Siduri (&Novy), J Vineyards, Chalk Hill and Zin

27 May

Today we travelled north from Kenwood to Healdsburg (our favorite town in Napa/Sonoma wine country). We stopped in at some wineries that we carry in the store, and had dinner at an old favorite (which led to a “discovery” the next day).

Siduri

Siduri is in an industrial park outside Santa Rosa…keeps down the overhead…reminds us of the Wine ImageGhetto in Solvang (Santa Barbara wine area), as there are several other wineries near Siduri. The tasting room is out in the open adjacent to a big storage area. Siduri is famous for their Pinot Noirs. In fact, that’s all they make under the Siduri label. We have a delicious one at Pairings, and we tasted several more during the visit. The label symbol is a conservative version (required in order to get regulatory approval) of the Babylonian goddess of fermentation. They source all their grapes and make many Pinot Noirs, all of them small production. Novy Family Wines is the same company/winery, making everything non-Pinot. Siduri’s success story involves putting a sticky on some early wines and leaving them for Robert Parker to hopefully taste (which he did). Go to their web site to get the details.

They make a total of 15-20,000 cases. We tasted a line-up of wines under both names.  The first was a Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, finishing up with an excellent Late Harvest Viognier – floral – honey and orange blossom – delicious.

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Entrance to J

Next we stopped at J Vineyards, which has grown to 100,000 cases per year from a relatively small production when we first visited them in 2007. Their specialty is sparkling, where they make the big $, but also several other nice wines. The business model of having one or two wines that make it big (see Landmark in previous blog and Chalk Hill next) and making several small production wines for their wine club and tasting room seems to work well. We have their Pinot Gris, which is excellent, and very popular at Pairings.

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Up on Chalk Hill

Chalk Hill has pretty much its own appellation. Again, the wine that makes the big $ is a chardonnay (60% of their production), which we have at Pairings. It has nice oak, butteriness, is big and elegant at the same time, with hints of hazelnuts. It’s a classic CA chardonnay, but better than most. We tasted a dozen wines, ending with a fabulous dessert wine, 100% Semillon – much like a sauternes.

We had a nice hike at Shiloh Ranch Regional Park, not too serious but a way to get out in nature and get some exercise. It’s a great alternative to going to one of the National Parks in the area and spending half the day on a serious hike. Shiloh is half way between Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, and you can have a short or long hike. We did about 3 miles in a little over an hour, with nice views of the valley.

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Crispy Green Beans and Sausage Apps

Dinner was at Zin, which is famous for its crispy green beans (with cilantro on the beans and mango salsa). We first had this ten years ago, and they can’t take it off the menu. The foods are designed so that Zin (red, not white) can pair, and we had several…a glass of Zin from Valdez was the hit, and led to us visiting them the next day (see next blog), another hit.

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