Honoring Some Varietals in the Heart of Sonoma Valley

Sonoma Valley, as seen from St. Francis Winery

Sonoma Valley, as seen from St. Francis Winery

One of the less-crowded areas to go wine tasting in Sonoma County is the Heart of Sonoma Valley, a stretch of valleys and hills between Kenwood and Glen Ellen.  In this area you can certainly expect to find impressive Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons.  However, we also recently found some excellent examples of other varietals including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Lagrein, Petite Verdot, and Petite Sirah.  We also discovered a white wine blend, a Rosé, and a berry Port to recommend.  Keep reading, and we’ll tell you our favorite destinations for wine tasting in the Sonoma Valley right now.

Holiday Decorations at Eric Ross Winery

Holiday Decorations at Eric Ross Winery

At the beginning of the 2012 holiday season, we had the pleasure of participating in the Heart of Sonoma Valley Holiday Open House.  For two days, we revisited some of our favorite wineries and discovered some new ones.  It was a lovely way to kick off the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s and we can now cross “See Basket Press Decorated In Christmas Lights” off of our bucket list.  The holiday decorations are probably gone now, but these are the Heart of Sonoma Valley wine tasting destinations (and wines) we suggest you seek out:

Audelssa Estate Winery  (evolving into a new winery name of Repris, 13750 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, 707-933-8514) – 2009 Sonoma County Chardonnay

Benziger Family Winery  (1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, 888-490-2739) – 2011 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc and 2007 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

En Garde Winery  (9077 Highway 12, Kenwood, 707-282-9216) – 2011 Dry Rosé and a non-vintage Madgalena port wine (Berry Port made in the Portuguese Ruby Port tradition with a proprietary blend of Raspberries, Blackberries, Pomegranate and Tart Cherries)

Eric Ross Winery  (14300 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, 707-939-8525) – 2011 Saralee’s Vineyard Pinot Noir

Imagery Estate Winery  (14335 Highway 12, Glen Ellen, 877-550-4278) – 2011 White Burgundy (blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier), 2010 Sangiovese, 2008 Lagrein, and 2008 Petite Verdot

Kenwood Vineyards  (9592 Highway 12, Kenwood, 707-282-4228) – 2011 Yulupa Chardonnay, 2009 London Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2008 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Little Vineyards Family Winery  (15188 Highway 12, Glen Ellen, 707-996-2750) – 2009 Petite Sirah

Paradise Ridge Winery  (8860 Highway 12, Kenwood, 707-282-9020) – 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Monte Rosso Vineyard), and 2007 Elevation Cabernet Sauvignon (Rockpile Vineyard)

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards  (100 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa, 707-833-0242) – 2011 Sonoma County Chardonnay and 2009 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Holiday Open House at Benziger Family Winery

Holiday Open House at Benziger Family Winery

Sonoma Valley’s Annual Holiday Open House is presented by the Heart of Sonoma Valley Winery Association, whose mission is to put a welcoming face on the place they call home in the hopes that visitors and wine lovers will feel as passionate about this place as the wineries here do.  If you’ll be in the area after Thanksgiving next year, please remember this opportunity to taste some wine, stock up your wine cellar, and/or pick up some holiday gifts for friends and family.

To see our favorite food destinations in Sonoma Valley, and some winery recommendations for the southern part of Sonoma Valley, please go here.

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