This weekend I finally got around to exploring the Russian River region. After a weekend of camping in Bodega Bay with friends it seemed only fitting that we make a slight detour through Russian River on our way back to Sacramento.
I have had some amazing Pinot Noir from this region and I was eager get out there and get a sense of what it is about. I wanted to personally see what it is about this region that produces such great Pinot Noir.
As I meandered through the winding back roads sometimes almost getting lost, I wished for something off the beaten path. Small, family owned and operated wineries. No sooner than the thought crossed my mind, I noticed the sign to Gracianna Winery. I did not recognize the name. It did not show up on my google map search. I thought to myself, this could be precisely what I was looking for.
The grounds were neat, uncluttered, minimalist and generally understated. The Winery sits lower in the valley and is very easy to completely overlook. As I pulled up I had no expectations whatsoever. I merely wanted to taste some Russian River Pinot. The tasting room is one of the more interesting ones (read cool) I’ve seen in a while. It is and indoor/outdoor setup, welcoming you in one side and leading you to a terrace/patio and into the vineyards where your detailed tasting happens among the vineyards.
On the tasting menu were the following wines with some of my initial notes.
- 2018 Arozza Rosé – Rose was delicate, smooth and buttery.
- 2018 Sauvignon Blanc – Oakey, smooth, mild acid, hint of citrus, gentle overall.
- 2015 Chardonnay – Beautiful, delicate, buttery great floral notes, complex.
- 2016 Pinot Noir – More Burgundian style, crisp clean nose, subtle oak, subtle acid, hint of spice, delicate balance. What I was looking for.
- 2014 Pinot Noir – More of a big California style Pinot albeit restrained. Once opened huge earth/terrior dominates the nose, beautiful, perfect balance of jammy fruit, berry, bold tannin for a Pinot especially from this region. Rich. Should lay down a little more to fully develop. I will have to revisit this.
It is difficult to do an in-depth tasting on site while tasting other wines. So I picked up a bottle each of the Pinot Noir, one of which will be tonight’s occation and will post my thoughts shortly.
The Tasting was conducted by staff with extensive knowledge on the wines and the region at large. This really helped guide the tasting and added great perspective. The tasting was occasionally punctuated by the owner Trini who’s warm lively energy I found very reassuring as he shared the history of the winery going back generations. Equally impressive was his son’s ventures into viticulture and enology. This family is truly all about the love and passion for making great wines. It was a truly special and personal experience.
Thank you Trini, Fernando and the entire Gracianna Family. I look forward to seeing you all gain.