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Alexander Valley: Home of Stellar Cabernet Sauvignon

Alexander Valley: Home of Stellar Cabernet Sauvignon

Last month I flew out to California and took part in a multi-day event in Alexander Valley called, “Cabernet Academy.” Alexander Valley sits in the northern part of Sonoma County. There are many different grape types planted there, and quite a few of them thrive in the diverse parts of that valley; but cabernet sauvignon is king. Over several days the group I was part of tasted a ton of different examples of cabernet sauvignon as well as other wines from the area. We tasted some of them in sit-down seminars, and others were sampled more casually over meals. What is readily apparent when tasting a large swath of Alexander Valley cabernet is that, by and large, they nail the varietal cold. Whether it was wines made in miniscule quantities from producers who aren’t in distribution or larger productions from widely distributed wineries, there were impressive cabernets everywhere. Here are my favorite cabernets from the event:

Arbios Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – Suggested Retail Price $33

1,500 cases of this 100 percent cabernet sauvignon wine were produced. It was aged over 3 years in entirely French oak, and 33 percent of the barrels utilized were new. The red hue of this wine is beautiful in the glass. Bright Bing cherry aromas dominate an eager nose. The palate is juicy with continued cherry joined by red plum flavors and copious amounts of spice. The finish is informed by earth and continued spice. Soft tannins and fir acid provide a good backbone. This cabernet will pair with a wider array of foods than most. It’s a tremendous value for the price.

Stuhlmuller Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon — Suggested Retail Price $38

2,100 cases of this wine were produced. It’s largely cabernet sauvignon (91 percent) with a bit of petit verdot (9 percent) blended in. It was aged in all French oak (46 percent new) for 20 months. Mushroom and earth characteristics are prominent on the nose of this cab. Black Raspberry and bits of plum lend to a velvety mouth-feel. Loads of black cherry, accompanied by bits of dark chocolate emerging on the lengthy finish along with black pepper and a hint of cumin. This is a lovely example of Alexander Valley cabernet.

Alexander Valley Vineyards 2009 Cooney Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – Suggested Retail Price $40

Just 387 cases of this release were made. It’s composed entirely of cabernet. Aging occurred over 20 months in 100 percent French oak. Red raspberry and leather aromas mark the welcoming nose. Cranberry and sour cherry characteristics fill the palate. Those characteristics along with hints of baker’s chocolate and spice emerge on the finish. This is a wonderfully even and proportionate cabernet without a sharp edge anywhere.

Field Stone Winery & Vineyard 2010 Staten Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon — Suggested Retail Price $40

Just fewer than 400 cases of this wine were made in 2010. It’s 100 percent cabernet. All of the barrels utilized were French oak and 40 percent of them were new. It was aged for 20 months. Spice and violet aromas are both prominent on the engaging nose. An avalanche of bright cherry flavors fills the gloriously rich, but even keeled, palate. Blackberry, Earth, dusty dark chocolate and fruit pie spices are part of the lengthy finish which goes on and on. This wine will age gracefully for the next dozen years. In addition to getting really well-made Cabernet Sauvignon that has a real sense of its place in the world, you’re also going to get a lot of wine for your money.

Souverain 2009 Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon — Suggested Retail Price $40

680 cases were produced. The fruit for this wine was sourced from 5 distinct vineyards. It’s composed entirely of cabernet sauvignon. It was aged over 25 months in a combination of French and American oak; 100 percent of the barrels utilized were new. The nose of this cab is a bit austere with subdued red berry and a hint of savory herb bubbling up. The palate shows of both red and black berry flavors along with hints of black tea. Black cherry, pencil lead and a bit of dusty cocoa are all in evidence on the finish. This is a really even handed wine that also needs a bit of air to really come into its own. Decant it for an hour if drinking it now, or lay it down for a few years.

Jordan Vineyard & Winery 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon — Suggested Retail Price $53

71, 506 cases were produced. It’s a blend of cabernet (75 percent), merlot (19 percent), petit verdot (5 percent), and malbec (1 percent). It was aged for a year in a combination of French (77 percent) and American oak (36 percent); A third of the barrels were new. Leather and red cherry aromas are the dominate aromas on the nose. The palate shows off continued cherry, bits of raspberry and a nice mineral component, Earth, pencil lead an green peppercorn are part of the substantial finish. This wine will be at its best over the next five to seven years.

Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate 2009 Bear Point Cabernet Sauvignon — Suggested Retail Price $60

511 cases were produced. This wine is all cabernet sauvignon. It was aged over 20 months in all French oak; 54 percent of the barrels were new. The rich nose of this wine is loaded with bold blackberry aromas. The juicy, black fruit-studded palate is bold and prodigious but also proportionate. The finish is long and spicy with continued black fruits, espresso and flecks of dark chocolate. This is a beautiful cabernet that is ready to drink now but will continue to be delicious over the next eight to ten years.

Trione Vineyards & Winery 2009 Block 21 Cabernet Sauvignon — Suggested Retail Price $64

863 cases were produced. This wine is a blend of cabernet (85 percent), merlot (10 percent), petit verdot (2.5 percent) and malbec (2.5 percent) sourced from a single vineyard block. It was aged over two years in all French oak from a trio of different coopers; 45 percent of the barrels were new. A potpourri of spice leads the nose. They’re joined by violets and blueberry aromas. Plum, black raspberry and blackberry flavors are present on the full-bodied but easy-going palate. The finish shows off chocolate covered blueberry and a wisp of chicory. This is an exceptionally smooth and engaging cabernet sauvignon that’s as easy to drink on its own as it is to pair with a wide array of food. It’s wonderful now, but don’t hesitate to lay it down for 10 or so years.


Alexander Valley Vineyards: stellar scenery

Cruise along Highway 128 through sunlit Alexander Valley, and you&rsquoll find yourself in this vineyard that feels like you&rsquore hundreds of miles away. In 1962, Maggie and Harry Wetzel purchased a significant portion of Alexander Valley&rsquos original property, below a stunning backdrop of jagged mountains. In addition to the stellar scenery, this estate also boasts the fifth-largest wine cave in California and offers visitors free tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.

The tasting room itself is nothing fancy &mdash just a tasting bar with some friendly faces pouring complimentary tastings. Yes, complimentary. But those who want to taste the reserve bottlings can do so for $10. There is an outdoor area that&rsquos a perfect spot to sip and enjoy the afternoon sun with your dogs, kids and snacks. And while the winery comes off as a little old school, their operation is certified sustainable and solar-powered. With 180,000 cases per year, consisting of Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and, of course, Zinfandel, this isn&rsquot what you&rsquod call a small-production winery. But these bottles deserve a taste, and the added benefit is that you can make this experience what you want &mdash stop by for a hit-and-run tasting, take a tour of the wine cave, or stick around and picnic outside.

WHAT TO TRY: Alexander Valley&rsquos vintage of rosé of Sangiovese is gentle and dry with perfumes of red cherry, grapefruit and minerality. The Cabernet Franc is full of black cherry, pepper and distinct herbal qualities like anise, tarragon and thyme.


Top Alexander Valley Wineries to Visit

Garden Creek Vineyards

Courtesy of Garden Creek Vineyards

Proprietor Justin Miller’s family has been farming this Alexander Valley ranch since 1963. His dad, who started with cattle but planted their first cabernet sauvignon in 1969, was a pioneering member seeking the official designation of the Alexander Valley as a wine-growing appellation. Fast-forward to 2001, when Justin Miller and his wife Karin WarneliusMiller – who he’s known since growing up, as her family also had a nearby ranch – took over winemaking at Garden Creek Vineyards and began implementing organic and sustainable farming practices on the ranch, which uniquely has seven distinct soil types. Visit their historic family ranch for an intimate tasting of their highly-allocated wines in the barrel room.

2335 Geysers Road, Geyserville, CA 95441, (707) 433-8345

Robert Young Estate Winery

Courtesy of Facebook: Robert Young Estate Winery

The Young family’s history in Alexander Valley goes way back to 1858 when Peter Young purchased a ranch there. It operated as a 201-acre prune ranch until 1963, when his grandson Robert Young was the first to plant cabernet sauvignon in Alexander Valley. Then in 1997, Robert’s son Peter Young founded the Robert Young Estate with the help of his three siblings, who all still run the business today. Visit the Scion House on their historic property in Geyserville and book The Scion Experience, which features tastings of their single-block reserve wines, including several 100 percent cabernets.

5102 Red Winery Road, Geyserville, CA 95441, (707) 431-4811

Alexander Valley Vineyards

Courtesy of Alexander Valley Vineyards

Alexander Valley Vineyards sits on the historic homestead of Cyrus Alexander, the founder of Alexander Valley in 1840 and the first to plant vines in the region. Harry and Maggie Wetzel purchased the Healdsburg property in 1962 and immediately began planting vineyards. Four generations later, the winery is still very much family-owned and operated. Alexander Valley Vineyards offers daily complimentary wine tastings – a true rarity these days – in addition to a complimentary cave tour and barrel tasting every day at 11am and 2pm. Also offered are more elevated tasting experiences available for purchase, like a vineyard hike and lunch.

8644 CA-128, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-7209

Jordan Vineyards & Winery

Chateau Block Vineyard Tasting, Courtesy of Facebook: Jordan Winery

Jordan Winery has historically made just two wines at its ivy-clad chateau since its inception in 1972: cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. Jordan is undeniably an icon of Alexander Valley cabernet and their newest tasting experience is the perfect way to dive deep into the region’s prized grape. The Chateau Block Vineyard Tasting takes place on a scenic hilltop vineyard overlooking the Alexander Valley mountains on Jordan’s 1,200-acre estate. You’ll learn first-hand why this terroir is suitable for premium cabernet and taste three vintages of Jordan cab that spans a decade, all paired with a charcuterie board curated by Healdsburg’s Journeyman Meat Co.

1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-5250

Silver Oak Cellars

Courtesy of Silver Oak

When an iconic Napa Valley cabernet producer opens up a second, state-of-the-art facility in Sonoma County, you take it seriously. Silver Oak Cellars opened their uber-sustainable Alexander Valley winery in 2018 – a net-zero energy, net-zero water winery with 2,500 rooftop solar panels that emit 105 percent of their energy needs – and the sole focus here is on the high-end production of cabernet sauvignon. Visit their glass-walled barn with panoramic views of 75 acres of estate cabernet vines and book the wine and food pairing featuring four wines with four bites.

7300 CA-128, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 942-7082

— Alexander Valley Undiscovered Wineries —

— Weekend Guide to Sonoma County’s Geyserville Wineries —

Author

Jess Lander

Jess Lander is a freelance wine, food and travel writer based in Napa Valley and exploring all things California wine country. Follow her on Instagram at @willwrite4wine to get Napa and Sonoma #travelinspo.


Alexander Valley

Located in the northern portion of Sonoma County, Alexander Valley covers 75,000 acres of terrain, 13,000 of which are currently planted with vines. The AVA is flanked by Dry Creek Valley to the west and Knights Valley to the east. The hillsides just northeast of Healdsburg block the coastal fogs that cover most of Sonoma County, which allows Alexander Valley to keep a little warmer than some of its neighbors. Meanwhile, gentle coastal breezes manage to find their way through crevasses between the hillsides to cool the region during the evening. Well-drained gravelly soils are the dominant soil type in the region.

Cabernet Sauvignon may very well have claimed Alexander Valley as its favorite American appellation outside of Napa County, as it produces ripe, extracted, chocolate-laced wines that many a wine geek has professed his or her love for. Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are also grown widely here, while Viognier, Pinot Blanc, Shiraz and Sangiovese are planted less exclusively.


Cabernet Sauvignon

The opinion of many is that 2015 was an excellent vintage, although drought conditions were all that was talked about for most of the year. Early dry conditions lead to an early bud break. The growing season was warm, dry and for most of the period, mild. It was the early bud break and relatively light crop that made 2015 one of the earliest harvests on record. It was certainly the earliest harvest for Trione as we began bringing in grapes for sparkling on August 12th and finished with the last of the Flatridge Zinfandel the first week of October.

Cases produced: 1,154 six-packs
Tasting Room Retail price: $69
Appellation: Alexander Valley

Winemaking

This wine is a classic Bordeaux blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, 8% Merlot and 2% each of Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot. The 2015 growing season was moderate, thus promoting slow ripening and full flavor development. We hand-harvested and fermented each variety separately, then moved the wines to barrel, where they aged twelve months. Once we determined our blend, we returned the wine to barrel for an additional twelve months, to ‘marry’ the varietals. We used tight grained French oak barrels (40% new) from coopers Quintessence, Sylvain and Bossuet.

Winemaker Tasting Notes

The Trione 2015 Block 21 Cabernet Sauvignon is reminiscent of a classic left bank Bordeaux, silky, Cab dominate but balanced, textured and lingering on the palate. Aromas and flavors of currants and black raspberry pie are in the mind and on the nose. This wine is age worthy and will continue to develop for the next 5-10 years.


12 Best Wineries for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

If you’re doing Napa Valley for the first time or the fifteenth, you’ll likely be tasting a lot of cabernet sauvignon during your visit. Cabernet is, after all, acknowledged as the king of red grapes in Napa, dominating 40% of the region’s total production. With a terroir perfectly suited for growing cabernet, Napa has certainly found its sweet spot with this much loved Bordeaux grape, and the results are powerful, deeply layered, and age-worthy wines showcasing notes of black fruit, violets, tobacco, and cedar, to name a few.

Of course, the sheer number of wineries in Napa featuring cabernet and cabernet blends is enough to overwhelm any wine taster, so where to start? To help guide you, we’ve put together a list of 12 of the most famous names in Napa cabernet welcoming visitors, along with a few lesser known wineries worth noting. Make some room in your cellar, because we have a feeling you’ll be going home with a few new bottles.


Courtesy of Peju Winery

Peju Winery
8466 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 963-3600

Founded by Tony Peju and his wife, Herta, in 1983, Peju (and its iconic 50-foot tower) has remained a fixture along the St. Helena Highway, where guests are welcomed to enjoy tastings while learning about Peju’s history, winemaking style, and wines. Their Rutherford cabernets tend to exhibit notes of cedar box, white pepper, cherry cola, and cocoa, enhanced by the prominent “Rutherford dust” character so typical of this region. Tastings take place in the lovely estate garden or Tower tasting room and include five wines, but for a more enhanced experience, opt for one of Peju’s culinary tasting experiences, such as the wine and food pairing or the private four course lunch enjoyed amidst the vines.

Courtesy of Louis M. Martini

Louis M. Martini Winery
254 St. Helena Highway South, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 968-3362

Louis M. Martini Winery was one of the first wineries in Napa Valley after Prohibition ended, founded in 1933 by Italian immigrant, Louis M. Martini, who went on to establish the winery as one of the foremost producers of cabernet sauvignon in Napa Valley. After completing an extensive renovation in 2019, Louis M. Martini Winery continues to offer world-class wine paired with welcoming hospitality, now in a stunning new visitor center with numerous indoor and outdoor tasting spaces. Since cabernet is the speciality, expect to taste a variety of cabernet-focused wines, each meticulously sourced from different blocks throughout Martini’s several estate vineyards.

Courtesy of Hewitt Vineyard

Hewitt Vineyard
1695 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA, (707) 968-3633

Single-vineyard cabernets are the name of the game at Hewitt Vineyard, where cabs are handcrafted to showcase the full expression of this Rutherford vineyard. Though it varies from vintage to vintage, the Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet tends to exude notes of black fruit, crème de cassis, black olive, and cocoa, and is regularly well reviewed by critics. In fact, the 2010 vintage was named #4 on the Top 100 Wines of 2013 by Wine Spectator, so you know they’re doing something right. To experience the wines yourself, head to sister winery, Provenance Vineyards, where private tastings include a selection of both library and current release vintages.

Courtesy of Crosby Roamann

Crosby Roamann
45 Enterprise Ct. #5, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 258-8599

Crosby Roamann is owned by Sean and Juliana McBride, who started their label in 2007 with one barrel of cabernet. Since then, the husband-and-wife duo have taken a minimally invasive approach to winemaking, ensuring every effort is made to craft wines with a true sense of place. Though they produce a few different varietals, such as merlot, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc, Crosby Roamann is most known for its Reserve Cabernet. Using fruit sourced from Harmony School Vineyard in Coombsville, this limited-production cabernet is pressed entirely by hand (in an old hand-crank press) and spends 24 months in new French oak. The resulting wine shows notes of fresh raspberry, cassis, vanilla, spice, and coffee. Head to their industrial chic winery, located in Napa’s Crusher District just a few minutes from downtown, to enjoy a private tour, a tasting of current releases, and even samples straight from the barrel.

Courtesy of HALL

HALL Napa Valley
401 St. Helena Highway South, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-262

Owned by Kathryn and Craig Hall, HALL has built a reputation for its Bordeaux varietals, made from grapes sourced from Hall’s 500 acres of estate vineyards and from other esteemed vineyards throughout Napa Valley. Their selection of cabernet wines are much loved by critics and wine lovers alike, regularly striking the perfect balance of ripe fruit, earth, and savory characters. Tasters have not one but two wineries to choose from, thanks to tasting rooms in both St. Helena and Rutherford. The most known of the two is HALL St. Helena, California’s first LEED® Gold Certified winery, which features a one-of-a-kind Bunny Foo-Foo statue, along with over 35 pieces of contemporary art, an expansive lawn, and modern architectural details.

Courtesy of Pine Ridge Vineyards

Pine Ridge Vineyards
5901 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 252-9777

Founded in 1978 by Gary Andrus, Pine Ridge Vineyards is located in the heart of the Stags Leap District, recognized for producing distinct and powerful cabernet sauvignon wines. Sourcing grapes from their 160 acres of Napa Green certified estate vineyards, spread throughout five appellations in Napa Valley, Pine Ridge crafts wine to express the special nuances of each individual site. Their flagship wine, FORTIS Cabernet Sauvignon, represents the best blocks of the vineyards and is characterized by its complex fruit flavors, plush mouthfeel, and age-worthy structure. Named one of the 75 Best Wineries to Visit in California by Food & Wine, visitors can choose from the 60-minute Estate Tasting featuring five current release wines, or the FORTIS vertical experience offering a deep dive into this iconic wine over the years.

Courtesy of Stags’ Leap Winery

Stags’ Leap Winery
6150 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 257-5790

As one of California’s earliest wine estates, Stags’ Leap Winery has long been a fixture in the famed Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. First established in 1893, the storied estate is dripping in history, including the castle-like Manor House, constructed in 1890 from stone quarried in a nearby hillside, and the “old stone cellar” surrounding the cave. Most of the 85 acres of estate vines are planted to cabernet, petit sirah, and merlot, which thrive in this region. Their flagship wine, The Leap, is a classically styled cabernet filled with rich layers of cassis, blackberry, baking spices, and chocolate, with a smooth, lithe texture. If the higher end bottlings are out of your price range, try Stags’ Leap Napa Valley Cabernet, an approachable (and more affordably priced) alternative.

Courtesy of Round Pond

Round Pond Estate
875 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 302-2575

Owned by the MacDonnell family, Round Pond Estate is a respected producer of Napa Valley wines, particularly cabernet sauvignon, as well as world-class olive oil and vinegars from their beautiful estate in Napa Valley’s Rutherford AVA. Known for their depth and expressive character, Round Pond’s cabernets range in profile, from the Old World meets New World Rutherford Estate Cabernet to the finessed and age-worthy Louis Bovet Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Guided tastings range in price and focus, depending on interest, but if cabernet is what you’re after, the 90-minute Gravel Series Tasting, featuring current and library releases of this highly allocated cabernet, is not to be missed. Also worth mentioning: a portion of proceeds from all Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon sold during the month of November will be donated in honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

Courtesy of Larkmead Vineyards

Larkmead Vineyards
1100 Larkmead Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-0167

The 110-acre Larkmead estate is one of the oldest family-owned properties in the Napa Valley, originally founded in 1895. Since purchasing the property in 1992, Cam and Kate Solari Baker have transformed Larkmead into the reputable winery it is today and, along with winemaker Dan Petroski, they continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible from this estate. A visit to this picturesque winery includes a personalized tasting experience tailored to each guest, taking place on the serene covered patio looking out over the lushly landscaped grounds and surrounding vineyards. While Larkmead’s portfolio of wines is diverse, their cabernets are sure to impress. Revealing black fruit, savory herbs, and crushed rock nuances, these thoughtfully crafted cabs are powerful, yet restrained, and entirely elegant.

Courtesy of Mira Winery

Mira Winery
6170 Washington Street, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 945-0881

Since their first vintage in 2009, Mira Winery has set out to produce handcrafted single-vineyard, single-varietal wines made from select sites in Napa Valley. With a minimalist approach to winemaking, proprietor Jim Dyke, Jr. and winemaker/co-founder Gustavo A. Gonzalez produce a limited amount of highly allocated wines, such as the seductive Mira Schweizer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, each crafted with ageability in mind. At their new Winery & Hospitality House, located just south of Yountville, a guided tour and tasting is the best way to see first-hand the meticulous thought and planning that went into making Mira what it is today.

Courtesy of Facebook: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
5766 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 261-6410

Not to be confused with neighboring Stags’ Leap Winery, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is another well-known Napa Valley winery lauded for its stellar cabernet wines. In fact, this notable winery, founded in 1970, helped make a name for California cabernet when it beat out its French counterparts in the famous blind tasting known as the 1976 Judgment of Paris. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ highly rated cabs, such as the Cask 23, tend to find a nice balance between rich fruit and savory notes, revealing luscious texture and length on the finish. Tours and tastings are offered daily at this beautiful winery, along with a selection of more elevated, culinary-focused experiences to note.

Courtesy of Nickel & Nickel

Nickel & Nickel
8164 St. Helena Highway, Oakville, CA 94562, (707) 967-9600

Single vineyard, 100% varietal wines are the focus at Nickel & Nickel, from chardonnay to merlot, but cabernet sauvignon remains the winery’s first love and continued inspiration. Hailing from vineyards as far north as Calistoga and Howell Mountain to the Oak Knoll District further south, each of Nickel & Nickel’s cabernet wines showcase the various nuances of each vintage and vineyard, whether subtle or more apparent. Though it’ll cost you a pretty penny — $150 per person to be exact — Nickel & Nickel’s Terroir Tasting is a must for serious cabernet fans, offering the rare chance to explore eight of the winery’s 100% cabernet sauvignons in a north-to-south comparative tasting.


Accolades

"Aged in stainless on lees, this brisk white offers aromas of lime and nettle. Grapefruit zest, orange cream and sage move into a more floral tone mid-way, with lemon blossom and a touch of salinity of the finish."

2019 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast

2019 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, Sweepstakes White, Sonoma County Harvest Fair

2018 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, Double Gold, SF Chronicle Wine Competition

2017 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 90 Points, Wine Spectator

"Vibrant and expressive, with a juicy mouthful of papaya, lemongrass and Meyer lemon flavors that sing in harmony, set on a light and refreshing frame. The intensity never falters through the finish. Drink now."

2017 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, Best Sauvignon Blanc of 2018, Tom Simoneau's Wines of the Year 2018

2016 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, Sweepstakes White, SF Chronicle Wine Competition

2015 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, Best of Class, SF Chronicle Wine Competition

2015 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 94 Points, Gold, Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge

2013 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 90 Points, Wine & Spirits

2012 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 93 Points, Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge

“This Sauvignon Blanc has it all – a range of tasty flavors, bright acid and great balance. Note of guava, grapefruit and lime, with the right dose of spice. Nice finish. A smart buy.” – Press Democrat

2010 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 90 Points, Year’s Best Sauvignon Blanc, Wine & Spirits

2008 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 90 Points, Wine & Spirits

2007 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 92 Points, Wine & Spirits

2006 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, 93 Points, Wine & Spirits

HANNA Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, three-time Sweepstakes Winner, Sonoma County Harvest Fair

2019 HANNA Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Gold Medal, Sonoma County Harvest Fair

2018 HANNA Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Double Gold, SF Chronicle Wine Competition

2016 HANNA Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Double Gold, SF Chronicle Wine Competition

2015 HANNA Elias Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 93 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

“Full-bodied and opulently fruited with loads of tropical fruits and spice notions packaged in a creamy texture and with great freshness, it finishes on a lingering honey-nut note.”

2015 HANNA Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Gold, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2012 HANNA Elias Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 89 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2012 HANNA Elias Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Double Gold, San Francisco Wine Competition

2006 HANNA Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 92 Points, Wine Enthusiast

2019 HANNA Colombard, Russian River Valley, Gold Medal, Sonoma County Harvest Fair

2015 HANNA Elias Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 93 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2013 HANNA Elias Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 91 Points, Robert Parker,Wine Advocate

“It boasts a surprisingly deep ruby/purple color, lots of spicy black cherry fruit, medium to full body, and lovely texture as well as length. It is another excellent wine from HANNA. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.”

2016 HANNA Bismark Mountain Zinfandel, Moon Mountain District, 92 Points, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

2015 HANNA Bismark Mountain Zinfandel, Moon Mountain District, 92 Points, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

2014 HANNA Bismark Zinfandel, Moon Mountain District, 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast

“A huge, concentrated wine, this offers all the characteristic ripeness and big flavor in the variety, from brown sugar to baked plum to vanilla to tar. Almost reaching Port-like proportions in terms of alcohol and weight, it pulls back just enough to reveal spicy black pepper and cinnamon on the finish.”

2013 HANNA Bismark Mountain Zinfandel, Double Gold, San Francisco Wine Competition

CABERNET SAUVIGNON

2017 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Double Gold Medal, SF Chronicle Wine Competition

2015 HANNA Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 90+ Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2015 HANNA Bismark Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Moon Mountain District, 91 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2015 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Double Gold, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, 91 Points, Wine & Spirits

2014 HANNA Bismark Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Moon Mountain District, 90 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Spectator

"Supple and perfumed, with black licorice, lavender, plum, and loamy earth flavors. Very complete, focused and persistent. Drink now through 2028."

2014 HANNA Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 91+ Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2014 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 93 Points, The Tasting Panel

2014 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Double Gold, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2013 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Gold, SF Chronicle Wine Competition

2013 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Gold, Sunset International Wine Competition

2013 HANNA Bismark Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Moon Mountain District, 93 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2013 HANNA Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 94+ Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2013 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 88 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2013 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Gold Medal, Sonoma County Harvest Fair

2012 HANNA Bismark Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Moon Mountain District, 92+ Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

“An outstanding Cabernet, it is young and promising with plenty of blueberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with notions of incense, camphor and spring flowers. Full-bodies with sweet tannin, there is not a hard edge to be found in this concentrated, full-bodied, impressive Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s accessible enough to be drunk now if you like your fruit rather primary, but will age effortlessly for two decades.”

2012 HANNA Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Robert Parker, 88 Points, Wine Advocate

2012 HANNA Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Gold Medal, San Francisco Wine Competition

1999 HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, 92 Points, Wine Spectator

2015 HANNA Reserve Malbec, Alexander Valley, 93+ Points, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

"Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Malbec Reserve offers a profound nose of crushed black cherries, black plums, blueberries and spice box with suggestions of potpourri and tilled earth. Big, rich, full-bodied and plushly textured, it finishes long with wonderful purity and depth."

2014 HANNA Reserve Malbec, Alexander Valley, 90 Points, Wine Advocate

2013 HANNA Malbec, Alexander Valley, Gold Medal, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2013 HANNA Reserve Merlot, Alexander Valley, Double Gold, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

SAINT MACAIRE

2015 HANNA Saint Macaire, Alexander Valley, 95 Points, The Tasting Panel

2015 HANNA Reserve Alexander Valley Alchimie, 91 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2014 HANNA Bismark Mountain Titan, Moon Mountain District, 92+ Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2013 HANNA Bismark Mountain Titan, Moon Mountain District, 91 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

“The 2013 Red Blend Titan, which comes from the Bismark Mountain Vineyard within the relatively recent Moon Mountain AVA, is a blend of 65% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Franc, 13% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a showy, extroverted style of wine with an inky bluish/purple color, notes of blueberry, coffee, pen ink and flowers, medium to full body, supple tannins, and an attractive texture and length. This is an intriguing blend, and Hanna has certainly gotten it right. Drink it over the next 12-15 years.”

2013 HANNA Reserve Alexander Valley Alchimie, 89 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

2012 HANNA Reserve Alchimie, Alexander Valley, 93 Points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

“Another beauty, it offers blueberry, black raspberry and cassis fruit in its exuberant personality along with beautiful purity, plenty of body and richness, and a heady finish. Purity, depth and ripeness make for a wine to drink now as well as over the next decade or more. This is a winner!”


Hanna Reserve

Our Reserve tier is the best of the best from our Alexander Valley Red Ranch. Only select rows from select blocks make it into our HANNA Reserve, and then only if those lots make the winemaker&rsquos final cut. With production at under 500 cases for each wine, these are truly artisanal wines. Reserve Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, and our Bordeaux blend Alchimie make up this tier.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

93-Points, 2012 HANNA Reserve Alexander Valley Alchimie

Another beauty, it offers blueberry, black raspberry and cassis fruit in its exuberant personality along with beautiful purity, plenty of body and richness, and a heady finish. Purity, depth and ripeness make for a wine to drink now as well as over the next decade or more. This is a winner!


The Trione Story

Three generations, four decades, five ranches — our family is deeply rooted in the Sonoma County wine industry. Dedicated farmers for forty years, brothers Mark and Vic Trione own and cultivate close to 600 vineyard acres in three prime Sonoma County appellations: Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Coast.

During 2005 a new chapter took root: Trione Vineyards and Winery. Our family built a winery on our Home Ranch in Alexander Valley and appointed Scot Covington winemaker. Scot made Trione 2005, 2006 and 2007 vintages in a custom crush facility the winery construction completed in time to receive the 2008 harvest.

Living a winemaker’s dream, Scot selects just three percent of the Trione estate grapes and crafts small lots of wine in his customized “studio”. Scot’s goal: make wines that express the highest level of quality across all varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Primitivo and Zinfandel.

And winery operations are a family affair. Mark Trione is President, Vic is Vice President, Mark’s daughter Denise is the Director of Sales and Marketing, and her husband, Kris Hicks, is Vineyard Operations Manager. Vic’s son, Henry, has joined the team as a sales representative for Marin and Sacramento.

Trione winery is located next to a 1908 landmark stone building at the Home Ranch in Alexander Valley. Respecting history and tradition, our family restored the Old Stone Building, preserving the history and authentic character. The storied building, carefully erected to be earthquake-proof, features the area’s first concrete floor and magnificent Douglas fir beams. It now serves as the winery’s venue for events. Trione treasures its local history and was able to retain the original bond number, 350, that was given to its predecessor, Nervo Winery. The authentic building is an intriguing stop for wine tourists eager for a taste of Sonoma County history and the wines that have earned the Trione name.

Now an event center, it is available for private parties and events. Visitors can enjoy bocce, picnics, food and wine events, and impeccable hospitality along with their wines. Guests often join the Estate Guild wine club, so they can return and bring their families for Trione’s ultimate VIP experience.


SAUVIGNON BLANC

Sauvignon Blanc has one of the wine world&aposs strongest personalities. Bold and pungent, it can exude notes of everything from grassy herbaceousness to flint and honeysuckle. However unsubtle they may be, California Sauvignons have several virtues: They cost less than Chardonnays of similar quality, and with their vibrant acidity, they&aposre more versatile with food.

Some of the best Sauvignon Blancs coming out of California these days look to the wines of New Zealand for stylistic inspiration

2015 Voss Vineyards Napa Valley ($20) Voss sources their fruit exculsivly from a single, organic vineyard in Yountville, organically farmed since 1986. These Sauvignon Blanc specialists prefer to pick their fruit early, achieving a lower alcohol wine with vibrant aromas.

2015 Hanna Estate Russian River Valley ($17) Cardiac surgeon Elias Hanna started this estate in 1985 with 12 acres, which have since grown to 600 (230 planted to vines). Brisk and straightforward, this Sauvignon Blanc is a bit rich, with flavors of lemongrass and citrus.

2014 Flora Springs Soliloquy Oakville ($23) The Sauvignon Musqué clone used in this Napa wine can produce a white that evokes Bordeaux. Winemaker Paul Steinauer captures the creamy, melony side of the varietal while retaining its telltale tanginess.

2015 St. Supéry Napa Valley ($18) This textbook Sauvignon never sees oak, keeping its lime and grapefruit flavors as pure as fresh fruit.

2015 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley ($27) Duckhorn has made its name with Merlot, but its Sauvignon Blanc has a cult following too. Winemaker Renພ Ary blended in 21 percent Semillon with its Sauvignon Blanc, giving the wine a rich lemon-melon character.

2013 Selene Hyde Vineyard Carneros ($25) The highly regarded winemaker Mia Klein sources the grapes for this white from the famous Hyde Vineyard and leaves the wine on its lees until bottling, producing a complex, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc with notes of peach and grapefruit.

2015 Spottswoode North Coast ($38) This winery is devoted to two wines: Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc. Winemaker, Aron Weinkauf, creates an impressive fresh, complex wine with the ability to age.

2014 Araujo Estate Eisele Vineyard Napa Valley ($96) This Napa cult Cab producer makes a benchmark Sauvignon Blanc from its famed Eisele estate. It&aposs an opulently textured, mango- and apricot-scented wine with a mineral finish.

2014 Peter Michael Winery L&aposAprès-Midi Knights Valley ($59) This is a very concentrated but balanced wine from the Knights Valley region (the Sonoma side of Mount St. Helena). It&aposs a barrel-fermented wine that wears its relatively high alcohol wonderfully well.


Watch the video: 2009 Rodney Strong Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County (October 2021).