Our Russian River Valley vineyards are situated on low hills on either side of the river, which meanders through western Sonoma County until it empties into the ocean at Jenner.
Russian River vineyards are often cloaked in cool fog, which provides our Chardonnay with delicious lemony fruit and our Pinot Noir with blackberry-like flavors. We also obtain Syrah, Petit Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Russian River American Viticultural Area (AVA).
Alexander Valley is the northernmost AVA in Sonoma County. It begins just south of Mendocino County as the Russian River courses through a steep gorge, and later empties out into the floor of Alexander Valley.
Perhaps because the Russian River has its flood plain here, the soil is exceptionally well drained and alluvial. The weather is also HOT - it can be 20F hotter in Geyserville than Healdsburg in high summer, though they're only five miles apart.
Our vineyards here yield intense, opulent Cabernet Sauvignon typified by soft tannins and notes of chocolate. We also harvest Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel here, each of which tends to be intense, extracted and delicious.
There may only be a 600-foot ridge separating Alexander Valley from Dry Creek Valley to the west, but this AVA is virtually synonymous with Zinfandel while Alexander Valley is more frequently associated with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Banked by 1,500-foot hillsides with a flat, narrow floor in between them, Dry Creek is known for dry-farmed, ancient, gnarly Zinfandel vines. Our vineyards here sit on the steep hillsides and must struggle to bear fruit. That's exactly why their grapes are so concentrated.
This is one AVA where microclimates, and even which hillside (east or west), dramatically influence the flavor of the grapes. Western hillside vineyards yield fruit that is characteristically a bit lighter and elegant than the powerhouse, jammy Zins grown on the eastern hillside. Nonetheless, both sides are of extreme quality. The warm upper third of the floor of Dry Creek Valley produces our formidable Cabernet, Syrah and Petit Sirah.