Posts Tagged ‘Windsor’

Wine Review – Branham 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay (no oak or ML)

Is your mantra about white wine  ‘ABC’. (Anything but chardonnay.) Do you enjoy sauvignon blanc, or other white wines with crisp acidity, and bright fruit? If so hunt out the slowly growing category of chardonnays that are made without oak aging or malolactic (ML) fermentation.

There is nothing wrong with a chardonnay that is well made, and seen some oak and ML, but many have been turned off by the overly oaky, buttery chardonnays that have been being cranked out for years – we love to take a good thing to excess in the U.S. Its also a personal palette preference.

I discovered sauvignon blanc years ago, before the New Zealand craze caught on, and as a result of palette fatigue (kinda like wine ADHD) was hunting something else, and was pleased to discover this slowly emerging category of chardonnay in the US. (This is nothing new to Aussies.) I was inspired enough this was one of the two varietals I crushed this year, to also experiment with this style.

The Sonoma County Fair for the first time, amidst some controversy, had a category this year for unoaked Chardonnay, which I hope they repeat.  Like any wine, not all of these unoaked, no ML chardonnays are stellar, and a few poorly made entries seem to have portrayed the category negatively.

I generally try and/or buy any in Sonoma County I find, and have tasted quite a few. Sometime early next year, I am planning to taste through a number in comparison, so if you have suggestions, send them on.downtown wine

One that I discovered this year, and enjoy regularly is from Gary Branham, a local boutique wine maker. Gary shares a tasting room with Kenny and Lynn of Hobo Wines, (I am a big fan of Kenny’s wines.)  Both of their wines are poured and available for purchase in downtown Healdsburg, at Downtown Wine. More often than not, you will be attended to by Aaron – a very knowledgeable wine aficionado. Talk less than I do, and you may learn a few things. Downtown Wine is also part of the Wine Road, and will be taking part in the Winter Wineland next month.

Color: Pale yellow, light straw, good clarity

Aroma:  A wonderful nose – full of  green apple, citrus

In the Mouth: Left on the lees (wine sediment) for 4 months gives this chardonnay nice mouth feel.


A bounty of fruit in the mouth; pineapple, green apple, grapefruit. Needless to say, a mouth watering finish, that lingers nicely.

Only 325 cases made, get some before its gone, but save a case for me!

Around $22, You can find this wine at the Downtown Tasting room, or Vine Tastings in Windsor, by the glass or bottle. (Unfortunately like most restaurants its served over chilled, masking its nuances. Cup your hands around the glass for a minute.)

Wine Geek Info

  • Harvest: September 30, 2007
  • Average Chemistry at Harvest: 25 Brix 3.20 pH .68 TA
  • Whole Cluster Pressed
  • Fermented in Stainless Steel for 25 days @ 55 degrees F
  • No Malolactic fermentation ~ Left sur lie for 4 months
  • Bottling: January 2007
  • Chemistry at bottling: 14% alcohol 3.20 pH .68 TA
  • Varietal percentage; 100% Chardonnay
  • Vineyards: Foppoli Family Vineyard
  • Production: 325 Cases

Wine Country Events Dec 18th-20th

The torrent of Wine Country events has started to slow, but there is still lots of great things going on. Here are highlights of a few:

Friday Dec 18th

Sonoma FaceBook Wine Meet-Up

530-730, Vine Tastings, WindsorMCU035

Kicking off the weekend of Holiday parties – is one of my own creation – the 2nd of the now monthly FaceBook Wine Meetup. (kinda like a Tweetup.)

Join consumers, wine producers, and fun residents (or visitors) of Wine Country, for a social meeting. Many of us are FaceBook friends who communicate regularly, but have never met: lets put the ‘Social’ in Social Media. I expect to have some small (but popular) winery owners attend, including  AcornEric Ross and Mounts. Girl with a Glass Blogger, Alana Gentry will be there, Susan Mall of Zin restaurant, Ty Jones (shepard of Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square and the Hand Car Regatta) and other people in wine industry, plus fun consumers.

Vine Tastings is a great new venue in Windsor, that recently added a new chef with great food and wine pairings. Their wine tasting bar features only small wineries, most of whom have no tasting room (Microbrew is also available.) Cathy, co-owner and our hostess, will offer a special price for us on their house red and white, and a few nibbles, in addition to their regular food and wine flights.

There will be a drawing for door prizes, and a fun all around night. Stop by on your way to another Christmas party!

Friday nights – Live music at A Divine Affair – Healdsburg

Were to go to continue the fun after the Wine Meetup? Head to a Divine Affair.

Friday evenings~ live music – Spanish flamenco guitar and vocals: 7:30pm

They also  just started serving Lunch again this week: Thurs-Sun 11:30-2:30, Dinner 5:00-9:30pm Thursday-Sun (winter hours).

Saturday Dec 19th

Kunde Family Estate-  Hike & Taste in the Vineyards with Sonoma Valley Docent Bill Myers

Join Sonoma Valley Docent Bill Myers on a fun, casual and up-close hike through the 1,850 acre volcanic and vertical Kunde sidephoto_susthikeFamily Estate. This is a great opportunity to see sustainable winegrowing practices at work while taking in some of wine country’s most spectacular scenery. Bill’s tours wind through the estate’s distinct eco-systems, each one uniquely contributing to the process of sustainable winegrowing. Taste wines along the way in the very vineyards where the grapes are grown. This moderately strenuous hike lasts approximately four hours.

Bill has been fascinated with the Mayacamas Mountains that frame the Kunde Family Estate for many years. He has a passion for hiking and has logged many miles on trails throughout the Bay Area and beyond, leading hikes for the past seven years sponsored by local state and regional parks. For information, please visit PARK HIKES.

Reservations are needed. Please pack a sack lunch and wear hiking boots or appropriate footwear. Also bring sunscreen and water, especially on hot days. Tours begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Kunde Family Estate Tasting Room.  The hike will also conclude at the Tasting Room, where invigorated hikers can sample Kunde Family Estate’s hand crafted estate-grown wines.

Please select your Taste in the Vineyard hike date(s). There is a $25/person fee for this tour.
Please note that space is limited to 50 people per hike date.

4th Annual Santa Rosa Santa Crawlcrawl

Welcome to the 4th Annual Santa Rosa Santa Crawl. A Crawl is an event that consist of people getting together as a group at one location, enjoying company, drinks and whatever the location provides, than the group moves(crawls) to the next location! The locations will be the funnest drinking establishments in Downtown Santa Rosa. Yes it is going to be “Santa theme” so dress in your best Christmas attire. That includes anything Christmas: Santa, Mrs Claus, Elves, Reindeer, Snowmen and any themed variation of Santa!! Yippie… Sounds Fun!!

Where and when will this event take place?

We will start at Belvedere, 727 Mendocino Ave 6pm, Saturday the 19th of December. After getting to know our fellow Santas we will crawl south on Mendocino Avenue stopping at all the bars on our list. Check out our Future Events to the right and join us in 2009 on December 19th for another great event.

Sunday Dec 20th

Mutt Lynch  – Open

This is a treat, as Mutt Lynch isn’t normally open, save for events.

To help welcome in the holiday season, Mutt Lynch will be opening their winery doors each Sunday of this month – December 6th, 13th and 20th – from Noon to 4pm. Come canines, come humans, come all!  If you’re anywhere in the neighborhood, please made certain to swing by and enjoy a taste (or two… or three… or four!) of our wine.  We’ll have some holiday nibbles for both human and canine to make it worth your while.


Have an event you wish to add, invite me to, or wine reviewed – see the new contact page on how to contact me – and you can always find me on Twitter and Facebook as well.

Happy Holidays, and Cheers!

Wine Country Events – Dec 10-13

Sorry no mid week article yet on last weeks events. I couldn’t cajole my co-editor Deb to write one, and for those of you who follow my adventures on Facebook, you know its been a wild week for my on business travel through the blizzards and winds of the MidWest, so writing was a bit of a challenge! truck

The number of weekend events is slowly starting to slow down. (I actually have nothing for Saturday Dec 19th yet!) I got quite a few requests last week for how to add events, and created a new Contact Info Tab.

This weekend though we still have a fair amount going on, and there are still quite a few winery Open Houses and misc. events throughout Napa, Sonoma Valleys. (I’d love to get more info out of Mendocino County.)

Thursday Dec 10th

Windsor Wine Walk

A little plug for my own town.

On Thursday December 10th join Old Downtown Windsor merchants on a Winter Wine Walk to benefit the Windsor Kiwanis & the Windsor Service Alliance’s Holiday Toy & Food Programs! 100% of ticket sales will go directly to the 2 charities! In addition to helping a great cause you will receive a commemorative wine glass to… enjoy wine pourings from 12 different wineries along with food pairings! At the end of the night turn your ticket in for a chance to win a gift basket full of goodies from Old Downtown Businesses! A limited number of tickets will be sold and available by pre-sale only! TICKETS: $25
E-mail Dennis at Rickshaw Rudy’s for ticket purchasing information:

Tickets are also available to purchase at: Atrellis Flower Shop – 707-837-8080, Images – 707-837-0160

Saturday Dec 12

Crab Feed at Fritz Winery, Cloverdale 12noon-4pm

fritzI LOVE dungeness crab, so couldn’t resist this.

One of the most perfect food/wine pairings is fresh Dungeness Crab from Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco Sourdough Bread and Fritz Russian River Chardonnay…okay, okay…a little drawn butter never hurt anyone! Come by Fritz and celebrate this annual bounty. Please RSVP to Julie at 707-894-3389 or

FREE for wine club members, $20 guest tasting fee includes wine, crab and all the fixin’s.

Holiday Party at the Moon! (Harvest Moon) 2-5pm

This will be my first visit to Harvest Moon – excited to check it out, as a wine friend raves about it.tastingroom002

Cost: $15 for non-members and free for wine club members.
Contact: Erin Stewart
Phone: (707) 573-8711

Details: Join us on Saturday, December 12th,for a afternoon of warm home-made food and great wines. We will also have a dessert bar of treats paired with our sweeties direct from the tank; the ’09 Late Harvest Zinfandel and Dessert “Ice-Style” Gewurztraminer! Come join us for a festive time in the wine country, while listening to live local musicians. Taste fresh ’09 vintages straight from the tank to see how this wonderful year turned out.

Sunday Dec 13th

Say Cheese: Pairing wine and cheese with Topel Winery 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Back by popular demand, Doralice Handal, owner of The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, will repeat her “Say Cheese” class from last year, offering tips on how to successfully pair various types of cheese with different wines from Topel Winery. (I love their Birdsong white blend.)

Topel Winery Tasting Room, 125 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448 ph. 707-433-4116

Rutherford – Wines That Give Back

Man I wish I wasn’t flying to Portland Sunday night, hate to miss this.

The next stop in the Appellation Series from Small Lots, Big Wines is not an appellation at all. This tour celebrates wines that give back.  Each of the wineries who will be pouring at this event either give a portion or all of their profits back to charity.  In addition to supporting charities for kids, the homeless, and to promote literacy, some wineries will be pouring to support the Rutherford Grange. This is a great venue for you to go Christmas shopping.  What better gift is there to give then one that gives twice?

In addition to great wineries such as Clark-Claudon, Humanitas, Cleavage Creek, and Ehlers, we’ll also feature local Sonoma cheeses, art on sale, and  12 year old Isaac Tyner playing guitar to raise money for Camp Okizu, a camp for kids with cancer and their families. There will be raffles to raise additional funds for the Grange as well.

The cost is $15 per person.  $5 of every ticket sale goes back to the Grange.   To learn more about the Grange please go to Please RSVP or prepay ASAP so that we can ensure we have enough cheese and wine.

For more info or any questions call 707-254-5152 or email


That’s the wrap-up. If I get any missed events sent to me will add them back in. Enjoy your Festive weekend, and don’t forget as you shop for gifts to buy Local!


p.s. Next Friday I am hosting my next Facebook Wine Meetup, as we put the “social’ in Social Media. We expect at least 20-30 people ranging from avid consumers, to several small winery owners. Hope to see and meet many of you!

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