A Wine Journey along the Russian River

Overview


Steve Heimoff takes readers on an intimate and enlightening tour of one of California’s most diverse and accomplished wine areas as he travels along the Russian River and talks with growers and vintners from the Cabernet country of the Alexander Valley to the Pinot Noir producers of the Sonoma coast. This first comprehensive look at the natural history and winemaking practices of the region by one of America’s most respected wine critics brings the Russian into the exalted company of the great wine rivers of the...
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Overview


Steve Heimoff takes readers on an intimate and enlightening tour of one of California’s most diverse and accomplished wine areas as he travels along the Russian River and talks with growers and vintners from the Cabernet country of the Alexander Valley to the Pinot Noir producers of the Sonoma coast. This first comprehensive look at the natural history and winemaking practices of the region by one of America’s most respected wine critics brings the Russian into the exalted company of the great wine rivers of the world—the Loire, the Rhône, the Rhine, the Mosel, and the Douro. Part wine guidebook, part history and geology, and part travelogue of the author's adventures in wine country, A Wine Journey along the Russian River is essential reading for wine lovers—both those fortunate enough to be familiar with the region and those who have never been there.

Heimoff guides readers along the length of the scenic river, from its warm, northern border with Mendocino out to foggy Jenner. He discusses the history and progress of Alexander Valley Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, Russian River Valley and Sonoma coast Pinot Noir, Sonoma County's Rhône-oriented wines, old-style field blends, and other interesting wines. In the process, he introduces readers to many of the growers and vintners who have made Sonoma County famous: Dick Arrowood, the Rochiolis, the Seghesios, Tom Jordon, Bob Cabral of Williams Selyem, Jess Jackson of Kendall-Jackson, Merry Edwards, and many others. Describing how the river's formation and evolution, both products of the planet's fiery tectonic past, as well as the region's complex climate, have created the potential for unparalleled viticultural enclaves, and recounting how a variety of people realized that potential, Heimoff provides a fascinating explanation of why the Russian River's reputation as a premium winegrowing region continues to grow.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Heimoff, West Coast editor of Wine Enthusiast, knows far more about California wine, how it's made and those who make it than the average wine buff. His meandering tour of Sonoma County's wine world along the Russian River in 2003 is not for bargain-bin devotees. Heimoff's wine descriptions are tantalizing, and he includes a useful list of recommended wines and producers for those looking to develop knowledge of the region. His reportage on the development of certain grapes in the area, such as Alexander Valley's cabernet sauvignon and Russian River Valley's pinot noir, is nicely balanced between anecdotal and factual. And his descriptions of encounters with prominent growers and vintners, some of which include photos, are particularly enjoyable. However, densely detailed prose intended to include readers in the author's travels along the river is occasionally superfluous and distracting (e.g., "The sun was getting hot on my head, so I put on a baseball cap"). Those with a casual interest in wine can certainly benefit from Heimoff's intensive exploration of Sonoma County, but full appreciation for this carefully researched paean to the geological richness, colorful history and continuously evolving wines of the area is reserved for true wine aficionados, committed viticulturists and curious local historians. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520239852
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Heimoff is West Coast Editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
Introduction

1. Out of the Pangaean Mists a River Is Born
2. Cyrus Alexander Finds a Valley
3. Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
4. Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
5. Healdsburg: The Crucial Turn West
6. The Russian River Valley
7. Pinot Noir Comes to Westside Road
8. Clones, AVAs, and Storms: A Divertissement
9. Into the Fog, and Above It: The Sonoma Coast
Recommended Wines and Producers
References and Suggested Reading

Index

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