Nothing could be finer than to be in Northern Sonoma County in the fall ~ especially for the annual Wine & Food Affair which was held November 5 & 6, 2016. What an awesome event! Sponsored by the Wine Road, this event spans the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley and features over 100 wineries with delectable wine and food pairings. Recipes can be found on the Wine Road website www.wineroad.com
The highlight for me was meeting Victoria Wilson, Super Star Winemaker at Matrix Winery on the westside of Russian River Valley. Victoria’s exuberance and passion for handcrafted small lot Pinot Noir was abundantly clear as we tasted through three single clone (667, 777 and 828) estate Pinot Noir vineyards. Matrix’s 2014 Estate Pinot Noir was artfully paired with a Crispy Mushroom Roll with Butternut Squash Ketchup. www.matrixwinery.com
Dutton Estate put on a fine show as always, highlighting a Chardonnay, Kyndall’s Reserve 2013, and a delightful Pinot Noir, Karmen Isabella 2013, which was paired with mouth-watering North African Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce. As a special treat, the 2014 Late Harvest Syrah was served with homemade chocolate chip cookies. www.duttonestate.com
Balletto Vineyards features 100% Russian River Valley Estate grown wines and selected the 2014 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley to pair with the Mushroom Medley Cream Soup and local Artisan bread. In addition to the pairing, Balletto offered tastes of seven estate wines, including the 2013 Sexton Hill Chardonnay and the 2013 Zinfandel. www.ballettovineyards.com
Out in Forestville, Joseph Jewell Wines featured a classic style Pinot Ragout to compliment the 2013 Russian River Pinot Noir, which has since sold out. Winemaker Adrian Jewell Manspeaker was on hand to greet visitors and to pour a stellar lineup of 2014 Russian River Valley and Humboldt Pinot Noirs. Joseph Jewell Wines is a real “jewel”. www.josephjewell.com
With so many wineries on the tour and so little time to sip, savor and taste, I’ll just have to come back next year, November 4 & 5, 2017! See you on the Wine Road!