Meadowcroft Wines at Cornerstone Sonoma
I never wondered much where Christmas goes for the rest of the year until I saw the snowmen at Cornerstone Sonoma.
There they are in a jumble, bravely jolly under the withering sun, parked beside Highway 121. After the holidays, it almost makes me a little melancholy — until I learn that Meadowcroft Wines still has a surprise for me under their tree. Riesling wines.
Dreaming of a white Riesling
Don’t worry about the forlorn Frosties, which were discovered by one of the tenants of this eclectic ensemble of design shops, studios and wine tasting rooms. They’re celebrated every year in a lighting ceremony.
Winemaker Tom Meadowcroft has worked in Bordeaux, Washington State, and in top Napa Valley vineyards, but he set up shop in Sonoma County, where he sources many of the grapes for his own label.
Located right at the entrance to Cornerstone, the tasting room is housed in a modern, barn-style shed. Watch out for the big, sleeping dog when you step inside; there’s ample room to lounge about on the patio, too.
Take a sip
A lot of people still think that Riesling is supposed to be sweet, I’m told at the tasting bar. Not that it isn’t sometimes, but forget about that cheap Liebfraumilch of days past. Meadowcroft’s 2011 Reserve Riesling ($26) is spicy, with hints of herbal tea and dried orange rind, finishing dry but juicy — pear and peach. Made for the family wine label of Indy 500 champ A.J. Foyt, the 2011 Foyt Riesling ($32) is a little sweeter — but not too much.
The Bonneau Vineyard Sonoma County Chardonnay ($26), starting with butterscotch and pie crust aromas, is cool and deliciously dry, while a host of reds on offer includes a juicy 2011 Knight’s Valley Zinfandel ($28), and the brooding 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($75). The tawny-port styled “All She Wrote” Cabernet Port ($36/500ml) has enticing aromas of chocolate liqueur, and inspires thoughts of chilly nights and comfortable chairs by the fireside — a holiday in a glass.
Take a walk
Here’s the ideal place to find yourself after tasting a flight of wines, if you like moseying around a bit. Lunch under the olive trees at Park 121 Restaurant, covet salvaged design elements from around the world at Artefact, and wander though art studios and garden shops. Acres of gardens reveal a new environmental installation or intriguing sculpture around every corner. I like the all-metal grapevine trellis — talk about your “industrial vineyard.”
Meadowcroft Wines, 23574 Highway 121, Sonoma. Look for the “flying” white fence. Daily, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tasting fee, $5-$10. 707-934-4090.