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September 2022

Taste of the North Coast

The North Coast is a designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) with 53 AVA’s within the region. It is home to more than half of the state’s wineries and some of the world’s most famous wine growing regions. The Napa Valley, Sonoma County and Mendocino are world class growing regions which produce wines that stand up to the best of the best around the world.

The Napa Valley was recognized as a world-renowned growing region in 1976 at the Judgement of Paris. Two iconic wineries won first place in their categories against the greatest wines of France. Some of the world’s most sought after and highly collectable Cabernet Sauvignon come from Napa. Sonoma is the largest wine growing region in California and is home to 500 wineries. The wines of Mendocino are old world in style and terrior driven since it is such a cool growing region. We just got back from wine country and found these gems that are a great expression of the North Coast.

Balletto Gewürztraminer, Russian River 2020

Founder and owner John Balletto started the family business after his father’s untimely death with he was only 17. He was offered several athletic scholarships but decided to stay home and help his mother Hazel run a small 5-acre farm. They were determined to make their business a success and gradually grew the farm to 700 acres. At one point the Ballettos were the largest vegetable growers in Northern California.

With the severe droughts of the 1990’s John took the advice of Warren Dutton of Dutton Ranch and started growing grapes which are less water dependent than other crops. The Balletto’s Russian River fruit was sold to some of Sonoma’s most outstanding producers. Today the family keeps 10% of what they grow to produce 100% estate grown and bottled wine from their certified sustainable vineyards. Pretty much everything we love about a family owned and run winery!

This this little Gewürz is big on flavor! In typical Gewürztraminer fashion it has tons of aromatics with a rich mid palate and a spicy refreshing finish.

Pair with a Euclid Roll, a porch chair and a fall breeze.

Founder – John Balletto Winemaker – Anthony Beckman

Retail - $22

Calder Wine Company Carignane, Mendocino 2016

“I believe the greatest wines carry a nervous energy that honors both the history of where the wines were grown and their potential to relay that history to future generations. To that end, I am dedicated to the crafting of vibrant, balanced wines that offer both immediate happiness and a connection with California’s winemaking heritage.” —Rory Williams

Founder Rory Williams has wine flowing through his veins (as you can see on the label). His father and mother are both growers and winemakers and were the founders Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa Valley. When his parents divorced his mother started Tres Sabores Winery (which most of you know). We’ve had the pleasure of knowing this talented wine family for years. On our last trip to Napa we had to pay the family a visit (including Benny’s sister and other pups) and Julie pulled a bottle of her son’s Carignan that had been tucked away in their cave for years. I asked if I could have the last of it for wine club and here it is!

Carignan is a Rhone varietal that is earthy, funky and food friendly. This is no exception!

Great with roast duck, family time and a Golden Retriever by your side.

Founder / Winemaker – Rory Williams

Retail - $28

Amapola Creek “Proprietary Red”, Sonoma Valley NV

Wine icon Richard Arrowood has spent 50 years making wine in Sonoma County. You may have enjoyed his wines from Arrowood Vineyards which he owned for many years. After selling it in the 90’s he started Amapola Creek which is a small organically farmed vineyard and winery located on his home property in the Moon Mountain District of Sonoma. The beautiful creek that runs through the property is called Amapola Creek.

This estate grown and bottled red is a blend of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals as well as a blend of vintages. I think Dick has the most fun with this wine and so should you.

Enjoy with anything from grilled lamb to pizza as well as an open mind.

Founders – Dick and Alis Arrowood Winemaker – Dick Arrowood

Retail $26

Long Meadow Ranch “Farmstead” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2020

The trip we took to Napa last week was to celebrate Mike taking another trip around the sun and to spend time with family! We made it a point to stop at one of our favorite wineries and restaurants for his birthday, Long Meadow Ranch at Farmstead in St. Helena. No trip to Napa is complete without a visit. The founders are an amazing family that have been farming organic grapes, gardens, olive groves and raising cattle in Napa and Anderson Valley for decades. They proudly provide their guests at Farmstead with a true farm to table experience. We love the family’s contribution to viticulture and agriculture and think nothing says Napa like a delicious Cabernet.

Pair with steak tartare and a bunch of other stuff with the people you love most.

Founder – John and Laddie Hall Winemaker – Justin Carr

Retail $38

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