Friday, February 26, 2016

Healdsburg: A Winery Blog (shocking, right?!)

Three awesome couples recently took a long weekend in Healdsburg, California. These are the wineries we visited. And please note this is the order in which they were visited...which may explain some things!

We were driving from SFO to our VRBO in Healdsburg.  We made a few pit-stops along the way.

Our first stop was at B.R. Cohn.  Fun fact, this winery was started by Bruce Cohn who was the manager of the Doobie Brothers.  If you don't know who the Doobie Brothers are you're probably too young to enjoy good wines so this is not your blog!  This was my 2nd time at B.R. Cohn and both times have been very enjoyable.  They have some delicious wines, most especially Cabernet's.  Not to mention stunning grounds which happened to be blooming with mustard.

Playing with my new fisheye lens at the B.R. Cohn entrance

Tree-lined pathway to the vineyard

Mustard blooming in the vineyard

And, of course, the wine!

Our next stop was at Imagery where I happen to be a wine club member.  I love Joe Binzinger's appreciation of both wine and art.  Each Imagery label is by a different artist and the only requirement is that it must have the Parthenon somewhere on the label.

Some coasters representing past labels

Imagery display

Their grounds hold the garden for local favorite restaurant, The Girl and The Fig

Apparently this was a day of repeats because our 3rd and final stop was at another place we had previously enjoyed...St. Francis.  I really appreciate the food and wine pairing that St. Francis offers.  We had a great server named Casey and we enjoyed some great tastings!  I should also mention that their wines are Certified Sustainable.

The grounds at St. Francis

St. Francis

The vino

We see a statue...we must pose!

Our fun-loving, wine-making, designated driver, Deano, picked us up at our lovely riverside home and off we went to the Dry Creek wine region!

The first stop of this gorgeous morning was at Jordan.  This place was beautiful if not a tad pretentious.  I don't mean that in a bad way. Let's just say I'm glad we were sober at this stop!  We had a very nice tour by a young lady who's boyfriend we would actually meet the following day at another winery!  Whitney talked to us about the founders of Jordan, Tom and Sally, and their love of French wines. Interestingly, Jordan only produces two wines: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and they were both delicious!  Our tasting included different vintages of these two wines.

Jordan Estate

The morning fog burning off

Shadows in the morning sun

Mimosa's before wine makes everything fine!

Our first taste at Jordan...chardonnay

Whitney (who's boyfriend you'll see soon)

Our 2nd stop of day two was a very informative visit at Ridge Vineyard.  Our lovely host took us out into the vineyards and then inside for a tour of the facility.  We ended up in the tasting room which was on the second floor and overlooked the beautiful vineyards.  We tasted Zins and Cabs and they were wonderful (we bought 4 bottles!). The showstopper was the Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 1971 varietal took 5th place in the 1976 "Judgement of Paris" wine tasting.  And wine maker, Paul Draper, continues to win award after award for his work.  Back downstairs we tried a couple of whites before heading to our next place.  The entire visit was perfect.

Vineyards at Ridge

This was a grape crusher or de-stemmer or something...I have A.D.D! 

Wine fermenters

Wine barrels!! 

Made in the good ol' US of A

The lovely tasting room

Mustard, poppies, and old vines

After a picnic lunch we made our 3rd stop at Papapietro Perry.  First, the name: Ben and Yolanda Papapietro partnered with Renae and Bruce Perry to make wonderful Zins and Pinot's under the name Papapietro Perry. They source their grapes from several different vineyards and focus on making the best wines.  They have a small little tasting room that was very quaint and welcoming.  Such a great recommendation from a friend!

That would be our parking spot!

Pouring a pinot

Our final (and best?!) stop of the day was the wonderful Mauritson Wines. The tasting room was unassuming and unpretentious, as was the guy pouring the wines. But don't let that fool you...they know what they're doing!!  These were delicious and complex wines...lots of Zins and Cabs (see a pattern in the Healdsburg region?).  We are now members of their wine club.

Soil samples from their different vineyards...I found this so interesting!

Rockpile Zin

Cemetery vineyard

Our boys got a special tasting from the awesome pourer

Our last full day of tasting began with our new DD, Jim, picking us up early and starting us off in the Russian River Valley!

Our first stop was a bit of hair-of-the-dog for some of us!  But after the first sip at Gary Farrell the rest was easy! This winery is known for their Pinot's and Chardonnay's and neither disappointed.  We had a lovely young woman pouring for us with a stunning view of the valley through the picture windows behind her. 

Beautiful view of the Russian River Valley all around Gary Farrell's tasting room

Wine tasting with a view

Our next stop was an impulse stop.  The very best thing about Moshin was the Scottish Tessa who poured our wine...what a hoot she was!  Now, that's not to say that the wine was bad; but I suppose someone has to be on the bottom of the list.  They had a very nice Pinot Rose they were just pouring for the first time that day.  And we also tasted some nice Pinot's.  It was a fun stop at a non-corporate, family-run winery that we won't soon forget!

Sculpture and logo of Moshin

Our 3rd stop was so awesome in so many ways!  Porter Creek Vineyards had fun animals, great wine, a tasting shack, and great people!  Their vineyards are farmed with certified organic practices. And I was quite excited by the number of whites I was able to taste! They had a couple of Chardonnay's and a Viognier in addition to their near-perfect Pinot's. And as I mentioned, the tasting was held in a small shack that was original to the property which just added to the experience.  Great job to the father and son team, George and Alex Davis.  We will be back!

Porter Creek Wine Kitty - who had no tail!

Porter Creek Rooster who misbehaved so much he had to stay OUTSIDE the coop where all the others were

Entry to the tasting shed

We loved the Porter Creek Pup

And we obviously loved the Porter Creek Wine!

Our next stop.  Wow.  I personally took no photos once we got inside because I was too blown away by the wines of J. Rochioli.  As much wine tasting/drinking that I do, I do not have a particularly discernible palette. But one sip of the Sauvignon Blanc and I knew it was the best I had ever had.  Then came the far the best Chardonnay I have ever had.  The Pinot couldn't possibly be the best after all the Pinot's we have tasted over the last two days.  But it was!  J. Rochioli does these 3 wines only and they do them perfectly!!!  Unfortunately I'm not the first to discover how great their wines are so there is a FIVE YEAR waiting list to become a wine club member. In the meantime, I purchased one bottle of each.

Thoroughly enjoying the wine at J. Rochioli!

Our final stop of the day, and of our trip, was a joy and pleasure.  Kim Ilsley is a friend of a friend whom I had been wanting to meet for some time.  She saved a lovely outdoor table for us at MacRostie Winery and it was a perfect ending to a perfect day.  We were greeted at the walkway by two smiling ladies offering us our first taste of their wonderfully unique! We were led up to the beautiful Estate House which just opened in 2015 and has outdoor seating overlooking the vineyards.  Kim led us through a wonderful tasting of their wines along with James, who we learned was from my home state of Indiana and dates Whitney from Jordan!  MacRostie does both  Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and they do them very well!  Needless to say, we did not leave here empty handed!

View of MacRostie's vineyard as we drove in
We finally meet Kim in person!

Chardonnay anyone?!

Fellow Hoosier, James!

View from our table

A little something to bring home!

As you can see, we had a wonderful trip.  It was our first time focusing on the Healdsburg area but it certainly will not be our last!  A big thank you to both Deano and Kim for adding to our experience!

Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there. Judith Viorst
Read more at:
Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there. Judith Viorst
Read more at:
"Close friends contribute to our personal growth.  They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there."  ~ Judith Viorst

"Great wine requires a madman to grow the vine, a wise man to watch over it, a lucid poet to make it, and a lover to drink it."  ~Salvador Dali

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