Wine Region of the Month: Russian River Valley, California
Located in the heart of Sonoma County, California’s Russian River Valley is an American Viticulture Area (AVA) highly regarded for its elite Chardonnay and Pinot Noir production. This region, with over 15,000 acres of planted grapevines, is optimal for producing excellent cool-climate varietals. The regions Pacific-Ocean oriented climate offers a long growing season, and the diverse terrain renders special places where soil, slope and sun exposure are perfectly suited to the various types of grapes that thrive in the area. Thick fog layers roll into the Russian River Valley each
night, cooling the air around the grapevines.
However, other grapes one may not imagine express themselves elegantly in this cooler region. The Russian River Valley delivers surprisingly bright and rich wines such as: Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer.
Russian River Valley Facts:Russian River Valley Facts:
⦁ There are over 200 grape growers in the region.
⦁ Features roughly 75 wineries.
⦁ It is home to more old vines than any other wine region in California.
⦁ This region is named after the Russian heritage of immigrants who settled in this area in the beginning of the 19th century.
5 Must-Try Russian River Valley Wines:
1. 2016 Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir ($15)
Winemaker Notes: This quaffable Rose leads with delicious notes of white peach, nectarine, red cherry, and candied strawberry while being balanced by more subtle cantaloupe and aromatic orange zest. The body is clean and refreshing with crisp acidity. Pairs well with oysters on the half shell with Rose’ mignonette or salmon or tuna sashimi.
2. 2015 Gary Farrell Russian River Chardonnay ($31)
Winemaker Notes: A fresh, vivacious style of Chardonnay with perfect balance, combining a full palate with generous fruit flavors, finesse and elegance. This Russian River blend offers a delicate floral and fruit bouquet with spicy undertones, flint and citrus aromas. On the palate, a supple attack with thirst-quenching Meyer lemon, tart apricot, starfruit, lime zest and a beautiful saline quality. Racy acidity accentuates the long, savory, slightly nutty finish. This wine combines satisfying richness with minerality, precision, pure Russian River Valley typicity and poise.
3. 2016 Rochioli Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($39)
Winemaker Notes: Fifty-nine percent is from the original Sauvignon Blanc vineyard planted in 1959, twenty-five percent is from Rochioli’s newest planting (2001) of a very special and rare clone, and sixteen percent is from Rochioli’s 31-year-old hillside vineyard. This wine is tank fermented at a cool temperature to preserve its intense varietal character and firm acidity. With aromas of passion fruit, melon, and citrus tones this is a light and sophisticated Sauvignon Blanc.
4. 2015 Limerick Lane Russian River Zinfandel ($39)
Winemaker Notes: The 2015 vintage shows aromas of blackberry, raspberry, bramble, cocoa leaf and wet stones. In the mouth, the wine is opulent with structured, chewy tannins and a long finish with laser-focused acidity. The palate displays flavors of strawberry, black pepper and blueberry pie crust.
5. 2013 The Donum Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($69)
Winemaker Notes: The 2013 Russian River Valley is bright ruby in color, with typical cherry and blackberry aromas joined by more exotic watermelon rind and espresso notes. The palate is loaded with bing cherry, plum, and cola flavors, along with noticeable tannin that is characteristic of the vintage. Expansive and very long, this should age very well.2013 The Donum Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($69) Winemaker Notes: The 2013 Russian River Valley is bright ruby in color, with typical cherry and blackberry aromas joined by more exotic watermelon rind and espresso notes. The palate is loaded with bing cherry, plum, and cola flavors, along with noticeable tannin that is characteristic of the vintage. Expansive and very long, this should age very well.
Thank you for reading Wineemotion USA’s very first wine blog and we hope you taste and enjoy these fantastic Russian River Valley wines, perhaps in a Wineemotion wine dispenser. Our objective is to provide monthly educational blogs on any wine variety you can imagine, from Apulia to Walla Walla. Make sure to tune in for February’s wine region blog!
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