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Recommendations Needed for Amazing Wineries Producing Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley & Unique Napa Valley Wineries

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aed0804 Jul 31, 2012 08:14 PM

Hello All! Later this week, my husband and I are headed to the Russian River Valley in search of a few great bottles of pinot noir to bring back to our home in Minnesota. Although we are pretty seasoned on the Napa Valley side, we are quite "green" when it comes to the Russian River Valley. During a previous short visit, we had the good fortune to visit Littorai and have also had past luck purchasing some single vineyard wines from the RRV in restaurants and at wine stores and, as such, are thrilled for our trip. I've done some research that points me to Merry Edwards, Woodenhead, Copain, Freestone and Lynmar Estate. Although desireable, we were not able to get an appointment at Williams Selyem. I'd love any thoughts on those wineries or any suggestions that "those in the know" have to offer.

Similarly, when surrounded by such good food, we don't want to go wrong there either. Any "must do" options for lunch on the Sonoma side?

Lastly, although we've been to a number of places in Napa Valley (our favorites being, among others, Pride, Elyse, Terra Valentine, Reverie, Honig, Ehlers Estate, Robert Sinskey, and Domain Carneros), we'd love any suggestions!

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    ernie in berkeley Nov 20, 2012 03:42 PM

    Stop by Skewis's tasting room in Healdsburg. They produce a number of single-vinyard RRV pinots.

    http://www.skewis.com/index.asp

    1. r
      redyoga Oct 1, 2012 11:37 AM

      I used the information here on Chow to design a Russian River Pinot Noir tour for a Pinot-fanatic friend who was visiting. We started with lunch at Boon Eat + Drink, followed by a short hike in Armstrong Redwoods (such a beautiful place). Our first Pinot stop was Arista, which was incredible! Sadly, that was the best Pinot we had that day, nothing else quite compared. Arista suggested we visit VML just down the road, which was good but I only liked their Chard enough to buy. On to Porter Creek, which I always love. Great small vibe, and their Viognier and Zins are so good. On to Copain, which has some of the nicest views in the area. We finished up at Martinelli, which is a super-friendly tasting room. As I mentioned, the Pinot Noir highlight was Arista, and at each stop after that we would take a sip and declare, "Not Arista." We had dinner at Zazu, which I always love. Thanks to all who posted Russian River Pinot Noir tips!

      1 Reply
      1. re: redyoga
        a
        Allieroseww Nov 20, 2012 05:42 AM

        Jumping in late to say that I love RRPNs too. Rochioli is my favorite, but we just returned from Auburge du Soleil where I ordered Romililly. I had never had it or heard of it, but it was wonderful. Rochioli, however, is not worth a visit, in my opinion. When we went one year, there was no pinot for sale at all.

      2. p
        pinotho Aug 1, 2012 12:56 PM

        . http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/854655 .
        About halfway down, the discussion turns to RRV pinot noir.

        1. Robert Lauriston Aug 1, 2012 11:03 AM

          If you like Littorai's balanced, Burgundian style, Merry Edwards, Williams Selyem, and others making super-ripe, high-alcohol wines might be a waste of time.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston
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            goldangl95 Aug 1, 2012 12:52 PM

            Also I should have added - Rochioli though a great winery. Only has one Pinot for sale (the rest are through their list). So for a visitor, it may not be worth a visit.

            Sorry just to clarify - are you saying Littorai, Merry Edwards and Williams Seleym are all Burgundian in style? If not, which ones are and which ones aren't?

            I personally tend to like a range from Papapietro Perry's very vibrant fruit all the way down to say Domain Drouhin in Oregon. For whatever reason, for me personally, Porter Creek just doesn't capture my attention, and Merry Edwards has a lot of earthy notes I don't particularly like. But I realize this is a personal taste thing.

            I don't think any of the wineries on the Sonoma side I listed are particularly over the top extracted, but I don't wine taste enough (ha! though I do try my best ) to have familiarity with all these producers in a consistent way.

            1. re: goldangl95
              Robert Lauriston Aug 1, 2012 01:14 PM

              To me, Littorai tends more toward the Burgundian style and away from the fruit-oak-alcohol bomb style epitomized by Williams Selyem which I usually find pretty unpalatable (though I had a relatively restrained and balanced WS Ferrington recently that was delicious).

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            arugulove Jul 31, 2012 11:24 PM

            For Russian River pinots, go to Freeman. You'll need an appointment but you don't want to miss it. The wine cave there is amazing. It's close to Lynmar, which is also an excellent choice.

            4 Replies
            1. re: arugulove
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              goldangl95 Aug 1, 2012 12:00 AM

              Note: Summer is a super busy time (as you may know already) and you'll have much better luck getting appts/avoiding crowds by going on weekdays instead of the weekend.

              Agreed on Freeman and Lynmar (should make appointments at both of them as Lynmar gets super busy).

              Copain makes great wines - unsure if they make pinots though

              Merry Edwards - for a more Burgundian/earthy style pinot. Just a tasting room - effectively no grounds. Their pinots are a little too "old-world" for me but others like them a lot.

              Rochioli
              Dutton Goldfield - Only a tasting room. Across from Merry Edwards.
              Joseph Swan
              Paul Hobbs - Appt Only
              Walter Hansel - Appt Only
              Inman
              Hartford
              Mac Phail - Appt Only
              Littorai - Appt Only
              Gary Farrell
              Porter Creek - is recommended on this board a fair amount. Tasting shed - funky chickens. I find the wines a little too austere but others really appreciate them.

              On the Napa side, I'd consider going up Howell Mountain if you haven't been up there already. All appt only:
              O'Shaugnessy
              Dunn
              Outpost
              Cade
              Ladera

              1. re: goldangl95
                CarrieWas218 Aug 1, 2012 08:59 AM

                Copain certainly does make pinot and it is exceptional! Try to get there if you can... Also, Goldangl's Howell Mountain recommendations are top-notch!

                1. re: CarrieWas218
                  b
                  BAnders Aug 1, 2012 03:01 PM

                  +1 on Copain, especially if you liked Robert Sinskey on prior visits to CA

                2. re: goldangl95
                  jason carey Aug 1, 2012 02:30 PM

                  Well, It depends on the style you like. If you like Littorai... then Try Wind Gap, Copain.
                  Dutton Goldfield,

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