Photo by George Rose
The valley named for pioneer Cyrus Alexander flanks the straight southwest flowing, eminently canoe-able stretch of the Russian River from Cloverdale to Healdsburg. Here, along heavily graveled benchlands grows Cabernet Sauvignon so innately soft, fluid and welcoming that it rarely requires the softening admixture of Merlot, a variety often employed to tame the rough tannins usually associated with the Cabernet.
Forty years ago, prunes and walnuts held sway in Alexander Valley, and the flatlands were dotted with bovine herds. Today, the lowlands produce Chardonnays that achieve a flavorful ripeness, with rich, long textures that incite glorious dining. Nothing wrong with that. The warmer northern end of the valley favors Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and newcomers like the French Syrah and Italian Sangiovese. Vineyards that scale the hillsides surrounding the valley floor provide rich and complex flavors. Hunt around, and you can still find some of the juiciest, most succulent prunes you’ve ever tasted.
Visit http://alexandervalley.org/ for more information.