Today I had time to visit two wineries in Sonoma – Ravenswood and Buena Vista. Let’s tackle them one at a time.
This sign will greet you as you drive into the parking lot of the winery. Most of you know Ravenswood for the grocery store wines produced by this label. However, at the winery are small production wines that you won’t find on store shelves. This is common practice for large producers. It gives people a reason to visit the tasting room.
No Wimpy Wines – that’s Ravenswood’s slogan.
I guess that means all their wines should be big, bold and have lots of flavor. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my experience from the tasting today. All the wines were good, drinkable wines, but only one wine was very good. And none of them seemed to be extremely bold. The best wine also came with a $60 price tag. Bummer. The tasting room itself is bright and a little rustic. It feels kind of like you stepped into a big cabin in the woods. The staff was very friendly and knowledgable – a huge plus in my book. I say go for a visit. Wines change from time to time and my palate is different from yours. It’s worth a stop.$15 for 5 wines.
Buena Vista is one of California’s oldest wineries. It was founded in 1857. That’s more than 100 years before Robert Mondavi founded his winery launching the modern-day fine wine industry in America.
Entrance to the historic tasting room. This building was originally built in 1862. Cool.
The tasting room was very cool. Literally. I felt like I was in a wine cellar tasting wine. I think it was perfect. The feeling from the staff, however, was very warm and inviting. A glass was placed in front of me quickly and a splash of Chardonnay started the flight. It was my kind of Chardonnay – well-balanced. Good fruit, wood and acid. I tasted several other wines including Pinot Noir, Syrah and Merlot. They produce over 20 different wines, mostly from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The Merlot blew me away (and I’m a huge Merlot fan). The depth, complexity and mouthfeel of the wine was spectacular.
Overall, the tasting room was focused and the wines were very good. If you go for the history, you’ll stay for the wine. Definitely worth a stop on your next visit to Sonoma.