Go for GALLO!
Of all the wineries in all the towns in all the world, there is no nicer and more knowledgeable winemaker than soft spoken Dr. George Thoukis. George is the Senior Winemaker of Ernest & Julio Gallo of Sonoma. With his team of winemakers which includes Matt Gallo whose grandfather started E & J Gallo, they create some of the best and most palate friendly wines in the world. Some people are misled and overly impressed by the price of very expensive wines, but Gallo wines are good yet affordable. Made in a high tech winery which is closed to the public, every stage of the individual wine is monitored by computers. Just scan the bar code and Voila! All the vital statistics are displayed from date and time of harvest to date of fermentation. I saw this with my own eyes and as they say, ‘seeing is believing’!
The Russian River vineyard is only about 20 km from the raw power of the Pacific Ocean off the sleepy town of Jenner. Here great grapes make great wine. My personal favourite is the Rancho Zabacho “Zin”, Heritage Vines, Sonoma County 1999. You have never enjoyed California wine until you have tasted Zinfandel which has come to be almost synomymous with wine from the “Sunshine State”. A true blue “Zin” is made from grapes with thicker skins due to the coastal locale. Expect deep, rich colours, jammy luscious plum and blackberries which will satisfy without satiating. The Rancho Zabacho Sauvignon Blanc from the Russian River Valley 2000 is also a lively, charismatic wine full of joie de vivre like a happy little girl. Wonderful with seafood like lobster and white fish in a simple beurre blanc style.