Tasting in North Dry Creek Valley; Harvest is Coming

Grapes are getting ripe! Harvest 2019 is coming.

Lori and I and son Jacob and cousin Diego went wine tasting in the northern part of Dry Creek Valley last weekend. Here’s a quick recap.

View from the tasting room deck at Zichichi Family Vineyard.

Our first stop was Zichichi Family Vineyard. We had last visited Zichichi probably about 8-10 years ago, and my recollection was that they were a nice small winery with a great view from the tasting room, making a classic Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. Well, the part of my memory that collects wine tasting notes seems to be in pretty good shape, because that’s exactly what we found. I would also add that the people behind the bar in their tasting room were quite enthusiastic and helpful (kudos to Rose). They were doing barrel tastings that day in the cellar, in addition to the normal tastings, and we left having ordered futures of the 2016 Zichichi Old Vine Zinfandel. Delicious.

Next was Sbragia Family Vineyards. We first went there 7 years ago for the Winter Wineland event, and go back regularly for the wines and the view. They sit up the hill toward Lake Sonoma at the very northern tip of Dry Creek Valley, and the view down the valley is great. Another enjoyable tasting experience there.

View of vineyard and Lake Sonoma from the picnic area at Gustafson Family Vineyards.

From Sbragia we drove past Lake Sonoma, heading west towards the coast through the hills to Gustafson Family Vineyards. (If you’re sensing a trend here with the “Family” vineyards, you’re correct, but it was completely coincidental for the day’s agenda.) We first tasted Gustafson wines at a Petite Sirah industry event in 2012, but it took us a couple of years after that to make the effort to drive to the winery. It’s worth it, for the views, for the nice people helping in the tasting room, and especially for the wines. The Heritage Tree Zinfandel is always a favorite of ours, as is the Petite Sirah, and their Syrah was also quite good. By the way, Gustafson also has a tasting room in Healdsburg, making it easy to taste their wines, but then you wouldn’t get the great view from the winery.

Last on the list was Martorana Family Winery, out of the hills and back in Dry Creek Valley. We first visited Martorana about 7 or 8 years ago, and liked their wines and their story. They’ve been growing grapes for decades, but only recently have they begun making their own wine. Very nice wine, made from their organically farmed vineyards. Ask for Donna in the tasting room.

Trellised grape vines getting ready for the harvest.

Harvest is coming! The first grapes have already been picked (for sparkling wines), and the first grapes for the still wines could be picked as early as this week, depending on how the weather goes. Good luck to all the vineyard crews and winemaking teams; may you have a great harvest!

L’Chaim,

Larry

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