Hartford Family Winery is in the Russian River region of Sonoma County. It was founded in 1993 by Don and Jennifer Hartford. Don is a lawyer and Jennifer is the daughter of Jess Jackson of Kendall-Jackson winery. Jeff Stewart is winemaker. Stewart worked for numerous California producers, including La Crema and Buena Vista Carneros, before joining Hartford. The estate focuses on single vineyard and limited bottlings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and old vine Zinfandel. Robert M. Parker Jr. writes that Hartford wines “are thrilling, single-vineyard efforts that possess extraordinary character, personality, and pleasure-giving characteristics.”
Sonoma Coast AVA runs from San Pablo Bay in the south to Mendocino County in the north. It includes 7,000 vineyard acres and earned AVA status in 1987. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean means it gets double the rainfall of nearby inland appellations and the ocean gives the appellation a relatively cool climate. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can thrive in these conditions, and there are numerous producers making critically acclaimed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.