Joseph Phelps Vineyards’ Insignia Tasting Surpasses Expectations!

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Joseph Phelps, founder of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, professes a life-long love affair with Burgundian varietals.   Years of searching for the ideal soil and climate conditions to pursue his dream of crafting Burgundian-style wines, brought Phelps to Freestone,  located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, only six miles from the Pacific Ocean.

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Originally the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes were sourced from St. Helena, Yountville and Carneros in the Napa Valley, near the original Joseph Phelps Vineyards.    By 1999, Phelps planted over 100 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Freestone area and constructed the Joseph Phelps, Freestone Vineyards Guest Center to showcase both the Sonoma Coast and the Napa Valley varietals.

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Almost impossible to miss, the fire engine red building points the way to the Joseph Phelps, Freestone Vineyards Guest Center,  situated on two and a half acres at the intersection of Bodega Highway and Bohemian Highway.   Continue reading

Andrew Murrary Vineyards Is Riding High In The Rhone Zone!

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Foxen Canyon’s Andrew Murray Vineyards is fresh and alive with small lot Syrahs and enticing Rhône blends.  Formerly Curtiss Winery, Andrew Murray has leased the vineyards  from long-time family friends, the Firestone family, and has tastefully remodeled the tasting room, making it a must-stop along the wine trail.

14770070654_9655c336c1_mAndrew Murray Vineyards‘ focus will remain on Rhône varieties, with an emphasis on Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne.DSC_2990-240x159

“Come see what we can do in this new home with expanded winemaking capacity, and access to additional Estate Grown vineyards.”

Andrew Murray, Winemaker

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Moshin Vineyards Is “Pinot Heaven” ~ Russian River Valley’s Little Gem!

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Calling all Pinot-philes… Time to experience a “range of motion” at Moshin Vineyards on the westside of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.  Specializing in small lot, hand-crafted wines, there are always several interesting Pinot Noir wines to taste on any given day.

IMG_8385Upon arrival, a towering spectacled iron clad hummingbird greets visitors outside the eclectic tasting room.

Local Artisan’s wares are exhibited in the tasting room with special artist receptions hosted throughout the year.   IMG_8391

Besides a fabulous line up of Pinot Noir wine, Moshin Vineyards also showcases Vin Gris, Pinot Gris, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.  Other estate varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot.  Continue reading

Santa Ynez Valley’s Sunstone Winery ~ C’est Tres Magique!

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Reminiscent of a Provencal manor in Southern France,  Sunstone Winery features one of the grandest tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley.

The south-facing vineyards sway in the breeze along the Santa Ynez River, creating an ideal microclimate for producing high quality Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.  French varietals planted on the 28 acre estate include Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

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Founders Fred and Linda Rice had a grandiose vision for Sunstone Winery, scouring reclamation yards in Marseille and Provence for artifacts and furnishings for the 8.500 square foot villa.

sunstone_winery_kitchen“Reclaimed materials, such as French limestone, hand-formed roof tiles, a fireplace from the Bordeaux region of France, enormous hand-hewn pine beams from Queen Victoria’s lavender factory, a prison cell door from Normandy constructed during Napoleon’s reign, and a thousand-year old limestone kitchen sink were all incorporated into their dream building.”

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San Pasqual’s Hungry Hawk Vineyards Soars High!

IMG_8792Hungry Hawk Vineyards, is one of the newest, and most promising, boutique wineries to join forces with the San Diego Vintners Association in the San Pasqual Valley AVA.

Nested in the rural outskirts of Escondido, Hungry Hawk Vineyards officially opened its doors in the summer of 2014 after several years of vineyard installation, tasting room construction and endless county and state ordinance permits.

IMG_8795Through the hard work of Ed and Jeanine Embly, Hungry Hawk Vineyards has morphed into a top-notch production facility and upscale tasting room.

Hungry Hawk Vineyards has already earned Silver Medals at the 2014 Florida State Fair and the 2014 San Diego County Fair.

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Hungry Hawk Vineyards, a former avocado estate, has been planted to 17 grape varietals.  White varietals include Albarino, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Pinot Gris.  Bordeaux varietals include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec.  Grenache, Mouvedre, Petit Sirah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and the little known Syrah Noir round out the list.  Continue reading

Chateau St. Jean Vineyard & Winery Exudes Elegance & Old World Charm

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Magnificent gardens, ornate statuary, grand water features and an incredible backdrop of Sugarloaf Ridge greet guests at Chateau St. Jean Vineyard & Winery.  Just outside of Kenwood in Sonoma County, this heavenly estate is reminiscent of a turn of the century French manor, surrounded by 90+ acres of vineyards.

IMG_8338Chateau St. Jean was constructed in 1920 as a summer home for the Goff family, who were iron magnates from Michigan.  Today, the home has been listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is open to the public.  Parlor-style tasting rooms on the upper level are available for private tastings and events.

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Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren has handcrafted over 30 vintages for Chateau St. Jean.   An early pioneer of single vineyard grape sourcing, it is Margo’s belief that “great wines are grown”. Continue reading

If Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs’ Old Vines Could Talk…

IMG_0330Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs in the Dry Creek Valley AVA in Northern Sonoma County boasts a treasure trove of history and many noteworthy red varietals.

IMG_8431The expansive views are breathtaking in every direction, looking out toward the Alexander Valley.  Cool, foggy mornings, hot afternoon sun and breezy evenings are ideal growing conditions for Zinfandel.

Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs’ current flagship wine is the 2012 Lytton Springs, a spicy field blend of 113 year-old vines of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Mataro.  Having survived Prohibition, climate change and years of neglect, these grapes are hand-selected from the five to seven center rows of the vineyard for the iconic field blend.

IMG_8434Historically, Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs vineyard was once part of land owned by Captain William Litton, who developed the springs and built a hotel just east of the vineyard during the last half of the 19th century.   The resort was built for wealthy San Franciscans who would travel to the area by train to “take the waters.”  Continue reading