On a trip to Northern California recently, we had a chance to swing by one of our featured wines for a tasting and tour. The staff at Stuhlmuller Vineyards graciously offered a remarkable flight of wine tasting before showing us around the property. It was a trip highlight. The vineyards were originally planted around the year 1900, but prohibition took its toll and the vines were replaced by orchards and cattle. Today, the plants once again meander over the hillsides, spanning 150 acres and dating back to the 1970s.
Despite a high pedigree of grapes, it wasn’t until 1996 that the family turned to wine making themselves. By 2000, they had an estate grown vintage and a reputation as wonderful vintners to go with their cultivation renown. They are located a short distance from the Russian River, in a picturesque red barn cradled between rows of their expansive property. We had a chance to view their cask aging process, and to climb atop the shining grape pressers for a view of the Alexander Valley. Don’t worry, it wasn’t time to start the process of wine making, so we didn’t meddle with their refined process despite the calls to imitate I Love Lucy.
The wine tasting itself was sublime. We starting with several vintages of Chardonnay before moving on to Zins and a few Cabernet Sauvignons. Each was remarkable and unique, with one member of our party declaring that she will only be drinking Zins from now on! To cap it off, a sweet and smooth port to ease our minds before a picnic (with more wine) amidst the vine stalks. It was a lovely afternoon with lovely people and a lovely view. I don’t think I could pick an absolute favorite, but certainly the ‘Block 11 North’ Cabernet Sauvignon holds a warm place in my heart.