Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Mansion at Ledson Winery and Vineyards – Sonoma Valley

Having already visited three wineries (on Saturday, October 22nd) even though I was spitting all the wine into a cup I was starting to feel a little palate fatigued. So I took a break for lunch and stopped into a Mexican restaurant a little further north in Santa Rosa called “Su Casa” (Your House). I had a great chicken super burrito with a glass of Sprite which really hit the spot. I then headed back down the Valley of the Moon Trail (Highway 12) for my final tasting of the day at Ledson Winery and Vineyard.

The Ledson Winery and Vineyard’s 16,000 square foot French Normandy estate is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley. Although they refer to it as “The Castle” to me it looks more like a European mansion. Originally designed as the Ledson family home in 1989, once it was built it became clear that it was better suited to be the architectural showpiece for the family winery. Designed entirely by Steve Ledson (whose business creates and builds similar homes for sale ) the mansion features sweeping staircases, marble fireplaces, cathedral-style windows, coffered ceilings, several tasting bars, luxuriously appointed bridal suites and over five miles of ornate wood inlays and mosaics, which were hand cut and installed by Steve’s son, Mike Ledson.

In 1997 the family released their first wine, the 1994 Ledson Estate Merlot and in 1999 after two years of reconstruction, the winery opened its doors to the public. Since then, Ledson wines have received rave reviews from the wine press including 93 points from Wine Spectator Magazine for their 1997 Reserve Carneros Chardonnay.

Ledson Winery offers a broad spectrum of varietal wines including: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Primitivo, Barbera, Malbec, Grenache, Meritage, Rosé, Johannisberg Riesling and Madera Port.

In addition to the 17-acre estate vineyard, Ledson Winery and Vineyards includes 21 acres on Denmark Road in Sonoma, planted to 100+ year Old Vine Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, Syrah and Barbera as well as 5,500 acres in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley where Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Syrah and Riesling will be planted. They also own 11 acres of 100-year-old Zinfandel planted in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. In the future, Steve hopes to replant to wine grapes thirty-five acres of the 105-acre Kenwood Ranch originally cultivated by his great grandfather, William Cunningham in 1919.

Although they have an extremely large portfolio of wines, Ledson Winery specializes in small varietal lots that reflect the genuine diversity of their select vineyards and appellations. All wines are sold exclusively at the winery in Kenwood, in their online store, and at the Ledson Hotel and Centre du Vin in Sonoma.

Ledson Winery and Vineyard features hand-crafted tasting bars, impeccable grounds with picnic areas shadowed by 100-year old majestic oak trees, and a fully stocked gourmet market that provides an ideal location for an afternoon picnic or a weekend getaway.

After touring the grounds, I ventured into the mansion and bellied up to one of the tasting bars and sampled the following for $15:

With an extremely large portfolio to choose from, it is hard to know where to start and I felt like I would need to come back a few more times to really get a  good grasp of the quality of their wines. But, I’m a big Rhone varietal fan and so I started with my favorite white - the 2010 Sonoma County Viognier. An unmistakable floral aroma that this wine is known for that is followed by tropical fruits and orange peel. On the palate it has a really nice chalky minerality that reminds me of a Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. A great wine, but a bit steep at $32 a bottle for there are many like it on the market in the $20 - $25 range.

My next wine and first red was the 2008 Russian River Reserve Pinot Noir. HUGE earthy nose with loads of plum, root beer and dried roses and a hint of spice. A really nice wine, but is it worth $60? I don’t think so! If you read all my reviews from this summer that I visited on the Russian River, in Santa Barbara, Carneros, and the Santa Cruz Mountains I’ve tasted a lot of wines of similar quality in the $35 - $45 range.

My third wine was the 2006 Kings Valley Bellisimo. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon  and Merlot from the Bellisimo ranch in Knights Valley. The name “Bellisimo” means “most beautiful” in Italian, and here the strength of Cabernet Sauvignon marries perfectly with the round flesh of Merlot. On the nose I picked up Black currants, damp earth, dark chocolate, blackberries, cherry, pepper and just a hint of vanilla. This wine is big on the nose, but more supple and medium bodied on the palate. A really nice wine, at $60 a bottle there are many like it in the $35 - $45 range on the market.

My fourth wine was the 2007 California Caudalies, a blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. The name in French, “Caudalies” refers to the length of a wine’s finish. This wine is inky dark. On the nose I picked up black cherries, blackberries, pepper and vanilla which was confirmed on the palate where it is delivered with supple but drying teeth gripping tannins and a medium length finish. This was probably the most value priced wine at $36 a bottle.

My fifth table wine was the 2006 Estate Merlot. The nose was a bit tight but as it opened up I picked up black cherries, milk chocolate, red plums and some herbs spice. On the palate this wine has soft finish mid-transition with a hint of minerality on the finish. I’m not the biggest Merlot fan, but this one was nice but at $40 a bottle… there many more on the market like it for under $30.

My final pour was the hedonistic Non-Vintage (NV) Madera Sweet Ida Zinfandel ‘Port Style’ wine. This wine has some serious heat on the nose, followed by hints of maple syrup, dried figs, brown sugar and toasted almonds. It has an extremely long finish and a little of this wine goes a long way as it bathes your entire palate like fine silk. Except for the heat, I really liked this wine but for half the price of $50 a bottle there are many wines like this available from wineries in Lodi, Madera, Amador County and the Sierra Foothills.

Overall, I liked the wines, the customer service was top notch and the winery and grounds are spectacular. If you are visiting this region, Ledson Winery and Vineyards is a “must visit.”

To see more pictures, check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography at:

For More information or to visit:

7335 Sonoma Highway 12  
Kenwood, CA 95409
Phone: 1- 707-537-3810

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chateau St. Jean Vineyards and Winery – Sonoma Valley

After visiting Kenwood Vineyards on Saturday October 22nd, I headed further north on the historic Valley of the Moon Trail (Highway 12) and stopped at one of the most beautiful wineries I have ever seen - Chateau St. Jean – located near Kenwood, California.

As you enter the driveway to the winery you travel through an ocean of vineyards along a very drive to the foot of Sugarloaf Ridge where you arrive at the elegant Chateau which is surrounded by beautiful gardens. A statue of St. Jean, the winery’s namesake, stands in the main courtyard garden by the decorative fountain.

In 1920, the Chateau was built as a summer home for Ernest and Maude Goff, and their children. The family, originally from Saginaw, Michigan, made its fortune in iron mines in their home town and then in the lumber business in the Pacific Northwest. The 250 acres of land which are now Chateau St. Jean vineyards were initially planted with grapes which was stifled during the Prohibition when the family transitioned to growing prunes and walnuts. 

When Chateau St. Jean Winery was established in 1973, the decision was made to preserve the Goff legacy and the Chateau was fully restored and opened to the public. It has since been listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since then Chateau St. Jean has long been recognized as a leader in Vineyard Designated wines. The St. Jean Estate Vineyard that surrounds the winery consists of 270 acres with 90 planted acres of premium varieties including Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. In select years, Chateau St. Jean produces a single vineyard Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Viognier while the Bordeaux varieties contribute to the winery’s flagship wine – Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren uses her 30 years of vineyard and winemaking expertise with Chateau St. Jean to highlight the best of each vineyard in the wines. Chateau St. Jean also offers vineyard-designated Chardonnays from the acclaimed Robert Young, Belle Terre and Durell Vineyards as well as a Pinot Noir from Durell Vineyard and Fumé Blanc from the La Petite étoile (“The Little Star”) Vineyard and Lyon Vineyard.

In 1999, Chateau St. Jean was the first Sonoma winery to be awarded the prestigious “Wine of the Year” award from the Wine Spectator Magazine for its 1996 Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon, that harmonizes all five Bordeaux varietals. The winery received high acclaim again when it received the “#2 Wine of the Year” for its 1999 Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chateau St. Jean has two tasting rooms. As you pass through the garden and pass by the fountain, if you turn to the right you enter the Visitor Center (main tasting Room) which offers five tastes for $10 as well as other souvenir items. If you turn to the left you enter the Vineyard Room (Chateau) where they serve Reserve and limited release wines, five tastes for $20.

I chose to sample the Reserve and limited release wines (they also allowed me to sample two others that were not on the menu for the day) which were as follows:

My first wine was the 2010 Pinot Gris. A very refreshing wine that has a beautiful nose of canned pears, pineapple, melon, peaches which is delivered again on the palate along with really nice minerality. They only produce 300 cases of this wine and yet it sells for only $22 a bottle. If this were the beginning of Summer rather than Autumn, I would have purchased several bottles.

My next taste was the 2007 Reserve Sonoma County Chardonnay, made by Margo Van Staaveren. It is a blend of grapes from several vineyards including Robert Young Vineyard, Belle Terre Vineyard, Durell Vineyard, and Cold Creek Ranch. This wine has a classic California Chardonnay profile - a big rich full bodied wine that is layered with baked apple, dried pineapple, ginger, and creamy butter that has an extremely long finish with a nutty return. This wine retails for $45 a bottle.

My third wine was the 2009 Viognier (not on the day’s tasting menu) form the estate vineyard of which they only produce 200 cases. A very floral nose with bananas, dried peaches, orange peel and a really long finish. This varietal is my favorite white wine so when I find one I really like I usually pick one up. This wine retails for $30 a bottle and I purchased one to open for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

My first red in the line-up was the 2009 Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir from Carneros. A HUGE nose that is a bowl full of fresh berries, violets, plum, root beer, cinnamon and spice. This wine sells for $50 a bottle and although I’m off of this Summer’s Pinot Noir hunt, I picked one up to lay down for a few years.

My second red wine was the 2007 Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon (not on the tasting menu). A really complex wine layers of herbs, black currants, cherries, red plum and cigar box cedar that is then delivered with full bodied mouth feel and an extremely long finish. This wine is drinking great now, but could probably use a few more years. A superb wine to add to anyone who can afford it at $60 a bottle.

My third red wine was the newly released 2008 Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine is still very young and it has quite a different profile than the previous vintage. This wine is darker, earthier and has more black fruits, dark chocolate and more spice with teeth gripping tannins. I’d give this wine at least another 5 years before opening it. This wine sells for $65 a bottle so if you can afford the ’07 I’d buy that one instead – a better vintage and $5 cheaper.

My final wine was the 2006 Reserve Sonoma County Merlot. I’m not the biggest merlot fan in the world, but I really liked this one. I picked up chocolate covered cherries, black berries, cassis, violets and a hint of java.  This wine is really soft on the attack and mid palate but bold on the back end. If I were in the market for buying a Merlot, at $25 a bottle I’d pick one up.

To see more pictures of the Chateau St. Jean, check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography at:

To visit or for more information:

Chateau St. Jean Winery and Vineyards

8555 Sonoma Highway,

Kenwood, CA 95452

Phone: 1-707-833-4134

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kenwood Vineyards – Sonoma Valley


After tasting at Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyard on Saturday October 22nd, I then drove through Glenn Ellen and on to the Valley of the Moon Trail and visited Kenwood Vineyards.

Kenwood Vineyards was founded in the in Sonoma Valley in 1970 when wine enthusiasts from the San Francisco Bay Area refurbished and modernized the former Pagani Brothers Winery, originally established in 1906. They produce wines from their beautiful twenty-two estate as well as from grapes sourced from some of Sonoma County’s best vineyards in the top wine regions including the fog bathed hills of the Russian River Valley, the hot floors of the Alexander Valley and the red lava soils of Sonoma Mountain. From these diverse locations Kenwood Vineyards’ selection of wines includes classic varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Kenwood Vineyards winery is housed in the original historical winery buildings. However, the interior of the winery has been redesigned to also incorporate modern winemaking methods. More than 125 stainless steel fermenting and upright oak tanks are used in combination with 14,000 French and American Oak barrels, giving the winemaker flexibility and diversity in production.

Kenwood’s portfolio which includes Russian River Pinot Noir, the aromatic Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and the full-bodied single-vineyard Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon as well as their concentrated jammy Sonoma County Zinfandel.  

For a very modest fee of $5 you can taste five wines from their huge portfolio, I chose all of mine from the Reserve Wine List and only tasted wines that are available only from the tasting room which were as follows:

My first pour was the 2009 Reserve Chardonnay. Sourced from the Russian River Valley, after undergoing malolactic fermentation this wine remained on the lees (spent yeasts) for seven months. This is a big rich Chardonnay with notes of orange peel, ginger, lemon, a hint of oak with a slight nutty finish. Well balanced with a full mouth feel and yet maintains its acidity. A nice wine for $25 a bottle.

My first red wine was the 2008 Reserve Merlot. Made from grapes sourced from Dry Creek and the Sonoma Valley, this wine was aged for 21 months in French oak barrels and it is a bigger wine, almost Cabernet-like, than what you’d expect from this varietal. On the nose I picked up a very distinct mint and eucalyptus character followed by raspberries, and red currants. The wine sells for $20 a bottle.

My second red wine and third pour was the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose I picked up bright cherries followed by some green notes, namely bell peppers, followed by enough wood to rebuild Noah’s ark. At $35 a bottle I’ll say “pass.”

My next red wine was the 2008 Jack London Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Black currants, black berries and tobacco exude from this wine with a noticeable amount of oak on the finish. The wine sells for $30 a bottle.

2007 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon. The best wine in the line-up, the bouquet exudes a big nose of dried cherries, blueberries and cassis and followed by a spicy herbal aromatic note of sage and sassafras. The wine has a full bodied mouthfeel with well-structured tannins, and in addition to what is picked up on the nose it has additional flavors of pomegranate with a hint of vanilla on the finish. The only sad note is that it costs a whopping $75 a bottle. A great wine, but there are many like it on the market in the $35 - $40 rage so I had to say “pass.”

To see more pictures, check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography at:

Several of these wines seemed over oaked, but Kenwood is still using the antiquated old cheap glass stemware. I suspect that if I were to re-taste the Cabs and Merlot at home in a Reidel Bordeaux glass they might be better displayed and seem more well balanced.

To visit or for more information:

Kenwood Vineyards

9592 Sonoma Highway (Highway 12)

Kenwood, CA 95452

Telephone: 1-707- 833-5891

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards – Carneros, Sonoma County

Saturday October 22nd was an absolutely gorgeous Autumn day in Northern California, a cool morning followed warm sunny afternoon was the forecast (high 70’s to low 80’s) and there was no better place to be than out in the Sonoma wine country. So, I headed north to visit one winery in Sonoma Carneros and then visit a few along the historic Valley of the Moon Trail.

My first stop was at the Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyard. They are located in the picturesque Sonoma Carneros region, 40 miles northwest of San Francisco. They were the first sparkling wine house in California’s Sonoma Carneros region and its founders stem from a Spanish winegrowing history and practice centuries-old sustainable practices in creating both sparkling and estate varietal wines. 

Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards was founded by José Ferrer, whose father, Pedro Ferrer Bosch, came to the United States in the mid 1930s with the goal to produce sparkling wine in North America.

At that time, Pedro and his wife, Dolores Sala Ferrer, were well-established sparkling wine producers in Spain. Their marriage had united two prominent Catalan wine families—the Salas, who owned a wine export business and the Ferrers, who had been winegrowers since the 1500s and the family behind La Freixeneda—a 12th century farming estate. Together they founded Freixenet, producing their first cava in 1915, and eventually they became the world’s largest producer of méthode champenoise sparkling wine.

The dream of Pedro Ferrer Bosch to producing sparkling wine in North America was short lived as he returned to Spain at the start of the Spanish Civil War, in which he would lose his life. But it would live on in His youngest son, José Ferrer, who inherited his father’s vision to carry on the family tradition in North America.

In 1982, José, Gloria and their two sons, Pedro and José Maria, visited Sonoma Carneros, and found a home for Gloria Caves and Vineyards which they then established in 1986. Pedro (the eldest son) then moved to Sonoma County to lead the winery until 1994, when he returned to Spain while the younger brother, José Maria, joined the Gloria Ferrer team for the next four years, carrying on his family’s tradition of quality sparkling wine production.

Most of the 335-acre estate is dedicated to Pinot Noir to create sparkling wine but in 1991, inspired by the quality and character of their estate fruit, they began crafting still wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 

The winery’s sun-drenched Vista Terrace overlooks their breathtaking estate vineyards providing the perfect place to enjoy a glass of sparkling or still wine. They also offer a number of Spanish and local cheeses, meats, almonds and other delicacies that are available from the tasting room to enjoy with the wine.

The one really odd thing about this winery is that they have “caves” in their name and yet unlike all other wineries I have been to with caves, they offer no tours! The only pictures you can take is from an over-look location adjacent to the tasting room.

The tasting arrangement at Gloria Ferrer is a little different than most wineries. Essentially the tasting room operates like a wine bar. You create your own flight by choosing wines-by-the-glass à la carte from their menu and a server brings them out to you, with a separate glass for each wine set on a coaster that identifies the wine. So, you can sit out on the terrace, enjoy the view of the vineyards below and sip their wines in a very leisurely comfortable fashion rather than having to stand and lean over a wine bar like most other tasting rooms. The tastings cost $3 each which at first seemed rather steep until I received them for they were definitely more than 2 ounces each and if I had not been spitting into a cup I would have been hammered by the time I left. They also do not utilize Pinot Noir specific stemware but, as usual, I brought my own! So, as I transitioned through each wine I poured them out of the glass they provided into my Reidel stemware.

Although they are most known for their sparkling wines, I decided to continue Pinot Noir adventure that I was on all Summer long and sample four of their still wines.

My first sample was the 2006 Rust Rock Pinot Noir. A fairly light and elegant wine with notes of strawberries, cherries, red plums and blueberries followed by a hint of cigar box and forest floor. On the palate, the wine’s delivers cherries, pomegranates and cinnamon and it delivers a really long finish. This wine retails at $40 a bottle.

My second wine was my favorite in the line-up, the 2006 Gravel Knob Pinot Noir. An earthier wine than the previous pour, it has aromas of ripe raspberry, cranberry along with root beer and cola. On the palate, this supple wine offers complex Bing cherries, raspberries with hints of spice and a lingering crisp acidic finish. Retail this wine sells for $40 but they currently have it on sale at 30% off at $28 a bottle.

The third pour was the 2006 Pinot Noir José Ferrer Pinot Noir Black. This wine emits aromas of raspberries, cherries and violets with subtle notes of caramel, oak, spice and earth. On the palate this wine is lighter than the previous wine with sharper acidity and drying teeth griping tannins with a long woody finish. Retail this wine sells for $35 but they currently have it on sale at 30% off at $24.50 a bottle.

My final wine was the 2007 Carneros Pinot Noir. Not as “up front” on the nose as the previous wines, but after swirling it for a while (which I can’t imagine doing very well in the glasses they provide) I picked up raspberry, dried cherries, wild blackberries slightly earthy mushrooms, cedar and a really nice tannin-acid balance. Although I preferred the ‘06 Gravel Knob this one was the best bang for the buck in the line-up for only $22 a bottle.

My wine cellar is quite full of Pinot Noir from my summer travels up and down the coast, so unless something REALLY grabbed my attention I wasn’t in the market for buying more Pinot. Overall, I’d say Gloria Ferrer’s Pinots are “okay” but not really remarkable as none of them had that “wow!” factor. If I were to return, I’d probably sample their sparkling wines rather than the still wines.

To visit or for more information:

Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyard
23555 Carneros Hwy (121)
Sonoma, CA 95476
Main Phone Line: 1-707-996-7256; Tasting Room Direct: 1-707-933-1917
Note: Carneros Highway 121 is also called Arnold Drive so if you are using a GPS to get there, be sure to enter “Arnold Drive.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Landmark Winery in Kenwood, California the Home of Spectacular Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Landmark Vineyards was founded in 1974 in Windsor California by Bill Mabry but it was eventually taken over by one of its investors, Damaris Deere Ford, the great-great granddaughter of John Deere.

In 1989 it was relocated to Kenwood where it was rebuilt as a Spanish mission style winery. Then in 1993 the winery was taken over by Mike and Mary Colhoun and world-renowned consulting enologist Helen Turley was hired to work with the winemaker. Subsequently Landmark’s wines have consistently received rave reviews from wine critics and their signature wine, the Overlook Chardonnay, has appeared on The Wine Spectator Top 100 list 7 times since 1997. Landmark Vineyards was then purchased by Stewart and Lynda Resnick (whose 2 billion dollar Roll Global Company owns Fiji Water and the Pom Wonderful juice) and they farm 188 square miles in California.

Today, the winery is capable of producing 25,000 cases of wine. Although they specialize in Burgundian varietals – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - the Landmark Estate is devoted to be an organically farmed Rhone style vineyard with 11 acres of Chateau Neuf du Pape varietals including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise and Viognier.

Landmark Vineyards produces six Chardonnays and I was able to taste 3 of them plus 2 Pinot Noirs and a Syrah, all of these wines were very impressive and it is a “must visit” for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fans alike.

My first wine was the 2009 Overlook Chardonnay (a blend from Sonoma County vineyards) which is widely distributed. On the nose this wine displays tropical fruits, fresh orange, and just a hint of oak. On the palate this rich wine delivers a full mouth feel of citrus, peach, pineapple and crème brûlée. A fantastic wine for $28 and I brought one home to share at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

My next wine was the 2009 Lorenzo Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River). Upon first sniff and sip my mind yelled, “WOW!” This wine delivers layers of peaches, lemon, orange blossoms, and a floral component and on the palate the fruit is backed up with rock solid minerality and a tongue penetrating acidity that brings you back wanting more, yet there is also a layer of rich butter that is really well balanced with all the other characteristics of this wine. A spectacular display of complexity, structure and depth. But, at $55 a bottle you’ve got to be a really big Chard fan to shell out that kind of money!

My third sample was not on the tasting menu, the 2008 Damaris Reserve Chardonnay (42% Sangiacomo Vineyard, 58% Flocchini Vineyard). A big, rich wine that displays honeysuckle, tropical fruits, peaches, dried pineapple and pears. In comparing profiles, you might think of this as the “big brother” of Overlook Chardonnay in character and price value as this wine sells for $30 a bottle.

As I transitioned to tasting sampling their Pinot Noirs I was pleased to find that they serve them in the appropriate stemware.

My first as the 2009 Grand Detour Pinot Noir (a blend of six Sonoma Coast vineyards) A marvelous example of California can display in the Pinot Noir grape! Raspberries, sour cherries, cola and subtle hint of caramel and underlying earthiness. Silky tannins are complimented with a refreshing acidity. A really nice wine for $40!

My second red wine was the 2009 Kanzler Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). A bigger, spicier and more intense wine that could definitely use a few years to develop in the bottle. Loads of plum, raspberries, rose petals, blackberries, black licorice, followed by mocha notes. A definite sock in the pocket book at $65 a bottle but I brought one home to lay for a few years – probably THE most expensive pinot I’ve ever bought but I think I’ll be rewarded for my investment around the year 2015. 

My final wine was the 2009 Steel Plow Syrah (Kivelstadt Family Vineyard, Sonoma Valley). This wine is really herbal on the nose, followed by lavender, blackberries and cocoa. This isn’t my style of Syrah, especially at $32 a bottle.

To visit or for more information:

Landmark Vineyards