Photo by George Rose
Thousands of years ago, the Russian River traversed Alexander Valley, continued through Knights and Napa Valleys, finally emptying into the sea somewhere near present day Monterey. An ancient eruption of Mt. St. Helena–which continues to have a profound influence on Knights Valley’s vinous sense of place–pushed the course of the Russian River west at Healdsburg, altering the landscape. Protected from direct Pacific influence, Knights Valley is the warmest of the county’s Viticultural Areas. Thus you see the excellence of Sauvignon Blanc in its ripest exposition, showing full fig and melon fruit. Then, too, there are the Bordeaux Meritage varieties–Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot–in all their various and distinct combinations. These are richly-fruited beauties, with plenty of cassis and tobacco, with cedary hints and the rich chocolate notes of perfectly mature warm climate grapes. The climate is ideal for vegetable “truck” gardens that supply the finest restaurants throughout wine country. Renowned cattle ranchers provide succulent Black Angus beef to match the rich reds this region is best known for.
Follow several Sonoma County growers and winemakers through a typical winemaking season. Get a glimpse into the process behind making some of the world’s finest wines.