The long-awaited “House of Flowers” tasting room made its debut in July 2019 in the beautiful Russian River Valley. Flowers Vineyards & Winery is situated on Westside Road, seven miles from downtown Healdsburg on the old VML Winery site. The property has been magically transformed and the provenςal gardens have been renewed to its glory days. Scores of hummingbirds buzz through the colorful flowers as if on cue.
Water features have suddenly sprung to life and the towering pines still stand guard over the Pinot Noir vineyards. Flowers’ elevated food and wine pairing experience is well-orchestrated from the moment of arrival. Guests are greeted with a chilled 2018 Pinot Noir Rose and a mini tour of the gardens. Cabanas and patio tables are strategically positioned facing the vineyards with the Mayacamas and Mt. St. Helena as a picture-perfect backdrop.
Indeed, Flowers has a fascinating backstory. East coast horticulturists Walt and Joan Flowers headed west with a handful of vitis viniferous cuttings and a dream to own a vineyard. In the late 1980s, the rugged Sonoma coast was unchartered territory for grape growing. After much searching, high above the fog line at 1100 feet, they discovered a remote, untouched piece of paradise. Formerly a trading ground with the Pomo Indians and Russian fur traders, Flowers’ literally put down roots in 1991.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on Camp Meeting Ridge and shortly thereafter, another mountaintop property was acquired, known now as Sea View Ridge. The rest is history. With the efforts of the Flowers and top producer neighbors, (Hirsch, Marcassin, Martinelli, Bohan, Peter Michaels, Pahlmeyer and Failla to name a few), the under- appreciated Fort Ross-Seaview AVA was granted in 2012.
Flowers‘ seated tasting line up features a 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay paired with Estero Gold gougère with lemon zest and wild fennel pollen followed by a 2016 Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay paired with chilled corn soup with sea beans and brown butter. Both the wine and food pairings were exquisite.
Being a true Pinotphile, I confess that the Pinot Noir pairings outshone the Chardonnay. For starters, the 2017 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, paired with maitake mushroom, crostini with thyme and crispy shallots was amazing, but the 2016 Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir paired with nori cracker, fig, eggplant and shiso stole the show.
For a truly stellar food and wine pairing experience, head out to the “House of Flowers” and expect to be wow-ed! www.flowerswinery.com