur of California's wild nature and dramatic coast. Today, it is still a destination for all naturalists as well as an increasingly high-profile wine region – and rightly so. Russian River wines are quickly becoming some of the finest, most sought-after wines in the world and artisan winemakers are finally getting their due. Come for the fresh air, fine wines, incomparable cuisines and relax! Pacific Coast Air Museum THINGS TO DO 2230 Becker Blvd., santa rosa Safari West 3115 Porter Creek road, santa rosa (707) 575-7900 (707) 579-2551, www.safariwest.com www.pacificcoastairmuseum.org Fun for all generations of your family! “Climb Aboard” vintage aircraft, Experience the spirit of Africa in the wine and learn about the history of where and country on a Safari Adventure or book a tent how it was used from the crew who has and sleep overnight in the Animal Kingdom. lovingly restored it. Currently, the Riverfront Regional Park F-14 Tomcat, F-16N Viper & F-5 Tiger II 7821 eastside road, Healdsburg are featured. (707) 565-2041 Windsor Golf Club Once a gravel quarry site, this park now 1340 19th Hole Drive, Windsor boasts 2 sparkling lakes perfect for fishing (707) 838-7888, www.windsorgolf.com and non-motorized boating. Explore redwood Follow in the footsteps of the pros at this grove picnic areas and more than 2 miles of par 72 championship course regarded by trails around Lake Benoist! the regulars as a must-play course. Charles Schulz Museum Four tee options provide an appropriate 2301 Hardies lane, santa rosa challenge for any skill level. (707) 579-4452, www.schulzmuseum.com Armstrong Redwoods A tribute to the wonderful man who 17000 armstrong Woods road, Guerneville brought so much joy to the world with the 707-869-2015, www.parks.ca.gov "Peanuts" cartoon strip. Finally, a fitting RODNEY The ancient coast redwood is the tallest living place in Charles "Sparky" Schulz' STRONG thing on hometown to preserve, display, and John Ash & Co. our planet! Come see this stately Vintners Inn preserve of trees close to 1,000 years old! nature interpret the Peanuts art.
FOOD John Ash & Co. Restaurant , 4330 Barnes road, santa rosa (707) 527-7687, www.vintnersinn.com Celebrate wine cuisine at its best. Cooking seasonally with fresh, local foods and produce—and pairing these exceptional recipes with wines from the region, today the restaurant remains an icon of gourmet dining and wine country living. Gilardi's Delicatessen, 810 Den Beste, Windsor, (707) 838-9869 Certainly a vine above the rest! Feast on homemade lasagna and freshly baked sourdough garlic breads. LODGING Vintners Inn, 4350 Barnes road, santa rosa (707) 575-7350, www.vintnersinn.com A luxury, 44-room, 4 Diamond intimate hotel that is designed to showcase the very finest in gracious hospitality that Wine Country provides. Relax in the spa, walk the grounds, even take a cooking class with famed chef John Ash! Truly an exceptional hotel! Fountain Grove Inn 101 Fountaingrove Parkway, santa rosa (707) 578-6101, www.fountaingroveinn.com For business or leisure travel, the Fountain Grove Inn Hotel & Conference Center is a luxurious, but not ostentatious, hotel that is convenient to all of Sonoma County wine country. Hilton Sonoma Wine Country 3555 round Barn Blvd., santa rosa (707) 523-7555, www.hilton.com Enjoy 13 acres of landscaped grounds and views over Santa Rosa Valley in this resort-like, pet-friendly, 100% non-smoking hotel.
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Kendall-Jackson Wine Center
In the vineyards of Kendall-Jackson it has always been ers, herbs and vegetables that are used to describe wine. Each about the fruit. Ask any good vineyard manager or wine- garden also features the produce that pairs well with red or maker and that is a mantra that rings true, as it has since the white wines. art of turning grapes into wine began, thousands of years ago. Guides encourage guests to smell the herbs and flowers, As they say at Kendall-Jackson, “One of the ‘truths’ we crush the leaves between their fingers and experience the live by here at the winery is that outstanding wines can only similarities to the aromas found in wine. be made from exceptional fruit. Our Estate Vineyards are The Culinary Garden also features a wide array of seafound atop cool coastal mounsonal produce, with varieties of tains, rocky ridge tops and rolling basil, and dozens of different Kendall-Jackson Wine Center hillsides. Places where the climate, types of squash and lettuce from Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. soil and vines come together to all over the world. Edible flowers 5007 Fulton road, Fulton create remarkable grapes. In each and more than 180 varieties of glass, you will taste our family’s heirloom tomatoes are also key (707) 571-8100 • www.kj.com commitment to crafting extraordicomponents. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, nary Sonoma County wines from Heirloom tomatoes in every Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Pinot Noir, Malbec, California’s best vineyards.” color of the rainbow are unMerlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon At this magnificent château, set doubtedly the highlight of the on 120 acres in the heart of garden, and the winery celebrates FUN Don’t miss the Wine Sensory Gardens for Sonoma County, wine and food them each year during its annual FACT white and red wines with plantings that lovers gather to experience the flaHeirloom Tomato Festival. This represent the aroma and/or flavor in the wines. vors of the region. Depending year’s event takes place on Sepupon your mood, you can enjoy seated wine and food pair- tember 11 and is always a sellout. But the garden tours are ing, visit the tasting bar (a must), browse for gifts and available three times a day at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. (weather limited-edition wines, and tour the vineyards and extensive permitting). herb, flower and vegetable gardens that surround the There are many choices for tasting when you visit. The château. Or you can wander through the White Wine Sen- Classic Tasting is $5 – you can choose four out of eight wines sory Garden or the Red Wine Sensory Garden. These two to taste. Or, for $15, you can try the Reserve Wines that are innovative and lovingly tended gardens have been designed only available in the tasting room. But the most extravagant and planted to show your senses the terms that wine writers choice of all is the Wine & Food Pairing. This is a not-to-beand educators have used to describe what we smell and taste missed occasion. Meet the Chef, taste the wines and learn in the glass. more about wine and food pairing. All are a fun and educaThese gardens allow visitors to experience the fruits, flow- tional experience in a beautiful setting. BY CHARLES NEAVE
38 Russian River
Hook & Ladder Winery
Olivet Road is a two-mile strip running through the heart There’s lots of firefighter themes at Hook & Ladder, from the of the Russian River Valley just 10 minutes west of Highway classic, fully-restored shiny red fire truck circa 1960 that sits 101. For the directionally challenged, make your way over along Olivet Road near the winery’s main driveway, to the fire to Olivet Road in west Santa Rosa and you can spend a day department patches and t-shirts from firefighters who stop and decorate the tasting room. visiting great wineries with an easy blink left or right. Cecil De Loach is still involved with the daily operations One family has called Olivet Road home for more than of Hook & Ladder Winery, but 35 years – the De Loaches. Cecil second De Loach was a firefighter in San Hook & Ladder Winery and Vineyards the Loachesand third generation De are now taking the Francisco when, in 1970, he and Open daily 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. reins. Cecil’s son, Michael, is the wife, Christine, bought a 24-acre winery’s president, Cecil’s grandvineyard just west of Santa Rosa. 2134 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa son, Jason, is the winemaker and The De Loaches wanted to start (707) 526-2255 • www.hookandladderwinery.com Michael’s son, Joshua, is Public second careers as winegrowers, Relations and Sales Director. and by 1975 the De Loaches had Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, The De Loaches keep Hook & made their first wine. The rest, of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Ladder to just 35,000-case annual course, is history: the De Loach production; they sell a portion of family went on to build one of the FUN Look for the shiny red vintage fire truck, the grapes they grow, keeping just country’s most successful wine FACT a Willy’s circa 1961, near the driveway. the best of the best for Hook & brands. In 2003, with the De Loach Vineyards brand producing Ladder Winery. Hook & Ladder carved out a section of their winery for 300,000 cases annually, the De Loach family decided to start over. They sold the brand to the Boisset family of Burgundy, the tasting room, “keeping it simple to help keep our prices keeping 375 acres of prime Russian River Valley vineyards down,” says Michael De Loach. What’s great at Hook & Ladand a second brand, Hook & Ladder, they had started 20 der is that prices are wallet-friendly and quality is sky-high. years earlier with a Port. At the beginning of 2004, Hook & Hook & Ladder hit gold big at this year’s San Francisco Ladder opened their doors north on Olivet Road, fittingly on Chronicle Wine Competition, winning two Gold Medals for part of the first property the family purchased in 1970, the Merlot and Zinfandel and Double Gold and a Best of Class for their Third Alarm Reserve Pinot Noir and Double Gold for Barbieri Ranch. The Hook & Ladder name came from Cecil De Loach’s their Sauvignon Blanc. Those medals, among others, affirm many years as a San Francisco firefighter operating the back that the De Loaches are still making great wine after all these BY MICHELLE J. BAKER end of the fire truck as The Tillerman. Cecil retired in 1982. years.
Dutton Estate Winery
What makes visiting wine country so much fun is combination of a nutrient-poor yet well-draining base that, no matter how many times you visit, there’s always to thrive. Not long after the Duttons first planted a new winery to discover. For some visitors there’s even grapes, the Dutton Ranch name became synonymous a whole new wine region to explore, and all you have with great Chardonnay. Fast forward to today, and the Dutton family farms to do is ignite your spirit of adventure, fire up the GPS or take out a good map, and you’ll be richly rewarded. more than 1,100 acres of grapes in the Green Valley as well as 250 acres of CCOF certified Out in southwest Sonoma organic apples. Warren’s son, County is one such area just Dutton Estate Winery Joe and his wife, Tracy Dutton, waiting to be discovered – the Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. first started producing wine in scenic, rolling Green Valley 1995 and started their boutique appellation. Green Valley is the 8757 Green Valley Road, Sebastopol winery called Dutton Estate foggiest and coolest wine (707) 829-9463 • www.sebastopolvineyards.com which showcases wines made appellation along the North Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, from their best grapes. Coast. While summer days in Syrah, Zinfandel, Late Harvest Zinfandel The Duttons hang their Green Valley are warm like the tasting room shingle at a rest of wine country, the cool, FUN Tracy Dutton’s mother is co-owner of the multiquaint and cozy bungalow in foggy mornings and evenings FACT generation Kozlowski Farms who are well known here create the perfect climate for producing and growing specialty foods since 1948 and is front of the winery at the corner of Highway 116 and for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir located only 1 mile north from Dutton Estate Winery. Green Valley Road in Sebastopol. grapes. Dutton Estate’s wines are There’s no family more connected to the history of Green Valley than the Duttons, exclusively from the Dutton family’s vineyard spread out who began farming in Sonoma County in 1881. War- through the Green Valley. Two tasting flights are available in the tasting room, ren Dutton began his farming endeavors out of downtown Graton growing apples and recognized before anyone else Reserve and Estate tastings, both featuring selections of the viticulture potential of the Green Valley area. In 1967, single-vineyard estate wines with eye-popping ratings in Warren planted the first Chardonnay grapes in western the 90s from a variety of wine publications. Dutton Estate focuses its production on Chardonnay Sonoma County and the Green Valley. Green Valley turned out to be a world-class spot for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also offers Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, due to the cool climate as well as the area’s special soil and an occasional surprise such as Zinfandel and BY MICHELLE J. BAKER type, Goldridge, that provides grapevines the ideal Late Harvest Zinfandel.
40 Russian River
Suncé, meaning “sun” in Serbo-Croatian, is located in the ing counter] – with no motor, just oars, to take barrels of wine heart of the Russian River Valley appellation where open pas- to market. It was hard work, but satisfying.” Once inside their cozy tasting room, a wide array of vinetures and olive trees once dominated the landscape, old head-pruned Zinfandel vines now quietly assert their beauty. yard-designated wines await you, beginning with the Nestled in this serene setting, Suncé Winery is the ideal place un-wooded Sauvignon Blanc steeped with ripe Asian pear to take a picnic, play some bocce, stroll the estate Pinot Noir fruit and clean, crisp acidity. Moving into the reds, start with the Russian River Valley Zora’s Esvineyard then chat with the winetate Pinot Noir (named after the maker, Frane Franicevic. Suncé Winery Franicevic’s oldest daughter), a Franicevic is much more than Open daily 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. bold Burgundy-style Pinot full of satisfied these days to be able to 1839 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa cherry cola, allspice and raspbermake wine at his Olivet Road win(707) 526-9463 • www.suncewinery.com ries. Also not to be missed are the ery. When he was 17 the family old-vine Zins, especially since moved to Louisiana, where an Check the website to get on their wine club waiting list. uncle ran a shrimp boat a la For- Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Barbera, Zinfandel, Frane shares his origins with this varietal, both of them Croatian rest Gump. When the uncle was Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, born. The Bastoni Vineyard Zinkilled in a tragic accident, Frane Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre and Tempranillo fandel is reminiscent of its old and his father took over the boat FUN Suncé tasting room features a cozy picnic area world origins, brimming with for a couple of years. Frane then atFACT with bocce courts. Perfect to come stay for a while. brambly, luscious blackberries tended West Georgia University and laced with cracked black then moved to San Francisco to take his PhD in East-West Philosophy from the California In- pepper. Not to be missed is the four-time Double Gold Medal stitute of Integral Studies. “I practiced hypnotherapy here in winning Nebbiolo (something of a domestic Barrolo) – a colSanta Rosa – it’s a great way to open one’s receptivity to heal- lector’s wine that Suncé Winery owner and manager Janae Franicevic says: “touches places on the palate that have not ing – but was always making wine at home.” “I grew up in Croatia, in the small fishing village of Sucu- been touched, statistically speaking that is, if it ever makes it raj, on the northern tip of the island of Hvar in the Adriatic out of the vineyard (it’s more difficult to grow than Pinot Sea,” says Suncé Frane. “That’s on the Dalmatian Coast of Noir) it can have the perfect balance of acid, tannins and pH.” Nearly all of Sunce’s highly sought after releases are limCroatia, and I helped my father pick grapes and olives for as long as I can remember. My parents made wine for the fam- ited to 200-400 cases (12-16 barrels) each and are sold ily, but my grandparents were in the trade. They had a boat directly to wine club members, through the tasting room, or – there is a painting of it [pointing to the wall behind the tast- right out of the barrel before they’re ever bottled.
Martin Ray Winery
The Martin Ray Winery is an ambitious amalgam of la- Santa Cruz Mountain to the south are three of the most presbels and wines, all housed in one of Sonoma County’s tigious vineyard locations for Martin Ray grapes. As you plan to visit Martin Ray, try to allow extra time for history-packed winemaking facilities. Here’s its story in a nutshell, related because it helps you understand the different a tour of the historic production facilities as well as extensive labels and the winemaking philosophy behind each. (There’s tasting. The scenic drive there on winding roads is a fascia lot of good stuff to taste at Martin Ray, so you will need to nating combination of forests and vineyards. You’ll know you’ve reached the winery when pick and choose.) you see the large water tower that The man behind it all is ProMartin Ray Winery dominates the skyline at the prietor Courtney Benham, a Open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. winery. Picnic tables and chairs third-generation San Joaquin Valoutside the tasting room look ley winemaker who knew he 2191 Laguna Road, Santa Rosa over verdant hills and vineyards. wanted to own a winery himself. (707) 823-2404 • www.martinraywinery.com Colorful flower boxes surround In 1990, he discovered a treasure Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Rosé, the tasting room. trove of old library wines with the Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon Here’s what’s available: Angelabel of Martin Ray, a Santa Cruz line-label wines, modestly priced, Mountains winemaker. Courtney FUN One of the oldest historical winery sites in fruit-forward wines with screw bought the rights to the Martin FACT California – wander through the cellar and caps for picnic ease; Martin Ray Ray name and later, in 2003, pursee 10,000 gallon old-growth redwood tanks. wines, with more structure and chased the historic Martini-Prati vineyard character; Martin Ray Winery in western Sonoma County; these buildings and property have become home to Reserve wines, all vineyard designates; and Courtney Benham wines, limited-production offerings from some of the Martin Ray line of wines. One common thread that has run consistently through California’s most interesting wine regions, such as Sauvignon all of the history of these wines is the acknowledgement that Blanc from Lake County and Lucca, a big red wine from Paso vineyard location is crucial to the character and quality of Robles. All the classic wine varietals are represented here, wine. At Martin Ray, there is a special emphasis on moun- from Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot, Riestain-grown wines, because of Benham’s conviction that ling, Malbec and Pinot Noir. The friendly tasting room staff can suggest interesting mountain-side elevation provides cooler nights during the growing season and therefore results in longer “hang time” wines to taste side by side so you can compare the difference on the vines for superb fruit ripeness. Diamond Mountain in between, say, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Mountain BY NAN REILEY Napa Valley, Sonoma Mountain in Sonoma County and the and one from Alexander Valley.
Russian Hill Estate
Russian Hill Estate Winery is a family-owned and oper- and cat, Kiri and Ruska. (Both animals, by the way, have offiated newcomer to Russian River Valley. Husband-and-wife cial job functions at the winery aside from acting as greeters: team Edward Gomez and Ellen Mack began searching for they are in charge of the Integrated Pest Management proproperty in the area in the mid-1990s, knowing they wanted gram, specializing in chasing birds away from the ripening to make Pinot Noir and well aware that Russian River Valley grapes and catching little critters that could damage the vines.) Inside the tasting room, although you may be entranced by had already established an outstanding reputation as the prethe views, you’ve come to taste miere region for growing these Patrick’s delicious wines. The wingrapes. In 1997, they purchased a Russian Hill Estate ery is dedicated to Pinot Noir and property that had a home on it, but Open Daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Syrah, but Patrick also makes two no vineyards. In the ensuing years, excellent white wines – Chardonthey have planted vineyards, built 4525 Slusser Road, Windsor nay from one of the prestigious a winery and, under the winemak(707) 575-9428 • www.russianhillestate.com Dutton Ranch vineyards, and an ing leadership of their nephew estate-grown Viognier. Now for Patrick Melley, have created their Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay the Pinot Noirs! Patrick currently own reputation for excellence in FUN Did you know that Russian Hill's tasting room has five Pinots from different RussPinot Noir and, perhaps uniquely, FACT was originally a dog kennel? Maybe that ian River Valley vineyards. This is for a delicious cool-climate Syrah. is why Russian Hill is so dog friendly! an outstanding opportunity to You owe it to yourself to visit taste the difference that vineyard Russian Hill Winery to sample Patrick’s award-winning wines. A second good reason to visit location makes in the wine. All are classic Pinot Noirs, howis to enjoy the stupendous views of one of Sonoma County’s ever, with rich cherry-raspberry and sweet spice flavors. The real surprise of the tasting may well be Patrick’s coolmost enchanting regions. Why not bring your lunch to enjoy here? Russian Hill is set in the midst of rolling hills with climate Syrah. This red Rhône grape has become very popular panoramic views in all directions, but it is isolated in the sense in the last few years, and in style tends almost always to be a that there are no delis or restaurants nearby, and you won’t big, ripe, jammy fruit bomb. The Russian Hill offering is much more elegant and restrained, exhibiting a characteristic ripe, want to hurry away once you’ve arrived. Drive up a winding driveway lined with olive trees to the black fruit and spice flavor, but smooth and deeply rich, with tasting room and winery. The stately, pale-yellow buildings sit soft tannins that come from extended bottle ageing before reatop a hill covered with vineyards, and the tasting room has lease. Choose your favorite wine and enjoy a bottle with your windows that let you admire the scenery while you sip your picnic on the covered outdoor patio while you revel in the BY NAN REILEY wine. You will probably be met by the de rigeur winery dog beauty of Russian River Valley.
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
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Petaluma is one of the oldest best preserved historic cities in all of California! Downtown (as a whole) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A charming riverfront town, Petaluma is filled with Victorian homes and Iron Front buildings. Darling boutiques and delicious restaurants fill in between old bookstores, cafes, and businesses. Petaluma is a delightful place to visit as well as a place to live. Only 32 miles from San Francisco, Petaluma is a central City for exploring 195 wineries in Sonoma County, the redwoods, Point Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay, and the entire north Bay area in general.
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RED UMBRELLA Volpi’s Restaurant Consignment
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Graziano’s Trolley 2ND STRE ET Museum
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Spring Hill Cheese
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Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory
KELLER ESTATE WINERY
to McIvoy Ranch
THINGS TO DO: Red Umbrella Consignment 120 a Kentucky street, Petaluma (707) 778-3499, www.redumbrellaconsignment.com Select from an ever changing array of "shabby chic" antiques, furniture and home decor or browse high-quality, women's consignment clothing (sizes 0-16). Mrs. Grossman’s Paper Company 3810 Cypress Drive, Petaluma (707) 763-1700, www.mrsgrossmans.com The woman who created the red heart sticker and “stickermania!” has her own shop of exquisite paper, invitations, and stickers in Petaluma. Delight in every corner! Spring Hill Cheese, 621 Western ave, Petaluma (707) 762-3446, www.springhillcheese.com All Natural, 100% Fresh Cultured Grade A Jersey Milk, Salt and Enzymes... That's It! No Artificial Hormones. Petaluma Trolley Museum 20 Fourth street, Petaluma, (707) 778-7878 Seee the trolleys that once provided a direct link between Petaluma and booming San Francisco starting in 1904. McEvoy Ranch, 5935 red Hill road, Petaluma (707) 778.2307, www.mcevoyranch.com An organic olive farm specializing in exceptionally fine olive oils and nursery tree sales. An Orchard walk and Mill tour begins at 10am, followed by an olive oil tasting. $30, and well worth it! By appointment only. Lagunitas Brewing Company 1280 North mcDowell Boulevard, Petaluma (707) 769-4495, www.lagunitas.com Brewed the “old school” way with only water, hops, and malted barley, Lagunitas is one of the finest micro-breweries in wine country. A refreshing stop for any guest!
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FOOD Graziano’s Ristorante 170 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma (707) 762-5997, www.grazianosristorante.com An Italian-born chef, who learned from his Mamma, prepares dishes with the same flair, passion, and love. Volpi's Ristorante & Bar 124 Washington street, Petaluma, (707) 765-0695 A local favorite … delicious Italian food served family style – complete with red-checked tablecloths and dripping candles in Chianti bottles. LODGING Sheraton, 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma (707) 283-2888, www.starwoodhotels.com Cozy and comfortable, this hotel sits on the marina, adjacent to the wetlands and walking trails of Shollenberger Park.
Keller Estate graces the emerald hilltops of Petaluma. out the Old World, cellars were a special place in a famDairy cows graze, vines wrap quietly through the sloping ily’s home, a place where food, wine and valuable hills, and green, wide open spaces of the valley floor capture commodities were kept and passed on from family to that quiet place within yourself. family. The Keller family’s Coat of Arms, which is printed Keller Estate is known for Pinots and Chardonnays. It’s on labels, represents the cellar guard, who guards his a maverick winery, the first to plant vines and open its prized treasures with a well-kept key. The colors of Switzerdoors in the mineral rich, dense land fly proudly next to the key. soils of the Petaluma hillside. In It seemed fitting to name this Keller Estate fact, owner Arturo Keller was acwinery “Keller Estate,” harking Open Thursday-sunday 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. tively discouraged from planting back to this family’s profession 5875 Lakeville Highway, Petaluma vines of any kind in this region as the keeper of the treasures (707) 765 2117 • www.kellerestate.com only a few decades ago. Today, for your cellar. Keller Estate reigns supreme Owner Arturo and wife Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Rosé, over west Carneros wines. Deborah planted their first Syrah, Precioso Chardonnay, It’s easy to get lost in the buvines (Chardonnay) in 1989. Precioso Pinot Noir and La Cruz Vineyard Pinot Noir colic scenery, but it is not just The grapes sold for many vinFUN The architecturally stunning winery is considered the expansive views of some of tages to Rombauer, who found FACT one of the most beautiful wineries in Sonoma County. the minerality and depth of California’s pristine agricultural and coastal lowlands, but the flavors the Chardonnay fruit tasting room itself that is a startling, refreshing experi- contributed to their wines. In 1998, daughter Ana joined ence. The room looms wide and tall with local rock, her father and embraced the daunting task of building a cavernous atmosphere, and exposed, hand-hewn beams. new winery. Yet tasting at Keller is an intimate experience. The tasting Succeed they did! In 2000, Keller Estate was established. bar itself is on the smaller side and exceedingly knowl- Working alongside Ted Lemon, the Keller family worked edgeable, friendly staff are ready to pour delicious wines. at making the vineyards exceptional and designed a Go to the “Trade” page of the Keller website to find winery that emphasized elements of ease and gravity flow original recipes to pair with your Keller Estate wines. to preserve the delicate flavors in the wine. The winery, The Keller Family’s origins lie in the small town of designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta was Aarau in Switzerland. The Keller last name originates completed in 2003 and is among the most beautiful from the German word for “cellar.” For centuries through- wineries in Sonoma County. BY ABIGAIL ZIMMERMAN
Sonoma Valley Portworks
Got a sweet tooth? Feeling a bit decadent and naughty? dessert wines. Something else to note is that they press their Let me tell you about a delicious, almost secret place in varietal Ports by foot for the gentlest extraction of flavors posPetaluma. It’ll be between you and me – don’t tell… sible. Talk about old-world style winemaking! Sonoma Valley Portworks is a sweet secret indeed, one I met with Bill Reading, owner and winemaker of this that you simply must check out, even if Ports and dessert unique place. His enthusiasm and passion about what he does wines are only an occasional indulgence for you. is infectious. This man loves what he does and it is a pleasure Located in the Foundry and an interesting education to Wharf – a cool little enclave of chat with him about his wines and Sonoma Valley Portworks artist’s studios, industrial buildwinemaking techniques. He is Open monday-saturday, Noon to 5 p.m. ings, restaurants and shops on happy to spend lots of time with 613 Second Street, Petaluma the river in Petaluma, Sonoma each visitor, explaining the wines Valley Portworks is a fascinating and giving private tours of the fa(707) 769-5203 • www.portworks.com and delicious destination. The cility and surrounding area. Deco Port; A3 Muscat; Maduro, an older wood-aged Port; tasting room is cozy and comThe wines at Sonoma Valley two varietal Ports: Aris Petite Sirah and Aris Petit Verdot; fortable, housed in a building Portworks are fabulous (in my Duet, an after-dinner sherry; and two Petite Sirah Grappas constructed in the early 1900s. humble opinion)! I was fortunate Open-beam ceilings provide an enough to taste the following FUN Sonoma Valley Portworks presses their varietal airy feel and the tasting bar is FACT Ports by foot for the gentlest extraction of flavors. wines: about as authentic as it can be – Deco Port ($18): This sumpit’s a thick wooden plank suptuous wine is a chocoholics dream ported by three sturdy barrels. Behind the tasting bar, more – aromas of dark chocolate, caramel, baking spices and ripe barrels create a rustic backdrop. To further add to the com- berry are enhanced by a touch of earthiness. These aromas fortable, authentic appeal of this place, gnarly old vines, continue as flavors in the decadently rich, balanced mouth. draped with tiny white lights circle the perimeter of the room. A3 Muscat ($30): In a word, yum! Aromas and flavors of Sonoma Valley Portworks is the only winery in Sonoma roses, cinnamon potpourri, candied orange peel and ginger County that specializes in Ports and dessert wines, and one abound, all wrapped up in a luscious, sexy mouthfeel. of only a handful in California that does so. They are also the Wine tasting is always complimentary here, and on Satonly winery in California that is licensed to import wine from urdays, the wines are paired with with cheeses or dessert Australia to use in the production of several of their Ports and items. What a sweet deal! BY SUE STRAIGHT, THE WINE WENCH
Sonoma County Wine Tasting oﬀ Highway 101
DRY CREEK 4 Papapietro Perry Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 A blend of fun-loving friends who wanted to drink Pinot daily so they made it themselves! Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery . . . . . . . .6 One of the most acclaimed wineries in the country, Ferrari-Carano's wines benefit from an extremely labor-intensive vineyard program and two owners' beliefs in a great glass of wine over financial gain. Dry Creek Vineyard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 The first new winery in all of Dry Creek after the end of Prohibition! Dry Creek paved the way for a whole new era of winemaking in Sonoma Valley. Truett Hurst Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 A super cool, very eco-conscious winery specializing in Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs with more than 26 acres of organic gardens and vineyards. The very best of Dry Creek Valley! Forchini Vineyards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 From estate pruned to estate bottled, Forchini is a definitely “hands on” wine-house that produces elegant barrel-aged wines from their historic vineyards in Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. WESTSIDE ROAD 10 Alderbrook Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 A long-time favorite for all visitors to Sonoma County, rural Alderbrook is best known for their award-winning Pinots and Zinfandels. Armida Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Few wineries offer fine, hand-crafted wines and sweeping, glorious views of the Russian River Valley! Matrix Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Enjoy amazing Pinot Noirs in the “Sip Sip Lounge,” where the Matrix WInery invites you to sit back, savor its wines and literally, watch the grapes grow! Hop Kiln Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Sine 1976, Hop Kiln has been known for their striking proprietary blends. Don’t miss the picnicperfect “Thousand Flowers” (a white wine blend) and “Big Red,” Hop Kiln’s epic Zinfandel blend. Moshin Vineyards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Once a math teacher at San Jose State, Rick Moshin turned his family’s dream of “one-day” and with a lot of elbow grease, created this unique winery specializing in small-lot, hand-crafted Pinots, Chardonnays and Zinfandels. EASTSIDE BUNCH 16 Rodney Strong Vineyards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Rodney Strong is a well-deserved household name for delicious, consistent wines with big appeal. Christopher Creek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 A small, family-owned winery, Christopher Creek produces only about 4,000 cases of sumptuous, hearty reds, Chardonnay and Port. Acorn Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Dolcetto! Zinfandel! Sangiovese! Oh My! A classic, family-owned winery known for producing wonderfully approachable, food-friendly field blends. Open by appointment only. Merriam Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 World-class Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Winning numerous awards, Merriam offers some of the finest varietals in the Russian River. Foppiano Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Steeped in Russian River history for more than 100 years, the Foppiano family story confirms the ageold value of persistence and commitment to dreams. Each bottle reflects a family determined to bring you the finest bounty from their vineyards and soil. Christie Vineyards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Established only in 2003, word of mouth spread quickly to build a well-deserved buzz around this family-owned and operated wine boutique and winery. Buy a bottle or literally, buy your own barrel! GATEWAY TO ALEXANDER VALLEY 23 Simi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Good taste and innovation have long been hallmarks of Simi wines. Come see for yourself and enjoy delectable foods and fine wines. Clos du Bois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 A classic, nationally-recognizable brand, Clos du Bois produces classic wines that are accessible, refined and easy to drink. Trentadue Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Trentadue is a visitor's delight. Take a gondola tour of Trentadue’s carefully maintained vineyards, learn about the vines and sample 6 wines along the way. A must see! Geyser Peak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 One of California's oldest wineries, Geyser Peak provides finely crafted wines from one of the most diverse appellations in the nation. deLormier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 A long-time favorite for reds, whites and dessert wines, DeLormier's new vineyard designate Cabernet's have already won several gold medals. A sure treat for your taste buds. Sausal Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Sausal, Known for having the oldest Zinfandel vines in all of Alexander Valley, Sausal is best known for their Estate, Old Vine and even Century Vine Zinfandels. DOWNTOWN HEALDSBURG 30 Kendall Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Take a break from the bistros and galleries around the downtown Healdsburg Square and stop in the Kendall Jackson Tasting Room. Only here can you taste all of the label's premier Grand Reserve, Highland Estates and Stature wines! Topel Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Soulful reds that perfectly reflect the soil and climates of their Biodynamic and organic origins. Prohibition, The Speak Easy Wine Club . . . .34 Finish your day of wine tasting with a “Bang!” in this 1920s speakeasy wine bar. Discover some new cult labels or microbrews. Enter through a 1930s phone booth at the rear of the wine shop – just lift up the receiver and the rear panel swings open. Seghesio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Grandfather Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel grapes in 1895. True to form, four generations of Seghesio family have tended more than 400 acres to continue to produce distinct Zinfandel and Italian varietals. Selby Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Owner & Winemaker Susie Selby makes wine in honor of her father, Dr. David Selby. Only making wines, she would love to drink, Susie has created a wine label both poignant and especially delicious! Don't miss her new Sauvignon Blanc release! RUSSIAN RIVER 37 Kendall-Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Kendall-Jackson has been pleasing customers and filling glasses throughout our great country for decades. Hook & Ladder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 What can you expect from a retired San Francisco firefighter and his wife? Exceptional wines, from the highest quality grapes, that people love to drink! Dutton Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 What began with a hand shake in 1998 between friends, has grown into a small, winery powerhouse specializing in Chardonnays, Pinots and Zinfandel. Suncé . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 “Suncé” is Croatian for sun, the source of all things wonderful... like each bottle of Suncé wine! Martin Ray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 The Martin Ray Tasting Room dates back to the early 1900s and was a bunkhouse for Italian immigrants working the harvest and crush. This winery is the longest continually operating winery in Sonoma County and even stayed open during Prohibition by selling sacramental wine to Rabbis in New York under the label "Martini & Prati." Russian Hill Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Did you know that Russian Hill's Tasting Room was originally a dog kennel? Newcomers to winemaking, owners Edward Gomez and Ellen Mack have developed a sterling reputation for vineyard designate Pinot Noirs from the Russian River and more recently, a cool-climate Syrah. PETALUMA 44 Keller Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Go for the classic cars on display and stay for the cold climate Syrah and steel fermented Chardonnay. One of Sonoma's best kept secrets! Sonoma Valley Portworks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Producing the finest Ports, Grappa, and dessert wines from hand-selected California grapes only available in Northern California wine country.
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