Kistler Vineyards‘ stately old farmhouse, aka the Trenton Roadhouse, sits high above the winding Trenton-Healdsburg Road in sleepy Forestville, just north of Sebastopol in Russian River Valley. Unless you’re intently looking for the sign, it’s easy to miss the hidden gated entrance, thinking it is just another beautiful historic home nestled in the vineyards. With enough planning and a little good fortune, you may be able to reserve a seated wine tasting invitation and slip back in time as you gaze over the vineyards from a rocking chair on the old covered porch.
Founded in 1978 by Steve Kistler, winemaker and vineyard manager, the small family owned winery is now producing upwards of 35,000 cases of handcrafted Burgundian-style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. As is traditional in Burgundy, France, Kistler Vineyards produces all of the wines using native yeasts. There are 10 single vineyard Chardonnays, derived from the Wente clone. The Chardonnay is unfined and unfiltered and gracefully aged sur lie in French oak barrels for 11-18 months before bottling. The Pinot Noir, too, is a single vineyard designate and is also unfined and unfiltered. The unctuous free run juice is barrel aged in French oak from 14 to 18 months before bottling.
Kistler‘s Trenton Roadhouse property is absolutely stunning from any vantage point. Hosted tastings are either held in the glass-walled sun porch room overlooking the vineyards in the off-season or held down below in the vintage barn and surrounding patios in the warmer months. As luck would have it, in the middle of the fall harvest, right before a huge rain storm, I had the entire wine tasting experience all to myself, thanks to my wine friend and hostess, Ashley Bender. [Read more…]