Recommendations Needed for Amazing Wineries Producing Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley & Unique Napa Valley Wineries
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!
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!
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.
re: Robert Lauriston
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.
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.
Dutton Goldfield - Only a tasting room. Across from Merry Edwards.
Paul Hobbs - Appt Only
Walter Hansel - Appt Only
Mac Phail - Appt Only
Littorai - Appt Only
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: