Our journey continues with a trip out to Alexander Valley to the namesake winery. The advice we got from our new friends Dena and Ari was that “You can’t go wrong with anything” from Alexander Valley Vineyards.
Our host John was our tour guide through the many offerings from AVV and he was happy to share stories about the family and the meanings behind the wines that they make. A very entertaining and educational experience.
2016 Gewürztraminer – Nice floral nose with a crisp and clean finish.
2015 Estate Chardonnay – Great tropical fruit nose, and nicely balanced mid palate. Very fruity and easy finish.
2016 Dry Rose’ of Sangiovese – Bright fresh fruit on the nose which carries nicely on to the mid and finishes slightly dry.
*2015 Homestead Red Blend – A gorgeous blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, Grenache, Cab Sauv, Mourvedre and Syrah. Bold fruity nose and a silky mid palate. Beautiful fruit all the way through with a lightly spicy finish. Definitely going home with me.
2015 Estate Syrah – I got a vegetal aroma as well as fruit on the nose. Quite robust fruit on the mid palate with a great smooth finish.
2015 Wine Club Reserve – Wine club members designed this blend . . . Big fruit on the nose, loads of dark fruit . .a nice spicy smooth mid and finish. great job wine club.
2015 Estate Cabernet Franc – Mild nose, vegetal but silky mid . .nice fruit on the mid as well and a spicy finish.
2015 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Lots of dark fruit aromas, a smooth mid and good fruit flavors carry thru. Good texture and a dry finish.
2014 100% Organic Cabernet Sauvignon – Robust fruit on the nose and a smooth mid palate . .similar to the previous Cab, but the finish is a more mild dryness . . probably because of the longer time for the tannins to settle.
AVV has a 3 tiered Zinfandel offering, one of those grapes that grows very well in Alexander Valley. We start with the “second tier” offering and move thru.
2013 Temptation Zinfandel – Nose is bursting with plums and dark berries. and it has a hint of cherries on the mid palate. Smooth texture and very nice finish.
2013 Sin Zin – Their “entry-level” offering . . . a milder nose and mid palate than the previous . . but similar in flavors and texture.
*2013 Redemption Zinfandel – All the fruit for this wine is from Dry Creek Valley. A great nose. . .dark fruit, peppers and baking spices. A silky smooth mid, flavors translate across well. And a mildly spicy finish. One of these came home.
2012 Reserve Alluvia – This one is a Rhone blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache. a mildly peppery nose greets you. nice fruit in the smooth mid palate and a surprisingly smooth (not at all dry) finish completes the show. Very nice.
2013 Reserve Old Vine Zin – Great nose like so many of these Zins, mildly peppery but good solid fruit flavors thru to the super smooth finish.
2013 Reserve Primitivo – This grape is the Italian cousin to Zinfandel . . .Bold and bursting fruit on the nose, silky smooth mid and a mildly dry finish.
2012 Cyrus – This wine is their FLAGSHIP wine named for Cyrus Alexander. They have won multiple awards over the years for this one wine in particular. A bordeaux blend with a beautiful nose of red and dark fruits, satiny smooth mid palate texture with great fruit thru the exquisite finish. I can see why it commands so many accolades.
2014 Late Harvest Zinfandel – A dessert wine made from Zinfandel. . . intriguing. I got dried fruit and almonds on the nose and a hint of chocolate on the mid palate. Sweet and quite powerful.
Alexander Valley Vineyards is one of those locations that is tucked away, off the main path. But, it is well worth the journey to find it and discover how wonderful their wines are for yourself.
Simi Winery was suggested to me by a friend. We visited the tasting room in Healdsburg as the first of three that we would visit this afternoon in this cool town.
2014 Russian River Chardonnay – Bright tropical fruits, a smooth full-bodied texture that is well-balanced and more viscous than I had expected.
2013 Alexander Valley Chardonnay – A brighter, more crisp aroma than the previous. Flavors of green apple and citrus that is lighter and more refreshing than the previous also.
*2014 Cuvee 1876 – A white blend of Gewürztraminer, Muscat Cannelli and Chardonnay. Beautiful fruity and floral nose with flavors of apricots and peaches. A gorgeous easy drinker. We took 2 of these home.
NV Maiale Cieco – Simple translation from Italian is “Blind Pig”. We were told a quite entertaining story by our host about how this wine came to be. The whole story can be found here. Great nose, very bold though the flavors that follow are less than what the nose promises. It finishes mildly dry. It seems the story has more interest for me than the wine itself.
2013 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – Nice red fruit on the nose as the dark fruit comes thru nicely on the palate. It continues with a smooth evenly balanced texture and a slightly dry finish.
2013 Alexander Valley Merlot – Good nose and good fruit. Mid is smooth and it has a dry finish.
2013 Malbec – Nicely bold nose and a smooth mid texture. Also has good fruit in the mid and it finishes dry as well.
2012 Petite Verdot – Great bright red fruit on the nose and good fruit carry thru to the mid palate, though that flavor in its texture fades quickly. It finishes moderately dry.
2009 Late Harvest Riesling – Honey, apricots and peaches on the nose. This dessert wine has 14% residual sugar so it is quite sweet, but lighter than some others I’ve tried before.
Portalupi Wine has a tasting room in Healdsburg so we stopped by there. This stop was suggested to us by our new friends from Lake county.
2016 Vermentino – Clean citrus aromas, a bit of lemongrass . . . crisp mid palate, very nice texture and very refreshing. Great balance.
2013 Pinot Noir Paso Robles – Deep dark brooding nose with aromas of dried fruit like plums and figs. Quite hot for a pinot, alcohol is at 15.5%. It is so high that (for me) it negates any potential flavors that are there. This will wake up your tongue.
2015 Barbera – Dark cherry nose with a hint of fig. Flavors carry over nicely onto the palate. A bit spicy with a slightly dry finish.
*2016 Bianco – White blend of Viognier, Muscat and Sauvignon blanc. It has a fresh and floral nose as well as a bright refreshing mid palate. Great patio wine.
2014 Zinfandel – Russian River Valley fruit. Very bold and robust nose. It starts very smooth and the flavors carry into the mid. Then the alcohol level hits (15.2%) adding spice and warmth to the finish.
2015 Rosso – A blend of Zinfandel and Barbera. Bright and jammy on the nose. Flavors follow with a smooth entry that gets warm toward the middle, but stays smooth all the way to the finish.
Our final stop for the day was to be Toad Hollow Vineyards in downtown Healdsburg. I had only heard of these guys because of a random bottle we got from another winery in a “Mystery Box” of wine.
NV Amplexus Cremant Brut Sparkling – A gorgeous blend of Chardonnay, Mauzac and Chenin Blanc. Very fresh and fruity and lots of bubbles. A nicely tart and dry finish. Very refreshing.
2016 Unoaked Chardonnay – Fresh citrus aromas with a smooth slightly vanilla mid and a tart finish.
2016 Dry Rose’ of Pinot Noir – Beautiful rose and strawberry aromas. Crisp and clean but the flavors fade very quickly.
2016 Pinot Noir Monterey County – Forest floor on the nose and a smooth mid. The flavors are more Umami than fruit on this one.
2015 Merlot Sonoma County– Big juicy nose, very typical Merlot . .smooth mid and great fruit following (Cherry and dark berries) and a not dry finish.
2012 Erik’s The Red – A proprietary blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, Touriga Nacional and Pinot Noir. Hints of dried fruit on the nose, but the flavors seemed muddled, nothing really distinctive . . other than disappointment.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – Lodi – Nicely bold dark berry nose with chocolate, cherry, and blackberry on the mid. Smooth dry finish.
*NV Toad Hollow Risque’ Sparkling – The one that started this for me. 100% Mauzac grapes. Aromas of honey and nectarines present and the flavors confirm. Crisp and bubbly. A very nice refreshing wine. Taking a couple of these home.
Day six is now in the books. Time to hit the hot tub.