What To Drink Now: California

Rockpile Ranch Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County

First off…sorry for the delay in content for the past two weeks. We are moving and it is all-consuming. Still living our blessed Hawaii life, just in a slightly new location. Stay tuned for a whole new look for the site as I have also been working on a new approach to help you discover something new to toast with tonight.

But for tonight, please open a bottle of California wine, preferably from Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Russian River, or really all of Sonoma County as once again the region faces devastating wildfires…many while also dealing with the after-effects of an earthquake in the area, and no power due to the “preventative” PG&E electricity shut off.

The fires are creeping into areas that had already been destroyed by the wildfires around harvest two years ago, and with historically strong winds and drought conditions, the current “Kincaid” fire is ripping through the region with vengeance. Please support the region in the coming weeks and months as the call for help is raised, and do your little part tonight by opening one of their bottles. This is story is about a handful of great wines, but the true story is about the people. Thousands displaced due to evacuations, many that will return to find their homes gone, along with their jobs. And bravo to the fire fighters. You are putting your lives on the line to help others. Thank you. #cheers🍷

Francis Ford Coppola’s playground toasts his love for wine, food, hospitality, and of course, movies. His Geyserville winery is “a wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy all the best things in life: food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming, and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life,” as noted by Coppola. Right now the winery sits at the front door of the Kincaid fire, closed indefinitely since Friday. Coppola Directors Cut Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($32) displays classic black cherry, licorice, ripe blackberry, and mocha notes with a smooth, inviting finish.

Dutcher Crossing sits in the heart of Dry Creek, about 5 minutes from the town of Healdsburg, crafting robust Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon and racy Chardonnay, to note a few favorites. With an eye on being a steward of the land, creating a sense of hospitality in every experience, and producing delicious wines, the family-focused winery delivers artisanal wines with heart. Dutcher Crossing Costello Vineyard Chardonnay ($35) from Alexander Valley delivers elegant layers of honeycomb, crisp apple, lemon, and spice.

David Ramey is a visionary when it comes to producing Chardonnay. You can guarantee that from his Healdsburg winery greatness will come, like his Ramey Richie Vineyard Chardonnay ($65) from Russian River, is energetic and vibrant, balancing freshness with an alluring undertone of richness. Meaty and bold, yet textured and elegant, Ramey shines with Syrah as well, like his Ramey Rodgers Creek Syrah ($65) melds wildflowers with dried herb and smoky, savory bacon fat.

A decided lover of mountain fruit, Jess Jackson began his Legacy Winery in 1990 to highlight the best mountain fruit on his Stonestreet Estate in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. The wines represent the land and all of Mother Earth’s splendor. Legacy Red Blend ($100) reveals the rusticity, with a bold, robust palate thanks to a hearty percentage of Petit Verdot (about 9% in the latest release) with floral, wild herb notes from 13% Cabernet Franc, blending into tobacco, cherry, and leather filled Cabernet Sauvignon.

Two of our favorite human beings in the world are Windsor, CA residents Mac and Lil McDonald. Mac grew up in Texas, not far outside of Dallas, and at a young age tried an earthy, truffle, forest floor filled Burgundy and fell in love with Pinot Noir. He moved to California, and though he had a successful career outside of wine, the draw to make his own Pinot Noir from premium California fruit led him to create Vision Cellars. Extremely small production, with each one of his delicious selections delivering a savoriness I love in Pinot Noir, particularly those made by Mac.

Founded in 1972, Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Vineyard works sustainably on their expansive 185-acre estate to craft wines with character, while maintaining approachability. Dry Creek Meritage reveals this with their Dry Creek Vineyard Meritage ($30) Bordeaux-style blend is soft, balanced, and easy, with raspberry, black plum, baking spice, and lilac notes.

Alexander Valley’s Jordan Winery celebrated its annual Halloween party last weekend, welcoming friends to their beloved winery, pouring bottle after bottle of their celebrated Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today the winery sits under mandatory evacuation, without power, waiting to see which way the wind blows. Always looking for ways to innovate, utilizing the gifts their gorgeous estate gives them, the winery debuted a new gift idea just last week. Guests who visit the winery and enjoy the wines during one of their many culinary experiences, as well as guests at home, will now have a true farm-to-table experience beyond the fruit. Produced from clay soils found throughout the expansive Jordan estate, the Jordan Garden Plate will be available via the winery. More information available here.

Above Alexander Valley, on the ridges of the Mayacamus Mountains, Fortress Winery delivers one of the best bang-for-your-buck Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the region. Fortress Cabernet Sauvignon ($20) is smooth, easy, and luscious, highlighting dark and milk chocolate with dusty herb, ripe cherry, and a hint of earthy minerality thanks to their mountain terroir.


One comment

  1. You do know your grapes and their heritage. Just amazing. Good article Hay. Very well done. Bottoms up XOXOX


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