If you’re at all familiar with Sonoma County wines, then the name Bacigalupi probably at least rings a bell. Charles and Helen Bacigalupi purchased their original16 acres of existing vineyards back in 1956 simply maintaining the pre-existing plantings. It wasn’t until 1964 that Charles started to experiment with, the now notorious California varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Back then, Bacigalupi was solely a vineyard, not a wine producer, but the name gained serious recognition during the 1976 Paris tasting when the 1973 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Chåteau Montelena — made with 40% Bacigalupi grapes — beat out the French competition.
Indeed, the Bacigalupi’s main business is still sourcing their grapes to various wineries around the Sonoma wine region and include such major players as William Selyem. But the Bacigalupi family do boast their own wine label as well, producing just around 2000 cases annually. So, to taste and to buy, one must visit the Bacigalupi Westside Road winery in Healdsburg.
Barndiva is the perfect name for a restaurant that puts an upscale twist on farm-to-table dining. From the moment you walk in the door you’ll be on sensory overload with art deco lining the walls, funky music pipping through the speakers, and of course glorious aromas wafting from the kitchen.
On a recent visit with Steve and Brian at Crux Winery, I was reminded of how and why their wine is so amazing. Of course I couldn’t leave my visit without a bottle (or two, or three, or four…). One of the stand-outs, for me, is their 2014 Viognier. It’s unlike any other Viognier I’ve come across in taste, texture…and sight.
Even if you’ve looked up the restaurant and planned your reservations in advance, it can be all too easy to miss SHED in the thriving downtown Healdsburg restaurant scene. It’s just off the main drag, far enough down the block that you can’t quite see it and — oh yeah — it’s shaped like a SHED.
If it weren’t for the al fresco seating out front, you could easily mistake the building for a furniture shop or even a warehouse. But once you’ve found it, you’ve found a slice of foodie heaven.
I first met Steve and Brian at the 2016 Rhone Rangers event in SF. After tasting a few of their Rhone-specific varietals (namely their Grenache Blanc, rosé of GSM, and GSM Rhone-style blend), I was immediately in awe with what these boys could do. What was more amazing to me was, while most other participants either hailed from California’s known “Rhone region” of Paso Robles or were large wineries — both in name and production quantity — with direct connections to the French Rhone roots, these two guys are situated in their own little nook in the heart of the Russian River Valley.