Sonoma Winter Wineland, Let it Snow… Elsewhere
Dozens of wineries located along the Northern Sonoma County Wine Road participated in the 19th Annual Winter Wineland last weekend. A spectacular celebration of wine, food, and art extended from Santa Rosa to Healdsburg and throughout the three valleys – Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley, among the green pastures of sunny California winter.
Arriving rather late, we decided to explore the northernmost part of Dry Creek Valley – a quiet, remote area with winding rural roads blessed with sweeping views of the vineyards.
At Frick Winery, owner/winemaker Bill Frick poured his most interesting 2007 cinsaut into our glasses. Clear dark ruby in color, redolent of red berries and spice, the wine is a rare kind. There are only seven acres of this grape produced in Sonoma comparing to 11, 490 acres of cab sauv.
There was a makeshift hotdog/marshmallow stand in a small front yard of the winery, and a fire pit surrounded by lawn chairs. Plenty of visitors took their sweet time here, grilling hot dogs in the sun, watching fallen leaves carried away by sudden gusts of wind, and enjoying rare counoise, grenache, and carignane.
Our next stop was at the neighboring Pedroncelli, where Shirley Buchignani gave us a taste of a smooth 100% chardonnay from F. Johnson Vineyard. Then we tried sangiovese from Alto Vineyards paired with a cup of minestrone cooked by the winery recipe, and some great zin from Mother Clone. In the winery cellar, vintage port from Four Grapes Estate was paired with Bert’s Desserts truffles made with wine.
Pedroncelli is a family business open since 1927, and practices environmentally-protective, sustainable winemaking.
Ten minutes before closing, we were rushing into David Coffaro Vineyards & Winery, where the owner/winemaker, his wife, and his staff were offering barrel tastings of the futures to be bottled in a matter of days.
We tried 2009 Estate Cuvee (31% zin, 31% cab, 25% carignan, and 13% petit sirah) in various degrees of aging; 100% 2009 petit sirah, and the same wine aged to perfection to be bottled in three days, called Matt’s Select and poured by the budding winemaker, Matt Wilson.
David Coffaro is a low-profile establishment, retailing on premises and distributing through Dave’s Wine Club.
Northern Sonoma County Wine Road annual events include January Winter Wineland, March Barrel Tasting, and November Wine & Food Affair.