When the grape leaves turn shades of vibrant reds and yellows and the summer weather cools to fall, it is time to retire the Rosé and bring out the reds.
Every region in our robust wine country has something tasty to offer and it is often hard to pick just a handful, but here are a few blends that we plan on enjoying this season. Not only do we find these blends to be a nice opener to the traditional winter holiday Zins and Cabs but two of these wines stand for a good cause.
Colby Red Wine
$10.99, 13.9% alcohol
This wine was inspired by and named for Colby Groom of Healdsburg, who had back-to-back heart surgeries before his 10th birthday. Colby’s dad, renowned Australian and Californian winemaker Daryl Groom, created the smooth, rich blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Petit Sirah and Merlot. The wine’s a real crowd-pleaser, and its sales have raised $550,000 for charities that promote heart health. “As a winemaker you blend wine to make the wine taste good and to make a better wine. You can’t help getting a wonderful feeling when you’re blending something that’s raising a lot of money for needy charities, needy families and kids suffering form heart disease,” he said. Today Colby’s a confident 16-year-old on a mission, flying across the country on behalf of the brand, helping children and families envision a brighter future. Buy online at colbyred.com; also distributed locally with Truett-Hurst Inc.
Dutcher Crossing Winery
2012 Winemaker’s Cellar Kupferschmid Red
Dry Creek Valley
$38, 14.8% alcohol
Winemaker Kerry Damskey is a strong advocate of blending – and with this
wine, released May 2014, he combined 50 percent Grenache, 32 percent
Mourvedre, 8 percent Cinsault, 5 percent Counoise and 5 percent Syrah.
Bright fruits predominate, and it hints of cedar and cherry-wood smoke. A
plus: The wine honors proprietor Debra Mathy’s family; her Swiss mother’s
maiden name was Kupferschmid. Sold direct-to-consumer only.
Harvest Moon Estate & Winery
2009 Sonoma Harvest Red
$42, 13.5% alcohol
This red wine blend with the colorful label is well-balanced and lower in
alcohol, making it drinkable with the dinners you cook every night, such as
chicken, fish and pasta (even pizza). Using grapes that represent greater Sonoma County, winemaker Randy Pitts took five wines that “were by themselves nice components and made the sum of them more interesting than the individual counterparts, like a multi-layered opera cake.” He blended 33 percent Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, 33 percent Riebli Valley Syrah, 17 percent Dry Creek Merlot, 11 percent Dry Creek Cabernet Franc and 5 percent Russian River Petit Sirah. harvestmoonwinery.com.
Limerick Lane Cellars
2011 Syrah/Grenache Blend
Russian River Valley
$36, 14.5% alcohol
Limerick Lane Cellars is one of Sonoma County’s premier producers of
Zinfandel and Syrah, with vines dating back to 1910. Jake and Alexis Bilbro of Healdsburg purchased the winery in 2011, and the grapes for this wine were picked right after the sale, just as harvest got under way. Winemaker Scot Bilbro (Jake’s brother) blended 63 percent Syrah and 37 percent Grenache to create a wine that blends history and elegance in a bottle. This blend is one of the estate wines that is available in the tasting room. limericklanewines.com.
2011 Homefront Red
$15, 13.5% alcohol
This is a food-friendly, fruit-forward wine that supports an important cause: providing emergency and financial assistance to the families of service members and veterans through Operation Homefront. In three years, Murphy-Goode has donated more than $300,000 through the sale of this red wine, whose fruit comes from some of Sonoma County’s most acclaimed winegrowing regions. “Coming home from serving our country takes a lot of adjustment, and Operation Homefront is right there to support these veterans and their families when they need it most,” said Murphy-Goode winemaker David Ready, Jr. We heartily recommend this blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Sirah and Zinfandel grapes. Stop by the recently renovated tasting room on the Healdsburg Square and ask for Homefront Red.