Dry Creek Valley Wineries
I'm going on a tasting mission to Northern Sonoma County in a couple weeks. Looking for some recs. I am a fairly serious wine drinker, and am involved in the tourism/wine industry in Napa. I consider my self an expert on Napa wineries, but not a wine expert :) Part of my job is knowing all there is to know about Napa, so I have visited 100+ wineries here. We are starting to branch out into other wine regions of California, but, frankly, it's exhausting (but fun) work to explore the many wineries in this part of the world. My favorite wines are Zinfandel and Pinot Noir, but I appreciate any truly well-made wine. I have a friend joining me on this excursion who is also a big Zin fan, hence the trip to Dry Creek.
Of course, I am familiar with the bigger names of the area, such as Ferrari-Carano, Seghesio, etc. I am looking for smaller producers with outstanding wine. It helps a lot if a bottle purchase won't break the bank, either. I'm willing to pay for quality, but enjoy finding the best bang for the buck ratios!
I have, thanks to friends, enjoyed wines from both Amphora and Quivira. Would love feedback from anybody on these two in particular, and other favorites in general.
8761 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA
Don't miss Nalle, if only to see the green winery building. They created an above-ground cave by piling dirt over a concrete tube structure, and the result is that their HVAC expense is zero (except for an exhaust fan to get the CO2 out during fermentation). Excellent zins and a nice pinot.
Also, Ridge has a tasting room nearby on Lytton Springs Road. And if you can, get an appointment at Rafanelli.
Two of my favorite places in the Dry Creek Valley are Yoakim Bridge and Preston; both are excellent small producers. Yoakim Bridge produces mainly zin and Preston does Rhone varietals. Bella also produces excellent zin, but is a bit pricier.