Tasting Kenwood wines from the store is nothing like tasting with the winemaker himself. So much the better if you can do it after a tour of the vineyards and winery. Seeing the historic estate sitting amongst acres and acres of vines, really gives the “big name brand” wines a sense of time, place, and personality.
If you haven’t heard of Flanagan Wines yet, then listen up because this boutique winery is worth seeking out during your next wine country getaway. With wines that are just as charmingly boisterous as proprietor Eric Flanagan, there’s no better location for their new winery than on a hilltop along the illustrious Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg. Complete with a cozy tasting room overlooking scenic Sonoma, there’s no better place to sip and savor the story captured in every Flanagan Wines bottle.
Stew and Barb weren’t always winemakers. In fact, Stew still works in the medical field and Barb is only recently retired from her career as an attorney. On a recent visit to Sonoma County wine country, I scheduled some time at this literal mom-and-pop wine operation. And if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend you visit as well — this is your chance to learn the nitty gritty of the winemaking operation from a couple who’ve made this work a project of passion, not profit. And nothing exemplifies this creativity more than the 2013 Late Harvest Syrah.
“Any time you drink Grgich Hills,” I told my partner in wine crime, “you’re drinking a bit of California wine history.” So much more so when sipping on their Chardonnay seeing as how original owner and winemaker Miljenko “Mike” Grgich has been called “The King of Chardonnay” since founding the estate back in 1977. So, needless to say, this wine’s reputation preceded itself and I was (probably over-) eager to see what “The King” is producing today.
On a recent visit to Sonoma County wine country, I popped by the mom-and-pop Lauterbach Cellars to see a boutique wine business in action. Not only was I welcome with generosity of hospitality, good spirits, and a wealth of wine knowledge — I was absolutely blown away by what this couple creates. Self-educated winemaker Stew Lauterbach and wife Barb pretty much just make the wines they like and like the wines they make. But today I want to highlight one of my favorites in the current Lauterbach line up.