...scents of kirsch, chocolate and baked blackcurrants with notes of cedar, dried herbs, wet earth and tobacco. Medium to full-bodied, the palate gives up lush black fruits, chewy tannins and good freshness on the finish.
Alexander Valley Vineyards began its life as a commercial winery in 1975 when Hank and Linda Wetzel produced their first wines from grapes grown on the family estate. Hank’s parents Harry and Maggie Wetzel had purchased the historic Cyrus Alexander property in 1961 and by the mid-1960s they were growing grapes. Today the estate includes 700 acres along Highway 128, with vineyards on both sides of the Russian River and near the Mayacamas Mountains. A third generation of Wetzels runs the winery along with their parents. Kevin Hall is winemaker. Alexander Valley Vineyards produces a large portfolio of red and white wines under several labels.
Alexander Valley is an American Viticultural Area just north of Healdsburg, in Sonoma County. It was granted AVA status in 1984, with amendments made in subsequent years. The Russian River flows through the valley, and the region was named for Cyrus Alexander, a 19th century landowner and grape grower. The AVA includes 15,000 vineyard acres, much of it rich, alluvial soil layered on a bed of gravel, somewhat similar to many vineyards in Bordeaux. Alexander Valley is sheltered from marine weather by the low hills northeast of Healdsburg, though it is often shrouded in the morning fog coming off the Russian River. Some of the earliest commercial winemaking in the area started in the 1880s, when immigrants formed the Italian Swiss Colony cooperative at Asti. The region made jug wines until the 1960s and 1970s, when a new wave of quality-minded producers started estates. Today Alexander Valley is home to some of California’s most admired wineries, including Simi, Stonestreet and the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Silver Oak Cellars, though based in Napa Valley, has a second winery in Alexander Valley where it makes Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Many grapes do well in the Alexander Valley, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.