Our final day was spent in the famous Russian River Valley. Despite being renowned for top class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, there are numerous microclimates and terroir diversities that permit a wide range of grapes to thrive. First stop was to the wonderful Bacigalupi Vineyards where twin sisters Nicole and Katie hosted a fabulous visit and tasting. Their grandparents were responsible for selling the Chardonnay fruit to Chateau Montelena for the 1973 vintage that won the 1976 Judgement of Paris. We took a drive up to this hallowed vineyard site and admired the historic gnarly old vines as well as the amazing view. We then tasted through the range of quite stunning wines sitting outside in glorious sunshine in a secluded spot under a large oak tree. Divine!
From Bacigalupi, we took a short drive into the outskirts of Healdsburg and the prestigious estate of Seghesio. I have been dealing with their wines for a number of years and Camille Seghesio gave the Richmond Wine Society a couple of fabulous tastings a few years back.
Again enjoying the sunshine, we tasted outside and went through a fascinating selection of Zinfandels which showed their ability to age; their limited edition, Cabernet dominated Omaggio and their utterly sublime Chianti Station – made from very old Sangiovese vines. We washed down the rest of the tasting bottles with lunch in their garden.
Yet there was still time for one final visit! An industrial estate on the outskirts of Santa Rosa may not conjure up quite the image you expect but this is where we find Jon Philips of Inspiration Vineyards and Winery. Jon owns a winery that fits into an industrial unit and rents out space and winery equipment to a number of other producers. This gives people the chance to follow their dream of making wine without the capital expenditure of kit and vineyards. Jon was very engaging and gave a different insight and perspective into the wine industry. His wines were excellent and we were recipients of some juicy insider gossip. But, as always, what goes on tour stays on tour.
Our final night dinner at Della Santinas Italian restaurant was a fun finish to another great tour.