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Andrew Murray Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley

Andrew Murray Vineyards is a relatively new and good Rhône specialist. The range is dominated by Syrah. There is an approachable fruit driven example Tous Les Jours as well as a number of single vineyard wines. Vineyard sources have included Stolpman, Thompson, Watch Hill and Terra Bella. Esperance is a stylish blend of Grenache, Syrah […]

A Donkey and Goat Winery Berkeley

An exciting and recently established producer providing juicy, exuberant Rhône style reds and Pinot Noir as well as rosé and both a Roussanne and a couple of Chardonnays. The Brandts worked in the Rhône and Burgundy before deciding to establish their own operation in 2003, which is warehouse based. The Grenache rosé is ripe and […]

Adelaida Cellars Paso Robles

This family-owned winery was established in 1981 and can be found just inland of the Pacific with estate vineyards planted at altitude and enjoying the benefit of considerable day to night temperature variations providing ripe, well balanced grapes with great acidity. The mountain limestone based soils also help in providing fruit of naturally very low […]

Marimar Torres Vineyards Green Valley of Russian River Valley

Based in the cool Green Valley appellation, Miguel Torres’’ sister Marimar established this operation in 1986, planting the small 33 ha (81 acre) Don Miguel vineyard equally between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Small plantings of Albariño, Syrah and Tempranillo have followed. A varietal Albariño as well as blends of Chardonnay/Albariño and Syrah/Tempranillo are now released. […]

Tin Barn Vineyards Sonoma County

This small winery is a collaboration of five friends, including winemaker Michael Lancaster who manages its daily operation. The business name emanates from the old barn found on the Sonoma Coast where Lancaster sources his earthy, cool climate Syrah. Other wines include grassy and lightly citrusy Sauvignon Blanc from Carneros, where the winery tasting room […]

Joseph Swan Russian Winery River Valley

This is the oldest established winery in the Russian River. It was founded by the original owner, Joe Swan, Lynn Berglund’s father in 1967. Four decades later the wines reflect the history of the property and are both traditional and characterful. Pinot Gris is rich and honeyed with a firm mineral structure, the fruit will […]

Steele Wines Lake County

Jed Steele has enormous experience of the wine business in California, having previously been the founding winemaker at KENDALL-JACKSON. He established his own label in 1991 and he now produces an extensive range of reds and whites, with the top-of-the-line examples coming from an almost bewildering array of single-vineyard sources. These are not only impressive […]

St Francis Vineyards Sonoma Valley

Impressive, medium-sized Sonoma winery founded in 1971. An extensive range is produced, mainly from Sonoma County fruit and at the top end the quality is striking. Zinfandels, both Old Vines and Three Valleys, are big, brooding, ripe examples of the variety. Two other examples from the Anacieto and Bacchi vineyards are Russian River Valley sourced. […]

Spann Vineyards Sonoma Valley

Another small artisan winemaking husband and wife team who first got the bug through drinking wine (Betsy lived in Bordeaux for a while and Peter was a wine buyer for restaurants, and seemed to be doing an admirable job at it, too). Whilst Betsy is the hands-on winemaker, Peter sources fruit from other vineyards as […]

Skewis Wines Russian River Valley

Originally established as a top-notch producer of Chardonnay in 1973 by Brice Cutrer Jones. The wines are consistent well priced, particularly the two leading cuvées below. With the exception of Les Pierres, which is just to the north of Carneros, the vineyard plots are all Russian River. The Russian River Ranches bottling is a blend […]

WH Smith Wines Sonoma County

Bill Smith established his reputation for making great California reds when he ran the LA JOTA winery on Howell Mountain, creating massive and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah – some of legendary proportions. The Smiths have now sold some of their interest here on the Sonoma Coast to David DEL DOTTO. As well as […]

Simi Winery Alexander Valley

This winery was originally established in 1876 by the immigrant Italian Simi family and is now a part of the Constellation Brands Icon Estate range. The wines here have been improving across recent vintages, they are altogether more accessible than previously, particularly in the case of the lower priced Sonoma County wines. Sauvignon Blanc is […]

Selby Winery Russian River Valley

A relatively small operation producing small lots across a fairly extensive range with several wines only available at the tasting room in Healdsburg. However if you are travelling in the area it is well worth a visit. Throughout the range the wines offer generally excellent value for money. The winery was established in the early […]

Roederer Estate Anderson Valley

Champagne house Louis Roederer has set up its California outpost in the cool Anderson Valley. Unlike a number of their competitors they concentrate on producing just four wines. The regular Brut NV, made from all three Champagne grapes, and Rosé, from Pinot Noir, provide good value and a riper, fuller style than their French counterparts. […]

J Rochioli Winery Russian River Valley

The Rochioli family have been grape growers for far longer than they have been wine producers. They do however produce some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River, along with impressive Sauvignon Blanc. A Pinot Noir rosé is also made and Estate Syrah and Valdigué are also now available. A sparkling […]

Ravenswood Wine Sonoma Valley

No longer small, this Sonoma winery has a major focus on good to very good Zinfandel. The winery was founded in 1976 by winemaker Joel Peterson and partner Reed Foster, who have now sold a controlling interest to Constellation Brands. Vintners Blend is a good budget label, including Zinfandel, Merlot and Chardonnay. In the second […]

Porter Creek Vineyards Russian River Valley

Small family-owned winery producing four separate Pinot Noirs, two Chardonnays, a Syrah, an oldvine Zinfandel and a striking example of old-vine Carignane. The George’s Hill Chardonnay is in a tighter, leaner style than others from the region, with notes of apple and pear, rather than more exotic tropical notes, and an impressive mineral core. The […]

Papapietro Perry Winery Russian River Valley

The first commercial vintage was as recent as 1998 at this very new, small but high-quality warehouse winery with a range of single vineyard Pinot Noirs and two special clonal selections, Pommard Clones and 777 Clones, which are touch pricier. There is also a small amount of Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley including two […]

Novy Family Wines Russian River Valley

Novy was recently purchased by KJ, having been run by Adam and Dianna Lee of Siduri and Dianna’s family, the Novys. The wines which are dominated by Rhône styles, including a Russian River Viognier, are made at the Siduri facility in Santa Rosa. The intention is for Siduri to remain focussed on Pinot Noir while […]

Robert Mueller Wine Russian River Valley

The Muellers established their small family winery in the centre of Healdsburg in 1991. Since then production has gradually risen to a few thosand cases a year of good, rich and stylish Syrah Block Eleven, Zinfandel Old Vines, Sauvignon and Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir from a number of sites, all in the Russian […]

Mayo Family Winery Sonoma County

Sizeable family run winery producing an extensive and generally impressive range of wines sourcing fruit from both the Sonoma and Napa Valleys and producing wines in relatively small lots. In addition to the wines profiled here Pinot Gris from the Balleto Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast and an easy drinking red blend Libertine offer good […]

Matanzas Creek Winery Russian River Valley

Medium-sized operation producing mainly Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and an increasing amount of impressive Pinot Noir. Matanzas Creek produced some stunning wines during the late 1980s and early 90s, and the winery looks to be right back in the top division. Small amounts of a powerful Reserve Merlot, a very pricey Journey meritage blend, a […]

Macrae Family Winery Sonoma County

David Macrae sources Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from the Bacigalupi Vineyard and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the Stagecoach Vineyard owned by the Krupp Bothers at VERAISON in the Napa Valley. Winemaker Kerry Damskey is charged with making wines that are true to their terroir, all being from single vineyards. The Chardonnay displays typical […]

Laurel Glen Vineyard Sonoma Mountain

Small operation with some 16 ha (40 acres) of prime vineyards planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon is very much the dominant variety. The property has thin, rocky and superbly drained soils which provide an excellent base for producing explosive Cabernet Sauvignon and a second wine Counterpoint. The Cabernet is 100% […]

Landmark Vineyards Sonoma Valley

Very fine and stylish Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are made on this property by winemaker Eric Stern. During the mid-1990s roving wine consultant Helen Turley of MARCASSIN provided additional input and direction. There is a commitment here to producing wines from the ripest fruit from low-yielding, meticulously-tended vineyards and with minimal intervention. Chardonnay is the […]

La Crema Winery Russian River Valley

A significant winery in the Kendall-Jackson empire, La Crema was originally established in 1979. It produces a now extensive range of good, well-crafted and reasonably priced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with Pinot Gris, and Viognier. There are particularly good value wines taking the Sonoma Coast and Monterey appellations. An extensive and impressive array of […]

Kendall-Jackson Winery Sonoma County

Vast, private family owned wine company, founded by the late Jess Jackson, producing an extensive range under its own label and also owning or part-owning a considerable number of wine operations in the premium-wine sector throughout California. Leading brands include ARROWOOD, EDMEADES, and LA CREMA and the company also has interests in Italy (Tenuta di […]

Iron Horse Vineyards Green Valley of Russian River Valley

Like MARIMAR TORRES, Iron Horse is located in the cool Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA (which may very shortly become officially known as Green Valley), where it produces some of the best sparkling wines in California. These are sourced from the lower-lying sites most affected by early morning fog, which provide fruit with […]

Kamen Estate Wines Sonoma Valley

Estate in the south-western Mayacamas range with vineyards at an altitude of 335-440 m (1,100-1,450 ft), growing the Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well as Petite Sirah, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Syrah. The meagre, volcanic, rocky soils rarely produce yields beyond 1.5 tons/acre, resulting in wines with great intensity and depth. […]

Paul Hobbs Winery Sonoma County

Winemaker Paul Hobbs spends the northern-hemisphere spring months vinifying wines in South America, where he has helped in shaping the style at VALDIVIESO in Chile and CATENA in Argentina. Indeed he also produces his own premium Argentine Malbec, COBOS, from high altitude vineyards in the Upper Mendoza. Equally important, he also produces benchmark wines in […]

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