woman on wine with amy reiley
One of Sonoma County’s most popular destinations, Healdsburg is a town built for walking. Its primary shopping district is built around a square that has remained surprisingly idyllic despite a recent influx of both tourists and residents. When I started visiting Healdsburg, it was considered a perfect jumping off point for visiting the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. (I, in fact, started my wine career at one of Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Valley wineries.)
But now you don’t even have to own a car to experience Healdsburg’s acclaimed wineries. All you need is a couple of legs and the sense to look both ways before crossing the street. Best of all is the range of wines you can find within a four-block radius. Here’s just a small sampling of the treasures this tiny town has to offer:
Surprisingly pretty and restrained, this Gewurz is more Alsace than California. Bright and delightfully dry, it has a lovely melon note that carries through from the aromas to the palate. Floral notes on the nose and minerality on the finish round out what’s a really nice interpretation of this cool climate grape.
I’ve long been a fan of Hawley’s Viognier. Its sweet citrus acidity is that of fresh tangerines and mandarins. The 2011 is delightfully floral, almost like a bouquet of wildflowers. The wine is fermented in neutral oak, giving it body without the oak flavor that can distort Viognier’s delicate, ladylike character.
2009 Three Some
Of course I would find innuendo even in quaint little Healdsburg. The wine is, as you might guess, a blend of three grapes (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc). Layered with flavors of ripe berry, Eastern spices and oak, it’s a wine that will keep the palate entertained. It may even lead to a long night of passion.
An Italian clone (or perhaps more accurately a close copy) of Zinfandel, Primitivos tend to be big, juicy red wines. This Primitivo does not disappoint with its big, bright blackberry aromas and flavors. It definitely would make a nice souvenir—and one that would work well with a nice summer barbeque.
No 69 Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rose
A racy bottle of bubbly from France is somehow just the thing to round out the eclectic experience of tasting Healdsburg’s finest. A vibrant mouthful of sweet raspberries is rounded out with citrus acidity to form a tasting experience that is fresh and so satisfying.
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