Most people know the name of Fetzer as it is the sixth largest producer of wine in the United States. I was very fortunate to spend the weekend exploring the Mendocino Wine Affair and had some time to wander around the Fetzer grounds before the event.
The estate is stunning and worthy of setting aside several hours, especially if you are into gardens. I regret that this was about the time my camera failed as we were given a tour of the gardens by their resident Gardner, Kate Frey (this is admitting that I swiped her picture from their website, even though I liked mine better…) She has worked on the grounds for almost twenty years and is a tremendous wealth of knowledge. She somehow reminded me of Katherine Hepburn, as I imagined Kate in her large straw hat, wandering her gardens in New England…
Besides the gardens, the estate holds several tasting rooms (both private and public), a small retail market, and a cafe which is just perfect to rest weary feet or gain some much-needed refreshment from the day’s tastings. One word of warning, I’m not much of a shopper but due to a spill earlier in the day, I was considering buying a shirt for Shawn to change into – $75.00 for a short-sleeve polo shirt seemed a tad excessive.
There are a number of different tastings available, from a simple four taste selection of Fetzer wines for $3.00 (which includes a glass!) to a more premium sampling of Bonterra wines, Fetzer’s Reserve Collection, for $5.00 (which includes a glass). There also exists two different styles of food and wine pairing for $15, most of the food being a variety of cheeses, meats, and dips, with four different wines.
I opted for a combination of Bonterra and Fetzer wines to taste as the Bonterra are organically grown grapes and is a second label for Fetzer.
2003 Bonterra Viognier – Kiwi and grapefruit blossomed in the nose with a delightful crisp, fruity entry. $18.00
2004 Rousanne – Unusual to find this French grape. Very clean, crisp aromas and flavors of apple blossom. Bright acidity and a slightly sweet finish. $22.00
2002 Fetzer Reserve Pinot Noir - Fresh raspberry and strawberry flavors are rather forward in their ripeness. Slightly compressed, mineral tones in the mid-palate with an herbal, metallic finish. $40.00
2002 Bonterra Merlot – Intense dark berry with blackberry, brambleberry, and loganberry aromas and flavors. Slightly mineral mid-palate which subsides and demonstrates dusty floral notes. Sweetens a tad on the finish. $18.00
2001 Bonterra Syrah – Medium garnet red and medium body over all. Hints of raspberry liqueur with teasings of spice. Not as thick and jammy as I normally prefer, but an easy-drinking Syrah. No price obtained.
Fetzer ~ 13601 Old River Road ~ Hopland ~ CA 95449