Sonoma Zinfandel Tasting
I am planning our vineyard appointments now...
This is what I have for our Pinot vineyard visits....not in any particular order...
I am looking for Zin vineyard bests. Any help is appreciated.
btw...we are staying in Healdsburg, if it matters and we are going to spend one day in Napa.
Rosenblum (right in Healdsburg)
Hartford (also good for Pinot and Chardonnay) although maybe not quite up to the others, imo.
BTW, nice to see Davis on your list. It really flies under the RADAR but it is a quality production, imo. Also, their olive oil is amazing.
It depends upon style, but I'd prefer going to Ridge, Rafanelli, Carol Shelton*, Carlisle, Unti, Tedelschi -- among others. Keep in mind, too, that Siduri has Zinfandels under their Novy label, as does Davis Family.
Carol Shelton isn't open to the public, but her Zins are superb, and it's worth keeping an eye out for.
Whiner has great suggestions below; I would also add Seghesio for zins.
Also, know that Rochioli rarely has any pinot available to try in their tasting room.
Some good suggestions here, I would definitely second Seghesio (super-close to downtown Healdsburg in any event) and Ridge, and would add (from our visit there this past summer) Bella, Preston (both in Dry Creek and very close to each other) and Porter Creek down Westside Road. Preston also does a lot of other rhone and other "oddball" varietals very nicely. Just opened a Barbera last week which was very nice. Porter Creek also has nice pinot and syrah.
If you're down in the town of Sonoma and are a zin fan, I think Ravenswood is worth a visit (even though their quality has been inconsistent of late). They always have multiple different county designations available for tasting and it's nice to be able to compare different regions in one tasting room.
One side note - I believe Unti is appointment only, though I've been told this basically just means calling ahead to make sure someone is there.
It's a neat thing to be able to "focus" your tastings that way (that was one of the things I most enjoyed about doing Oregon wine country - because it's basically all Pinot, you really get a sense of the variations from one to the next) but I think you might waste a lot of time and travel attempting to do so in Sonoma. Turns out many of the top producers do both. You'd be better off just focusing on regions and finding wineries that are relatively on the way to each other (i.e. Dry Creek Valley one day, Westside Road another, etc.)
ha....you don't know me well! LOL, I can have fun once my ducks are in a row, which they are pretty much now, I have all the vineyards, hours, contact and addresses printed up that we want to get to, plus i have them all on a google map....and yes my sock drawer is color coded, and spice cupboard is alphabetical VBG, But trust me, I will have fun now that all the planning is done :)
For me the planning is half the fun. OK, maybe not half - but fun. Google mapping is helpful for route / visit planning so you get a better sense of which places really are close or even en route to each other.
As for Ridge and Seghesio -
Seghesio is really easy to do if you're staying in Healdsburg, it's literally no more than 3 minutes out of town. Yes it's pretty widely available now but the new releases may be at the winery before they're at your local shop, and they also have some varietals other than zin that are not as widely distributed - I usually love their Barbera, and their Sonoma Coast Pinot is improving (and, I believe, only available through the winery).
I've only been to Ridge's tasting room once but thought it was a great experience.When I was there I think the building (an interesting structure) was still under construction and the tasting was done right in the barrel storage room. They were pouring about 5 wines including some "library" selections from older vintages and really made a point to have it be a learning experience rather than just a sales opportunity.
On Dry Creek Road there are 2 producers that share the same building (It is actually a tin barn) Wilson Winery and Deux Amis Winery. Wilson won the best overall red at the Sonoma County Fair in 2005 with their Tori Vineyard Zin and they have a great line up of wines. If you get to Deux Amis (a 2 person operation) tell Jim that Jeff & Sue from CT. sent ya!!
"Wilson won the best overall red at the Sonoma County Fair in 2005"
This may be a wonderful wine but winning a medal at the Sonoma County Fair means
diddly-squat. Medals in general mean diddly-squat. Contests are revenue-generators for the sponsors and marketing badges for the wineries. The best wines are never entered into contests; they have enough acclaim already.