Silver in Santa Rosa

Ray D’Argenzio continues making great wine from his location just across the highway from the Santa Rosa Junior College. He’s in the second year of his Amarone project, drying grapes from the ’08 harvest. Breanna, back from a year of study in Tuscany, showed me the clusters of Petite, Zin and Cab, hanging like Christmas ornaments under tarps on the tarmack behind the winery. There are a few barrels in progress from the ’07 harvest which I look forward to tasting down the road. It’s rare to find someone in the New World willing to put the time into this process.  Yet the results, as all of us who enjoy Amarone know, can be well worth the effort. 

Finished in bottle, there are two wines I want to call attention to:

D’Argenzio, Russian River Valley, Baldacci Ranch, Zinfandel 2004 There’s a little of this wine left. It tasted yummy 12 months ago and continues on this trend. The vineyard was planted in 1902 by Louis Baldacci. Ray says he treated the fruit to a 2-week long cold soak to bring out all that fruity character. The wine was aged in French oak, 50% of which was new. 15.2% $40 at the winery.

D’Argenzio, Russian River Valley, Thorn Road Ranch, Pinot Noir 2005 The wine has a full-on concentration of fruit and a sleek and supple mouthfeel. 14.4% $48 at the winery. D’Argenzio

About RJ

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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