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Tag Archives for " North Coast "

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 […]

Hartford Family Winery Sonoma Green Valley

Founded in 1993 by Don Hartford and his wife Jennifer Jackson-Hartford, of the KENDALL-JACKSON clan, this operation is dedicated to producing Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Chardonnay. Winemaker Mike Sullivan purposely crafts very Burgundian styles of Chardonnay and Pinot – tighter, more structured wines than many of their neighbours’. Both are good medium-term cellar propositions. Zinfandel […]

Hanzell Vineyards Sonoma Valley

Small producer located high up in the Mayacamas Mountains. Hanzell was established way back in 1953 and has long been a pioneer of first-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from its hillside estate vineyard. The operation is built on the quality of this mountain terroir. The Chardonnay is a tight, structured example in its youth with […]

Halleck Vineyard Russian River Valley

Ross Halleck produces a number of brilliant Pinot Noirs as well as very good Sauvignon Blanc and a particularly unusual and very striking, minerally Gewürztraminer. The first vintage was in 1999. His home vineyard is tiny just 0.4ha (1 acre) planted solely to Pinot Noir and although not tasted the wine produced is likely to […]

Goldeneye Winery Anderson Valley

Dan and Margaret DUCKHORN are responsible for distinctive, once almost ferocious Napa Merlots as well as the Paraduxx Zinfandels. Goldeneye is their Anderson Valley property, specialising in Pinot Noir and also now making Pinot Gris from the Split Rail Vineyard and estate grown Confluence Vineyard Gewürztraminer. The vineyards stand out for their cool climate and […]

Geyser Peak Winery Alexander Valley

This is a substantial operation with an extensive range. The California Series varietal wines are generally sound and tend to emphasize straightforward fruit characters. With the exception of the Sonoma County Chardonnay the other wines take the California appellation. A level up are the wines produced under the Appellation Series banner and as well as […]

Gallo of Sonoma Winery Dry Creek Valley

One of the world’s largest wine companies, E & J Gallo, is known the world over for its Gallo and Turning Leaf volume labels – the former hugely successful and very commercial. There is also a Coastal range from the giant facility at Modesto in California’s Central Valley, but it is the top two wines […]

Fritz Winery Dry Creek Winery

Fritz was established as long ago as 1979 and production is still small and bespoke. Grapes come from both the Dry Creek Valley and the cooler Russian River, which provides an excellent source for Chardonnay, particularly the famed Dutton Ranch. Helen Turley of MARCASSIN spent a couple of years consulting here and the quality shines […]

Frick Winery Dry Creek Valley

Small Rhône specialist with further interesting releases from Carignane, Mourvèdre, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Noir and Counoise are made as well as the wines below. Bill Frick produces bespoke wines from 2 ha (5 acres) of vines on a small property established in 1976 in a cooler sector of the Dry Creek Valley. Key to the […]

Edmeades Winery Anderson Valley

Mendocino-based winery, producing an extensive range of full, brambly Zinfandels as well as a Gewürztraminer. The Mendocino vineyards for the Zinfandel are above the coastal fog line and the warm sunny days are complemented by cool nights, providing good acidity for structured wines. They are typically big and brawny, offering weight and power rather than […]

Dutton-Goldfield Winery Russian River Valley

Very impressive Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from a range of sites, mostly in the cool Green Valley. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are both sourced from the cooler Dutton Ranch, which is family owned. The east-facing Rued Vineyard is planted to Chardonnay now over 40 years old. The resulting wine has both a firm structure and […]

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