The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

WINE BANTER - By John Haggard - January 2016


WINE BANTER - By John Haggard - January 2016

by John Haggard
Some Wines for Winter-time

Friedeman Chardonnay Lancel Creek Vineyard Russian River Valley 2013 ~ The newly released chardonnay from Friedeman wines exudes a lemon-curd nose with honey-suckle and toasted almond. The palate is rich in acidities, pineapple, hints of coconut and bright racey acidity. Fermented in French oak with 100% fermentation. This wine has the capacity to age for four years and is also going to be an excellent food compatible wine. The richer the seafood, such as scallops, salmon, the better. For more information on Friedeman Wines, visit

Paul Mathew Cabernet Franc Russian River Valley Allegria Vineyard Russian River Valley 2014 ~ The tannins of the Paul Mathew Cabernet Franc have dry red plumb skin with hints of red licorice. Flavors are of tart raspberry, green papaya and burned orange rind. As this is a recently released vintage, time will reward those who are willing to allow the wine to age for several more months, this wine will age still further for three more years. If pairing with food, use these flavors to your advantage and pair with sweet and or hot foods – Thai food would be great, Chinese food with a little bit of chile flake. For more information on Paul Mathew Vineyards, visit:

Gustafson Cabernet Sauvignon Watchtower Vineyard Dry Creek Valley 2011 ~ The nose of this Cabernet Sauvignon is filled with beetroot, blackberry jam and, raspberry and spice. Flavors are tangy, earthy and herbal throughout the palate. Spices of cardamom along with ample cedar fill the palate. When pairing the 2011 vintage, red meat, game, venison, lamb or duck are in order. Decant for 45 minutes. Enjoy now through 2017. For more information on Gustafson Family Vineyards, visit

Thumbprint Cabernet Sauvignon Lisa’s Vineyard Top Block Knight’s Valley 2012 ~  Sweet tobacco, spice and berries comingle in what is, perhaps, the best Cabernet Sauvignon ever produced by Thumbprint Cellars. Black cherries and brambly blackberry finishing out with an earthy mushroom forest floor finish, with the capacity to age easily for several years. Food pairings are going to be abundant as this is a perfect pairing for any red meat such as prime rib, standing rib roast or tri-tip. For more information on Thumbprint Cellars, visit

Krohn Ports ~  The winter time is always a good time to finish a dinner or sit around the fire and enjoy a late harvest wine or port. They also pair well with chocolate, coffee, espresso and cappuccino. Krohn, which is a Portuguese port house, produces a variety of ports from ruby to late bottled vintage, vintage and tawny, each of which stands on its own and is entirely different to the other. The ruby provides ample black fruit flavors, the late bottled vintage exhibits red fruit, red licorice, black licorice and spice. The tawnies are cask-aged and duly note the years they have been aged in cask. All these ports are a wonderful winter-time beverage next to the fire.

Winter Wineland, January 16 - 17, 11am - 4pm each day ~ It’s the 24 Annual Winter WINEland. This is a great opportunity to meet winemakers, taste limited production wines, new releases or library wines. All wineries will have something on SALE for the weekend! Some wineries will offer food pairings and others will have tours. Download the program to see what each winery will offer for the weekend. Ticket price includes wine tasting. NEW this year - WineRoad will also be hosting a Breakfast with the Winemaker on Saturday Jan. 16 from 9:00-10:30. Winter WINEland does not take place at one location, you travel from winery to winery, visiting the ones you are interested in exploring. All Wine Road events are for adults only… NO ONE under the age of 21 is allowed to attend.

John Haggard is owner of Sophie’s Cellars, Sonoma Wine Tasting in Duncans Mills, California. Sophie’s Cellars is open Thu, Sat, Sun and Mon: 11am – 5pm, Fri:  11am-7pm (Local’s Night, Friday, 4-7pm, and you don’t have to be a local to join us).