May 2, 2018
by John Haggard, Sophie's Cellars
One of my favorite pleasures is to tour a vineyard I’m unfamiliar with and especially one with so much history, and in this case, it was courtesy of the Guadagni family.
The Guadagni family vineyards are in Dry Creek Valley, skirting dry creek road and backing to Dry Creek with the Yoakim bridge at one edge of the property. At the front of the property are the old vine head-pruned Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and towards the back are the younger vines, the merlot. The family served perfect home-made pairings with each of the three wines we tasted. I tasted their Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and an Old Vine Petite Sirah. I especially enjoyed the old vine
petite Sirah as I found the dark fruit to be quite juicy with black fruit characteristics. I learn so much more speaking to grape-growers in their vineyards and I got that opportunity to speak with Bill’s father, Don in the Cabernet vineyard as they were performing needed maintenance on the cabernet sauvignon.
I also especially enjoyed the “Marble Cliffs” Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Marble Cliffs is a second label for Guadagni Family Wines. The palate is grapefruit and lemon rind, some lime flavors and herbaceous floral notes. There is also a subtle taste of lemon custard. Balanced acids and mineral throughout the palate. A delicious sipping wine and even food wine if paired with dishes such as smoked salmon (lox), fresh seafood, light salads and only 25 cases produced. With production this low, the best way to get two bottles for yourself is to contact the winery directly as they will be selling this wine through their wine club. Enjoy now through 2019.
The Guadagni family are also working towards building a new tasting room which they hope to be open in 2019. While the tasting room will be “new”, the vineyards certainly are not. The current winemaker, Bill Guadagni with his BS in Enology has only recently started winemaking fulltime for his family, but winemaking is something very much in his blood…
Bill’s great-grandfather, Raffaelo Guadagni, immigrated from Florence, Italy in 1896 and settled in Dry Creek, realizing that the climate was so similar to the Mediterranean climate he had left and would be perfect for growing grapes. In 1898, Raffaelo began ploughing land and farming grapes using his knowledge of “dry farming” from the old country. The Guadagni family still farms all their old vine Zinfandel vineyards with the exact same dry farming methods that Raffaelo passed along to his children, and ultimately, now to his grandchildren. The family farms three blocks of old vine zinfandel, two of these were planted before the Prohibition, and the youngest was planted by Bill’s grandfather in 1955. Also on the family estate are vineyards of
Petite Sirah, an older block of cabernet sauvignon and what could be considered a more recent Merlot vineyard.
Many prestigious wineries have been purchasing grapes grown by the Guadagni family for years blended or sometimes produced as vineyard designates with the Guadagni Family Vineyard on the label -- so these dry-farmed and well-tended vineyards have been producing sought-after fruit for much of the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries. Now you can have the opportunity to purchase wines under the Guadagni Family Wines label, with upcoming vintages being produced by Bill. For more information on Guadagni Family Wines, visit guadagnifamilywines.com.
Wineroad is hosting the first ever “Esprit du Rhône” - a weekend celebrating the spirit of the Rhône. There are wine tastings and live music taking place on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19.
In France, Rhone varietals are often blended in such wines as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Here in Sonoma County, we often produce Rhone varietal wines as stand-alone varietals, such as Syrah – and we do make some phenomenal syrahs. The events take place in Healdsburg and also throughout Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.
For more information visit www.wineroad.com
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