Wineries to watch in 2013
Historic Buena Vista continues revival by Jean-Charles Boisset
Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.
With 2012 coming to an end and a new year to look forward to, we present local wineries we think will be doing great things in 2013. Some are new, some are retooling, some just have exceptional wine they'll soon be ready to release.
Arista Winery: The Russian River Valley-based Arista isn't new, but it's growing in interesting ways, making it a winery to watch in 2013. First off, the winery, owned by the McWilliams family, purchased the Martinelli Road Vineyard, a respected old-vine zinfandel (and other grapes) outpost in the Russian River Valley near Forestville. It was once owned by the Martinelli family and was a source of fine-tuned zin grapes for Carlisle and Turley Wine Cellars. A single-vineyard zinfandel, chardonnay and pinot noir from the site were made by Arista for the first time in 2012, under the watchful care of vineyard manager Ulises Valdez. In addition, the winery has just announced the appointment of Matt Courtney, previously of Marcassin Wine Company, as winemaker, beginning in the new year.
7015 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 473-0606, aristawinery.com.
Buena Vista Winery: Jean-Charles Boisset's acquisition of this historic property has already been marked by tremendous progress, making it fun to visit again, but new this year will be the handfuls of highly anticipated sweet and sparkling wines, nods to Buena Vista's golden days. Cream sherry is among them, one of the first wines the winery ever made. Also soon to be released are a port-style wine and imported Hungarian Tokaji, in homage to original founder Agoston Haraszthy. In addition, look for an array of sparkling wines in celebration of the winery's newly renovated Champagne Cellars and Buena Vista's dedication to making sparklers since the late 1800s. Also soon to come is an authentic French Champagne under the Buena Vista name, an homage to Boisset's deep connection to France.
18000 Old Winery Road, Sonoma, 265-1472, buenavistawinery.com.
Lost & Found Winery: A partnership between Farmhouse Inn's brother-sister owners Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, master sommelier Geoff Kruth and winemaker Megan Glaab, Lost & Found sources pinot noir grapes from an 8-acre Bartolomei vineyard in the Russian River Valley near Forestville originally planted a century ago. The first wine, a 2010 pinot, was released earlier this year and intended mostly for restaurant tables such as Meadowood and The French Laundry (Farmhouse Inn, of course, too), where it can be paired in exquisite ways with food.
7871 River Road, Forestville, lostandfoundwine.com.
Masut Vineyard and Winery: The Redwood Valley-based label of Jake and Ben Fetzer, sons of the late Bobby Fetzer and grandsons of Fetzer Winery founder Barney Fetzer, Masut is a 1,500-acre ranch named for a former Pomo Indian settlement bordering the old Fetzer Home Ranch, where the boys are growing an unlikely variety -- pinot noir. After selling the grapes to other wineries in 2009, they decided to make their own wine, enlisting the help of winemaker Greg La Follette. The wine was a beauty, enwrapped in high-toned cranberry and tart cherry flavors with a rich texture and silky mouthfeel. They've since grown the brand to about 3,000 cases and this year will release a series of 2011 vintage pinots from specific blocks and clones.
1301 Reeves Canyon Road, Redwood Valley, 485-5466, masut.com.
Reuling Vineyard: Reuling may be a familiar name to pinot noir and chardonnay drinkers who have happily snapped up years of Aubert and Peter Michael wines vineyard-designated with the Reuling name, but for the first time this year Tim and Jackie Reuling will release two eagerly anticipated Reuling Vineyard wines of their own -- a silky smooth 2011 pinot noir and 2011 rosé made from pinot noir grapes. Their winemaker and vineyard manager is Matt Taylor, previously of Araujo, where he became a knowledgeable advocate of Biodynamic farming practices. In the Sonoma Coast appellation near the town of Forestville, the Reuling site is truly magical, surrounded by the family's home, sheep pasture and myriad fruit trees, a 16-acre former apple orchard they bought in 1998 and planted in 2000, mostly to pinot noir, with the remainder in sumptuous chardonnay. They expect to release a Reuling chardonnay in 2014. Visit their website, soon to be officially launched, at ReulingVineyard.com.
Sheldon Wines: Husband-and-wife team Dylan and Tobe Sheldon are making some seriously good wine, from Anderson Valley pinot noir to a soulful Rhone white blend. A particular favorite is their Deviant Velocity, a study in elegant petite sirah. The wines are sustainable, organic or Biodynamic and left unfiltered and unfined, because, as their motto goes, "sterile wines have no soul." Visit the Sippy Lounge by appointment Friday through Sunday noon to 6 p.m., a dog-friendly place with picnic area and bocce court.
1301 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa, 865-6755, sheldonwines.com.
Small Vines Wines: The offshoot of Kathryn and Paul Sloan's Small Vines Viticulture business, Small Vines is about growing vines in rows no wider than a plow horse, harking back to centuries-old tradition and purposefully encouraging lower yields per vine for more complex wines. Their 9-acre organic vineyard is just starting to come into production; three 2010 vintage pinot noirs have just recently been released. If you don't know this producer already, it's time to check them out.
2160 Green Hill Road, Sebastopol, 823-0886, smallvines.com.
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