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Sonoma County wineries pouring great Chardonnays & Rieslings?

Ruby Louise Jul 19, 2006 05:24 PM

Considering that I sell wine in Napa, I find this post amusing and a wee bit embarrassing. Clients who are regular Napa Valley visitors but have never visited Sonoma wine country have asked me for recommendations for Sonoma County wineries producing great white wines, especially Chardonnays and Rieslings. They'll have one day in Sonoma County, and small, funky wineries are a plus. Where should I send them?

Ruby Louise
(formerly known as Jennie Sheeks)

  1. Robert Lauriston Jul 19, 2006 06:48 PM

    For chardonnay, I recommend the Carneros area: Schug, Bouchaine, Acacia ...

    There's little great riesling in California, and Sonoma's not really the place to grow it. That's a topic for the Wine board.

    1. Melanie Wong Jul 19, 2006 06:53 PM

      The only Riesling I can think of off the top of my head that I've tried recently is Chateau St. Jean which has a long history of working with the variety as well as some well-established Chardonnay vineyards. I think Gundlach-bundschuh has worked with Riesling too. For more Chardonnay, I'd point toward Russian River wineries such as Rochioli, Davis Bynum, Gary Farrell, Joseph Swan, but advise them to call ahead to make sure they're pouring white.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong
        Carrie 218 Jul 20, 2006 03:55 PM

        GunBun had to rip out their Riesling AND Kleinberger vines several years ago. They still produce a Gewurtz and have won many awards for it, but many of us lament the decline in their German wine program.

        Oddly, Mendocino is where TONS of Rieslings are being produced. I recently purchased several from Handley, Artevino, and Navarro.

        1. re: Carrie 218
          Robert Lauriston Jul 20, 2006 04:18 PM

          Like I said, that's a topic for the Wine board.


      2. Robert Lauriston Jul 19, 2006 06:57 PM

        Chateau St. Jean's winery is a really nice place for a picnic if you're in the area, but the place is the opposite of funky--one of the more tourist-oriented wineries. Though not as much so as V. Sattui, Viansa, or Kline.

        1. h
          hannah Jul 20, 2006 08:01 PM

          J Winery pours some whiteS and I believe they have Chardonnay and I really like their Pinot Gris

          1. m
            mezzolooney Jul 22, 2006 04:34 AM

            Although not reisling, Martinelli makes a great Gewurztraminer, a dryer style, definitely worth checking out. Last summer we had a private tasting with Julianna Martinelli and we had the chance to taste through all of their stuff, and the Gewurz was our favorite white that they made. Check it ou.

            1. Scrapironchef Jul 22, 2006 05:13 AM

              I've had some lovely chards at Kunde.

              1. Midlife Jul 23, 2006 12:06 AM

                Robert Young grows and produces one of the outstanding Chards in the Sonoma area, in my opinion. And, their consulting winemaker is Richard Arrowood, so the expertise goes beyond their respected history as a grower. http://www.ryew.com/contact/contact.asp

                The property is a little off the beaten path, but worth the visit.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Midlife
                  Melanie Wong Jul 24, 2006 06:43 AM

                  Dick Arrowood is a great winemaker. He had a tremendous track record with whites, especially the Robert Young chardonnay, Belle Terre chardonnay, Le Petit Etoile Sauvignon Blanc and late harvest Rieslings, when he was the winemaker at Chateau St. Jean. I remember his 1978 Robert Young chardonnay very well. He carried on this legacy when he started his own winery.

                2. t
                  Tobias Jul 23, 2006 04:50 AM

                  Go a bit further afield and try the fantastic whites (Gewurtz, Resiling, etc.) at Navarro in the Anderson Valley. Wonderful, wonderful winery.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Tobias
                    Robert Lauriston Jul 23, 2006 08:27 PM

                    Definitely worth a visit but that's about a two-hour drive from the town of Sonoma, and it's Mendocino County.


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