We are ecstatic after receiving news this week from the Monterey International Wine Competion! Our 2012 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon was chosen as Wine of the Year! With a 98 point rating, this award leads a long procession of great accolades for our wines that we're excited to share with you.
Won Wine of the Year and Best Cabernet Sauvignon
"Deep aromas of blackberry, cassis, bay leaf and brown spice prepare you for a mouth filling, structured glass that shows supple mountain tannins, serving to translate the aromas directly to palate flavors. This wine is fabulous right now and will bring even greater rewards 10 years down the road."
- Rich Cook, March 10, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"A very attractive bouquet of cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, hibiscus and baking spice preps you for a bright mouthful of red fruit and spice, delivered over singing acidity that extends the finish and waters your mouth for the next sip…or bite. Beautifully elegant Pinot Noir from my favorite area for the grape."
- Rich Cook, March 10, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"Here is a deeply aromatic Merlot that will win some fans back to the variety after years of abuse in California. Blackberry, black cherry, tobacco leaf and dried herbs are present on the nose and in the mouth, with supple tannic structure boding well for a long life ahead, and extending the finish of this classic California Merlot. Serve this with a seared spiced rib roast -- they're meant for each other."
- Rich Cook, March 10, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"Classic, full bodied Napa Cabernet that doesn't go to the overripe side, but remains complex, balanced and food friendly. There's great depth of aroma and flavor here, with blackberry, black currants, vanilla, bay leaf and brown spice all riding together over fine grained tannins through a long finish that brings a pleasant cocoa note forward. Fantastic!"
- Rich Cook, March 17, 2015
If you just can't wait for the wines noted above to be released later this year, be sure to get your hands on more of our wines that the judges loved – like our 2011 Preston Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, which earned a 96 point rating at the San Diego International Wine Competition this past January. We also did very well in this competition, as Robert Whitley notes:
"V. Sattui of the Napa Valley was the overall leader in medals with 18, including Best of Class Cabernet Sauvignon for the 2011 V. Sattui Cabernet Sauvignon, Preston Vineyard, $55. Judges gave the Preston Vineyard Cabernet a score of 96 points. V. Sattui also won 10 gold medals. The venerable winery, with the finest picnic grounds in the Napa Valley, is unique in that it only sells its wines at the winery or online."
Won Best Cabernet Sauvignon and a Platinum Medal
"Here’s yet another complex, layered, classically-styled wine that belies the prediction that the cool, wet 2011 growing season would spell disaster for Cabernet in California. The aromas are wonderfully expressive, with leafy, herbal notes that recall Bordeaux more than Napa, though that’s hardly a knock on the wine. The fruit notes recall blackberry and black raspberry, with excellent freshness and lift from bright acidity, but also plenty of bass notes to balance out all that treble. I love the energy and freshness of this wine, which also packs enough punch to satisfy on that basis as well."
- Michael Franz, January 27, 2015
Winter and early spring are a busy time in the V. Sattui vineyards! Brooks Painter, our Director of Winemaking, and his crew have been busy; pruning, trellising, and tilling mustard into the ground so the grapes can get the nutrients from this vetch. In this video, Brooks give us a close-up view of the work that’s going on in the vineyards.
For the first time, V. Sattui Winery is participating in Premiere Napa Valley, the second biggest week in the local wine industry each year, (Auction Napa Valley would be the first). Premiere is a wine auction for the trade that is hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV). Winemakers are asked to create a special wine for this auction that will help boost the reputation of Napa wines, and raise money for NVV’s programs to keep the integrity of Napa Valley’s reputation and its wines.
The wine we have crafted for our debut to this event is a tribute to the Morisoli Brothers, two local 4th generation grape growers with a dedication to growing the finest grapes in the Napa Valley. The wine is called Two X Two (or Two by Two), Rutherford Dust-Up Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a 50-50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Gary and Mike Morisoli, and it is the first time their prized grapes have been blended into one wine.
Gary and Mike’s vineyards are located in the heart of the famous “Rutherford Bench", an area considered the “Rodeo Drive” of vineyards. Famous neighbors include vineyards for Scarecrow, Rubicon Estates, and Phelps’ Manley Lane. The Rutherford Bench is a highly coveted area for growing grapes, due to the “Rutherford Dust” phenomenon that can be distinguished in the wine, and the reason for the name of this exclusive offering. The “Dust” refers to the wines having “dusty” tannins, dry cocoa or cigar box flavors. These elusive flavors are unique to the benchland and can’t be found anywhere else.
There is a 16-year age difference between Gary and Mike Morisoli, and while blood links them as brothers, they each have followed their own path.
“We’ve always had our own separate things,” says Mike, the younger brother. “We don’t want to step on each others’ toes. And we’ve just always sent our grapes to separate producers. But it’s nice to have the Morisoli legacy continue and pull it all together in this wine blend.”
During the week Mike is also a geotechnical engineer and a partner in a company he joined 23 years ago. But growing grapes is in his blood. He grew up watching his father, and big brother, doing the work and he naturally followed suit.
“I have such interest and passion for grape growing. You get to live in a vineyard, I’m out producing something that is mine, and at the end of the day, you have something tangible- a really great wine.”
Gary Morisoli has a reputation for a meticulously kept crop with consistent flavor and quality. His hands-on education for grape growing came from working alongside his father and grandfather. His grandfather was born on the property in 1902, and the family had 10 acres. Currently Gary owns 53 acres, and he humbly says he’s got the “easy” time.
“When my grandfather was doing things they worked with horses ploughing fields, and spent long days doing all the work themselves. Today I have people to help do the work, and I just supervise.”
In the Two x Two Morisoli Brothers Rutherford Dust-up Cabernet, the brothers set aside their friendly rivalry for growing the best grapes, and bring their fruit together in a first-time single effort. Both vineyards are located in the Rutherford Bench, west of Highway 29, and shadowed from the harsh afternoon sun by the imposing silhouette of Mount St. John. The gravelly soil and slightly downward sloping land makes for wonderful drainage, never allowing the grapes to become too over-saturated. Both vineyards are off of Niebaum Lane.
V. Sattui’s Director of Winemaking, Brooks Painter, says “this wine is incredibly inky and dark, with a bouquet of cigar box, hints of cedary spice and perfumed dried flowers. It is a rich wine with opulent fruit persistence in the mid-palate. The aftertaste is a black berry, black currant flavor with Cassis and spice that linger. The Cabernet Sauvignon blend leaves a lasting impression of pure cabernet flavor with dusty and earthy nuances.”
Our Two X Two, Rutherford Dust-Up Cabernet Sauvignon will go up for auction at Premiere Napa Valley Saturday, February 21st. Attendees to the event include wine shop owners, restaurateurs, and other wine trade. We’ll update you on the winning bidder, and let you know if you might be able to purchase and taste the wine for yourself!
Our winemakers at V. Sattui are always looking for new and innovative ways to make wine. Our latest release has hatched a cult following of folks who like crisp, refreshing flavors and are lured to the glass by the floral aromas. The 2013 Dancing Egg is a dry Riesling made from grapes that have been fermented in both a concrete egg, and stainless steel barrels.
Winemaker Laura Orozco is at the top of the pecking order for this wine. She has worked at V. Sattui since 2006, starting out as enolgist in the lab and quickly working up to Winemaker, and her vision for this dry Riesling was to make it in an old-world style with a contemporary twist. She has accomplished this not only with the wine, but with the fun label too.
“I wanted an old-fashioned style label to help the wine stand out on our shelves,” says Laura. “I worked with our label designer, Michelle LeBlanc, and when she showed me the “Humpty Dumpty” character I wasn’t expecting it, but I fell in love with it. Maybe because I’m the mom of two young girls and the nursery character just spoke to me!”
While egg-shaped tanks are a new tool in the “winemaking tool belt”, concrete tanks have been used in winemaking for centuries. Concrete is porous, so the tanks can breathe, like barrels, but without adding any oak character to the wine. The egg shape plays a role creating a natural stirring effect during fermentation. So the yeast in the wine is twirling and dancing while inside the egg. The concrete also adds some minerality and complexity to the wine.
Our concrete egg on our production pad, next to its more well-known cousins, stainless steel and oak.
“The egg gives roundess to the wine,” says Laura. “We still ferment some of the fruit for the blend in a stainless barrel which helps it keep the bright fruit flavors. When the two are combined it results in a beautiful wine that is aromatic and fruity, but when you sip it, it finishes clean and crisp. It’s not too dry, and it’s not too sweet.”
Serve Dancing Egg as an apéritif before your next celebration, or pair it with sushi, grilled fish, or a fresh goat cheese and crackers.
Sometimes things come along that are new and exciting. And sometimes, they also happen to be decidedly, and unapologetically, delicious. Like our newly released, 2012 vintage GSM blend called “Entanglement.” (A new release, by the way, is a wine we have NEVER made before. A new vintage is the newly released year [a.k.a. vintage] of a wine we have previously made.)
GSM stands for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. No, it has nothing to do with MSG. And no, it is not a GMS, though you may hear the letters SGM when someone refers to a blend from Down Under, as they like Syrah-heavy blends (or “Shiraz,” as they say – same grape, different name). A GSM blend is nothing new. It has been the happening blend in the Rhône region for years (read: over a century). You may have heard the name of one of the most famous examples: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the AOCs in the Rhône well-known for its beautiful examples of GSM blends. The great thing about blends is that each grape brings its own special something to the party – and when they get down – we all win.
Party down, people, party down
Grenache. In Spanish, this grape is known as "Garnacha". When I was pouring wine in the Tasting Room, a customer once told me that the phrase “a la garnacha” in Central America means “to beat” or “violently.” He said it refers to the way the sun beats down on the grapes there, slapping the back of one hand against the palm of the other for emphasis. Grenache does love hot, dry-climate areas.
Grenache is bringing… fruit, alcohol and a hint of spice.
Syrah. Probably the most well-known of the three grapes to the average American consumer, Syrahs are some of the darkest, fullest-bodied wines out there. I’m talking fuller than a Cab. Oh yeah, baby, pour me a Syrah any day. This big, bad grape loves a long, cold soak after being picked; this soak helps to reduce some of the harsh tannin found in the grape.
Syrah is bringing… structure and boldness with dark fruit and earth.
Mourvèdre. It is quite possible you may not have heard of this one. It is actually referred as “estrangle-chien” in French, which translates to "dog strangler" – lovely, right? It earns this name due to its extremely high tannin content. Because of this (and its rich color) it is often used as a blending grape. If you want to try it as a single-varietal wine, look for a Monastrell from Spain (Mourvèdre & Monastrell – another case of same grape, different name).
Mourvèdre is bringing… tannins and finish.
Right away, this bottle captured my attention. I’m always partial to the soft, sloping shoulder of the Rhône bottle shape. Plus the cartouche (pronounced car-TOOSH) of the raised logo is really – dare I say it?- snazzy. Yes, snazzy. And the name - Entanglement - is just so enticing. I can't wait to get entangled in the wine.
The cartouche on our 2012 Entanglement
And then there’s the wine in the bottle. The first sniff transports you to a briar patch in the redwoods, and the first sip will make you fall in love. Black plum, black cherry and warm rhubarb pie, topped with just the perfect touch of fresh strawberries.
Pairing suggestion: Of course, this is a great wine for a rich meal – think pepper steak, lamb, or bison. Keep it simple and pan sear them before finishing in the oven. The spice in the wine will echo the pepper on the steak and make for a great pairing.
Dark chocolate is another friend to this wine, just stay away from fruit or highly acidic foods.
Questions or comments? Leave 'em below and I'll shoot you an email back!
And always - ENJOY!
On Saturday, January 24th, V. Sattui will host our annual Barrel Tasting & New Release Party. Like all of our events, this party is a lot of fun and offers the chance to enjoy our wines, some great food and wine pairings, and groove to live music. But what makes this party special is the great opportunity guests have to taste wines straight from the barrel and purchase wine Futures from us.
What are Futures?
Definition: Wines still aging in the barrel. Purchasing wine Futures is a practice that has been going for centuries in France, where they call it en primeur. V. Sattui is one of the first Napa Valley wineries to also offer wine futures, and we have been doing so for more than 30 years. Our Barrel Tasting Party is the very first opportunity to taste and purchase the previous year's vintage straight from the barrel. Throughout the remainder of the year, members have the opporutinty to enjoy barrel tasting in our private Cellar Club. Barrel sampling is also offered to non-members by request for $25 per person.
If you’re convinced that a particular wine is destined to be a great one, you may pre-purchase the wine by the case with a 50% deposit, automatically locking in a lower pre-release price.
Why should I buy Futures?
By purchasing the wine early, customers have the opportunity to purchase a wine dramataically below the release price. Once you've purchased Futures, during later visits you may taste your wines as they mature and develop in the barrel. After the wine is bottled, we send notice to you for the balance remaining, and instruction for shipping or pickup.
How to Pick a Winner
When tasting wine from a barrel, remember that the wine is not finished! They are young, a bit wild and unruly; much like a teenager!
It is wise to taste the current vintage of the wine that is already in the bottle, after tasting it's younger version from the barrel, so you can compare the finished wine to the wine in progress. This also gives you a literal taste of wine education as you follow a wine to see how it ages in a barrel and in the bottle. When you purchase futures at V. Sattui we encourage you to return to the tasting room and keep tasting “your wine” as it ages in the barrel over the course of a 2-3 year period.
A Wise Investment
According to InvestorIdeas.com, investors in fine wine can make a healthy profit. However, most of us buy wine futures for pure enjoyment. Purchasing Futures gives you a chance to taste and acquire limited release wines, many of which sell out or are unavailable later. It also offers the opportunity to save money on the wines that you love, since many of them appreciate in price once they are bottled and sold. In addition, V. Sattui club members who purchase wine Futures at our Barrel Tasting Party receive 20% off a case of futures.
Whether you attend our annual Barrel Tasting Party or not, we do hope you’ll explore the world of wine Futures with us. It’s a fun way to learn about wine and to secure some extraordinary wines at a great price. See you in the Cellar Club!
Imagine, if you will, that you are a monk during the Middle Ages. Your wool cloak torments you (fabric softeners are but a gleam in some inventor’s eye). Despite excellent acoustics, the droning chants are getting on your nerves. Add to these drawbacks, when dinner comes, you are faced with bread, vegetables and a lump of tasteless fermented milk. Fortunately, there is wine. So you end up drinking away your troubles. Perhaps it was during one of these sojourns to inebriation that a disgruntled monk decided to alter his daily cheese.
Cheese aging cellars in those days were not sanitary. If there was greenish-grayish-bluish mold covering the walls, then God must have had some reason for placing it there. In the course of many years (and at the possible expense of many monks), brave souls ate the cheese that had been encrusted with the same mold as found on the walls. Indeed, if one believes in divine guidance, then it is nothing short of miraculous that in some of those monastery cellars, molds mutated with other bacteria and actually created a living substance that improved the flavor of the cheese. Enter our tipsy monk. He may have (for twisted reasons only known to himself) scraped the mold off the walls, mixed it with water or wine, added some salt and began to furiously rub this obnoxious mixture over the surface of innocent cheeses.
Thus was born the category of cheeses that we call monastery cheeses. A behavior that was formally called perverse, is now fully sanctioned by cheesemakers everywhere…washing the rind. It seems that this washing process produces an aroma of unsurpassed distinction, and many know them as "stinky cheeses".
At V. Sattui Winery our cheese case has a number of washed rind "stinky" cheeses, with glorious aromas that tend to make great wine partners. Try St. Nectaire, a lighter washed rind cheese with subtle earthy tones paired with V. Sattui’s 2012 Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Our new Dancing Egg Riesling is a great pairing with Pont L’Eveque, a funkier washed rind cheese from Normandy.
Or try Epoisse, a lovely creamy, aromatic cheese with a reddish-orange rind that couples nicely with our 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot.
Let us know what you think of Washed Rind cheeses and any favorite wine pairings you recommend!
Cooler days and chillier nights are upon us. Ahhh, the holiday season. With Halloween down, bring on Turkey Day!! Thanksgiving, as you know, is a time for turkey and family and… jalapeños?? Well, it is for V. Sattui’s Winemaker Laura Orozco!
Laura in her various incarnations as Winemaker
Laura and her family are from the state of Michoacán in Mexico, and while they have nearly fully embraced the turkey, stuffing and cranberry staples so common on our Thanksgiving tables (up until a few years ago, they had to have beans and tortillas at her dad, Francisco’s, insistence); jalapeños will always be a requirement. Chicken is another important must-have at the table – not everyone is a fan of turkey, including Laura’s dad and her husband, Felipe.
Laura and Felipe at our 30th Annual Harvest Ball
Of all of the holidays throughout the year, Thanksgiving is Laura’s favorite because it is the one time a year when her whole family gathers around one table and eats together. She and her husband bring their two girls, Nadia, 2, and Paola, 6, to her uncle David’s (her dad’s brother) house in the Mayacamas – the designated “Thanksgiving house.” David has been the vineyard foreman at Pride Mountain Vineyards for over two decades and lives in the old ranch house on the property there.
Twenty-five of Laura’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family come together and bring their children for a Thanksgiving family feast. Everyone is in charge of bringing a dish and Laura brings the chicken for the non-turkey-lovers.
Check out her delicious recipe below!
After serving themselves buffet-style, everyone sits down to dinner and Laura’s mom, Arcelia, leads them in grace. Then, they take the time to go all the way around the table and have each person say a few words on what they are thankful for. Turkey (or chicken!) follows with much happiness and laughter interspersed and industry talk, since most of her family works in the wine industry in some capacity or another.
When dinner is done and bellies are full, everyone gathers around for a game of Lotería, a sort of Mexican-style bingo with pictures.
As crazy as Thanksgiving can get, with family coming in and out and kids to corral and food to prepare, it is wonderful to see such a pure example of the spirit of Thanksgiving: love, family and the true enjoyment of one another’s company. Because truly, that is what it’s all about.
So from our table – and Laura’s table – to yours, have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to give thanks, as Laura does, for family, health and togetherness.
Laura's dad (Francisco), Laura, her sister (Jessica), her mom (Arecelia), and her brother (Jaime) holding her daughter (Paola)
Here is Laura’s recipe for juicy roasted chicken that she makes for the non-turkey-lovers in her family. Do you have something special or different that is a must-have on your Thanksgiving table? Leave us a comment and let us know what it is!
Orange and Garlic Roasted Chicken
Marinate the chicken overnight in apple cider vinegar and season with garlic salt.
Put the chicken on a roasting rack and stuff with onion and sliced oranges. Surround with cubed potatoes, yams and onions and roast it like you would a turkey.
Riesling is for everyone and everyone should be for Riesling. It is the MOST food-friendly wine, pairing easily with foods that run the gamut, from typical table fare to more exotic cuisines and flavors.
Are you light & sweet or crisp & dry? Riesling can be made in different styles, from the bone-dry that make you think you’re quaffing a tart Sauvignon Blanc, to the sweet and rich Late Harvests made for after-dinner relaxation and everything in between.
There is even a website wholly dedicated to Rieslings, with everything you need to know about the different regions they’re grown in the world over. The URL is (go figure) www.drinkriesling.com. They also have a handy dandy sweetness scale (called the “Riesling Taste Profile”) with which to categorize your Riesling, which helps make sure everyone is on the same page when referring to a Riesling as “dry” versus “medium sweet.”
In order to calculate where the wine falls, you’ll need to know RS, TA and pH. RS stands for residual sugar and is the sugars left after fermentation. It is often expressed in grams per liter but can also be calculated as a percentage. TA is titratable acidity and pH is a different expression of acidity (remember – water is neutral with a pH of 7). I could geek out on you and talk and the negative logarithms of hydronium ions, but I’m sure you’ve had enough.
So when figuring out where a Riesling should be on the Taste Profile, you find the ratio of the sugars to the acid (TA) and factor in the pH. Remember when you were in school and you used to ask your teacher, “When are we ever gonna use this math and science stuff in real life?” Well now you know the answer – to figure out which Riesling to drink, of course!!
Oh, but don’t think you’ll actually have to do any calculations – I’ve done all the heavy (brain) lifting for you. Check out where our different Riesling fall on the chart below.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about you. Yes, you. Who are you? Or more importantly, what Riesling are you?
Do you like exotic foods that you order extra spicy, like Thai food or curry?
Are you the sweetest one of all of your friends (c’mon, you know you are!)?
Do you sometimes wish you could eat dessert instead of dinner?
Then curl your hands around a cold, cold glass of Off-Dry Riesling.
The sweeter the wine, the spicier the food you want to pair it with. The sweetest of our Riesling line-up, our Off-Dry Riesling stands up well to spicy Indian curries, spicy Mexican or spicy Thai food... are you sensing a theme, here? Think about this when you break out the sweet potato or pecan pie in a week.
Spicy Indian Curries
Do you like to have a go-to wine to take to parties at friend's houses?
Could you eat sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Do you like sunsets and long walks on the beach?
Get this lightly-sweet, lightly-crisp Dry Riesling stat!
Our Dry Riesling is THE sushi wine - the light sweetness coupled with a delicate wash of acidity on the finish makes this perfect for the equally delicate flavors of sticky rice, roe and sushi-grade fish. It also stands up nicely to an autumn dish of pumkin ravioli with brown butter sauce and pecans.
Pumpkin ravioli Sushi
Do you like seafood, pastas with light sauces and Asian foods with just a hint spice?
Do you like wines wines with balance and finesse (I mean, who doesn’t?)?
Are you the middle child, always mediating between your older and younger sibling?
Grab a glass of our Anderson Riesling and get mediatin’!
This crisp and clean, well-balanced Riesling is perfect for and kind of grilled or broiled seafood dish, as well poultry - I'm thinking a beatifully brined turkey with herbed stuffing may be in this Anderson Valley Riesling's future...
Do you like crisp autumn days when the wind nips at your cheeks?
Do you like to show off great wine finds to your friends?
Is “Humpty Dumpty” your favorite nursery rhyme?
Twist the cap off the Dancing Egg and pour away!
This delicious dancer is a favorite among us here at the winery. The wonderful minerality makes it perfect for so many foods, from a plate of freshly shucked oysters to richer dishes of fish and poultry - even veal or pork. Just stay away from sweeter dishes. Our Dancing Egg Riesling would be another boon to the Thanksgiving table, pairing nicely with a side of roasted acorn squash, yams and apples with cranberry and walnuts.
Roasted squash, yams and apples
You may recognize Chef Stefano Masanti from some of our memorable events at V. Sattui, like our Harvest Ball where this year he created a beautiful six-course meal for our 490 guests. Or you may have tasted his delicious wood-fired pizza at our Crush Party in October. Stefano has become a good friend to our Winery family, and we are thrilled that he will be joining us next year from April to October as a guest chef at the Winery!
Stefano will create food for group events, weddings, and other special occasions at V. Sattui. In his home town of Madesimo, Italy, Stefano is known for sourcing the best local ingredients to use in his restaurant, Il Cantinone. He’s a member of the international Slow Food organization, and he has received numerous accolades, including a Michelin star, and his restaurant was just awarded by Gambero Rosso, a well-respected food and wine magazine, as one of the best Italian restaurants that promotes local food and farmers. Il Cantinone was also just named one of the best 60 restaurants in Italy by L’Espresso, the guide to Italian restaurants.
Stefano and his wife, Rafaella, run not only the restaurant in the ski-resort town of Madesimo, but also a small hotel called the Sport Hotel Alpina. While Stefano is busy cooking delicious food, Rafaella, a sommelier, pairs it with great wine and makes sure all restaurant and hotel guests are comfortable. Stefano and Rafaella are the epitome of warm, Italian hospitality. ..easygoing and funny, yet conscientious of every detail that goes into making people feel welcome. After spending just a few hours with them, it is easy to feel as if you’ve been friends forever!
The couple plans to continue their philosophy of cooking with local ingredients while they’re at V. Sattui. They set out to discover the abundance of produce, fish, meats and cheeses in Napa and Sonoma counties and to meet the people who make them. We’d like to share this journey with you.
Preservation Sanctuary & Learning Center- Calistoga
Douglas Hayes is the owner of this small farm, tucked into a hillside in Calistoga. Hayes is devoted to preserving heritage breed chickens, hogs, and produce. To hear him talk about the relationship among the animal, farmer and the cook is a spiritual experience. His staunch belief is that love and respect for animals and all life results in delicious food that is good for you. Mindful chefs in the area agree. You will find meat and produce from Azalea Springs Farm at a few local restaurants, including the French Laundry, who purchases eggs from his chickens.
Tierra Vegetables Farm Stand- Santa Rosa
This urban 20-acre farm is a mecca for both chefs and home cooks looking for local, fresh produce throughout the year. Tierra Vegetables grows a wide variety of vegetables, chilis, beans (fresh and dried). They even grow and mill their own corn meal and produce popcorn! Brother and sister Wayne and Lee James have created a ground-breaking partnership with the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to lease 17 of their acres from the county. The result is a convenient, family-friendly farm that is accessible to the public. Check their website for farmstand hours and special events.
Haverton Hill Creamery
This family owned and operated sheep dairy was just established in 2010.
Joe and Missy Adiego, along with Joe’s parents, Tony and Jolene Adiego, have a passion for animals and agriculture and a drive to produce top quality sheep’s milk and products made from the milk. Haverton Hill sells their farm-fresh sheep’s milk at Whole Foods markets and other specialty retailers in the Bay Area. Soon you’ll also find their creamy sheep’s milk ice cream and sheep’s milk butter too. Not only is sheep’s milk highly nutritious, it can be consumed by people who are lactose intolerant.
Pioneers Craig Ramini and Audrey Hitchcock are the animal lovers behind this small, unique farm and creamery. It started with Craig’s dream to get back to his Italian roots and make real buffalo mozzarella cheese. However, that requires milk from Italian water buffalo, which are not found in the U.S. Craig fixed that problem by starting his own herd. Currently they make fresh buffalo mozzarella and some ricotta cheese for wholesale to a few Bay Area restaurants. But when you see it on a menu, it is worth ordering this handmade, farmstead cheese.
Double 8 Dairy
This is a newer Italian water buffalo dairy, located just a few miles from Ramini Mozzarella. After purchasing the buffalo from the Ramini farm, Andrew Zlot started his own dairy and creamery where he uses the creamy, rich milk to make gelato. The Double 8 Dairy gelato is available in restaurants and a few specialty markets in the Bay Area. Look for flavors like Fior di Latte, which translates to just the flavor of the milk. They don’t add cream, eggs or vanilla, yet the gelato is some of the creamiest you’ll find, due to the high fat content in the buffalo milk. Also look for Raspberry (made with local fruit) and Candy Cap Mushroom!