One of our first “If Our Corkscrews Could Talk” adventures was in our favorite place to go wine tasting: The Russian River Valley, in Sonoma County, CA. Sonoma is arguably the 2nd most well-known wine region in the United States (next to the Napa Valley), and while Napa and Sonoma are in close proximity to each other, we think they are a world apart in many ways.
The Russian River Valley is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) and got its name when the Russians came down from Alaska and settled Fort Ross at the mouth of the River. They eventually offered to help Mexico keep those intrusive United States citizens out of the region, but Mexico’s response was to create more settlements in the area and protect it themselves. Those settlers planted the first grapes. The Russians eventually left, and when gold was discovered, the first wine boom occurred. The rest is history, albeit a very slow moving history until the 1960’s when farmers in the area were urged to grow cool climate grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
What we like about The Russian River Valley is the winding back roads, the wineries hidden up long driveways, less traffic than Napa, the river, and its laid-back vibe. (In fact, on our first trip in 1999 they weren’t even charging for wine tasting yet). But most of all, because the growing conditions and varietals of the grapes are so diverse, a visit to RRV (we figure we can use the locals lingo since we have so much of their wine running in our veins) means we can sample just about any kind of wine…the above-mentioned Chard and Pinot, as well as Zinfandel, Shiraz, and Pinot Gris….you name it, and you will find a good one in RRV.
In our latest YouTube video, we talk about three particular varietals from the Russian River Valley:
- 2012 Martin Ray Chardonnay – Fruit forward, green apples, pear, lemon. Crisp, clean and not oaky at all. We can imagine drinking this outside on the deck as the sun sets on your vineyard. Everyone has a vineyard, right?
- Arista Pinot Noir – We decanted this very special pinot to bring out all these deep, dark flavors of cherry, cola, raspberries, and plum flavors.
- Bearboat Syrah – A spicy wine with dark fruit pairs great with rich and spicy food.
Please watch our video to learn more about these 3 awesome wines, and about our favorite wine destination.
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– The TWW