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Nov 21, 2010 08:34 AM

Russian River Valley Wineries

What is the best vineyard in the Russian River Valley for a 60-90 minute tour and tasting and overall what 3-4 wineries would you suggest visiting? We love Pinor Noirs, Chardonnays, and Cabernets, although we recognize this area is best known for its Pinots. Thanks!

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    1. re: celeryroot

      Thanks for the map! Do you have any favorites?

      1. re: jranen

        I live here and I am toured out....I go to taste and buy......I do like Benovia, Joseph Swan, Merry Edwards . Arristra

        Also, you might look at
        The area is next door to RRV I love Ridge
        If you click on winery name on maps it takes you to home pages
        I would just pick a road drive and stop, taste if interesting looking tour
        There are just so many choices. The roads are really lovely and to run arnd from one area to another to find a specific winery I think will diminish your enjoyment of the area. If I had to pick two favorites for the wine Id probably go with Merry Edwards and Ridge
        In any case, I hope you enjoy your stay

    2. I usually find the best 60-90 minute tours and tastings are at wineries that require appointments rather than open set hours like 10-5.

      Here are some of the wineries that have good tastings but require appts:

      2 A. Rafanelli
      3. MacPhail

      1. I second the recommendation for Joseph Swan. I also suggest you check out Rochioli and Iron Horse.

        1. I second Ridge, Rochioli and A. Rafanelli. You might also want to try Raymond Burr as well. They do a wonderful Chardonnay, Cab and Cab Franc.

          1. This is my favorite corner of the Californian wine world, bar none, and I have very particular thoughts and favorites that don't seem to accord with those of others (i.e., am not a big Lynmar or Merry Edwards fan, two wineries that people love to love). If you're doing this in one day, my advice might be to pick a few that aren't too far from one another -- i.e., making it either a "Westside" day or a "West Dry Creek" day -- but I also realize that others are much more willing to drive madly for 30 minutes in between wineries than I am.

            The other question -- a question that's anathema to a lot of hounds -- is whether you want some atmosphere with your wine, or whether you're simply seeking top-notch juice. I mention this because an earlier poster mentioned a fave pinot-maker of mine, Siduri -- but if this is your first time in the area, you may wish not to be in a featureless warehouse in Santa Rosa. (That being said, I really like Siduri's (and their other label, Novy's) wines.)

            My advice for a great tripartite "Westside" day (focusing on great wine but not at the expense of the landscape): start at Woodenhead wines around noon (bring a light lunch -- there's a great view); head to Moshin at around 2 (fantastic pinots and chardonnays in a down-to-earth tasting room); finish the day next door at my favorite view in the valley (and a maker of some damn good pinots to boot), Gary Farrell.

            My advice for a great West Dry Creek day might be to go all the way to the end, and visit Zichichi (low-production maker of exquisite old-vine zins), Preston and Bella -- all worth their while, with Bella being a great place for a picnic at day's end (or day's middle).

            980 Airway Ct, C Santa Rosa, CA