Overlooking Great Wine. Great Hospitality, Great Knowledge
-Photo Gallery at Bottom of Review-
Not sitting on the main row of Napa Valley, or Sonoma’s Square, Sanglier Winery is located just off the square in Healdsburg. For months, no, years, I’ve walked by, without entering, glancing inside the large windows but not entering.
Finally, by recommendation, on my way back from my morning espresso at Flying Goat Coffee, I decided to swing past, and see what Sanglier was all about. I walked into the inviting tasting room to a smile and a warm "hello". (something not too common nowadays). Sitting across the counter from Mike Madigan, a fellow wine blogger it turns out, I dove into the wines, and experienced a love for the craft that I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
The Glenn and Melissa Alexander left Texas after a full career to go back to school. Glenn Alexander worked for Preston Winery, then Bacchus Vineyards, farming for some of the most iconic wineries in Sonoma County, developing connections with wine country legends. Melissa established a gift for the culinary arts, food that would become the inspiration for Sanglier.
In 2006, along with their children Dustin and Chelsea, they founded Sanglier Cellars. Sourcing from their favorite vineyards throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties, they pick the best grapes available, because after all is said and done, you cant make great wine if you slouch when it comes to grape selection. The best chef uses the freshest ingredients.
Clean and inviting tasting room and comfy quarters for an in depth tasting. With open views to the streets of Healdsburg, this is a great spot for rainy or sunny weather. Classic rock bumping, I was right at home.
Top notch. Matt and Tom were extraordinary in their knowledge of each wine in their arsenal. I can usually stump people with my questions of vintages, or vineyard locations, barrel regiments, varietal composition (which sometimes changes year to year) but they were on top of it. More importantly, they didn’t flaunt that knowledge. They kept the information they passed on to me relevant to what I was asking, and didn’t overload me with random facts that nobody really cares all to much about (things that are more marketing flair than anything else)
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Zesty and fresh with lemon and tropical fruits on the front, light and crisp with notes of peach and lemon throughout the body and into the finish with light “minerality” and a refreshing zing. I was impressed by the light herbaceous qualities in this wine, which lingered along the finsh without being too overwhelming, and only accented the fruit flavors, without being overwhelming. This is a perfect wine for the spring, and is a definite recommendation for the warmer months.
2015 Chardonnay, River Tusque
This chardonnay showed off an amazing nose straight off the bat, with a floral arrangement accented by orange peel and lemon zest. For there, it showed almost identically on the palate. Fresh and clean, light on oak flavors with a hint of a banana crème, and fruits including pear, white peach and crisp apple. This is a food wine, as well as a wine to sip on in any weather.
2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Raspberries with melted dark chocolate and a floral bouquet. This wine had me stumped for one good reason, despite being a 2012 vintage, it still has plenty of time to develop. As I first tasted it, I got a lot of brighter fruit flavors, acidity that made my mouth water and beg for more. As I talked with Matt over the next 10-15 minutes about vineyard locations, the wine had plenty of time to breath. When I tasted it again, I was stumped. I could have sworn he had poured another wine into my glass. In that 10-15 minute period, the wine had completely grown up, from the High School Senior begging for attention, to the professor laying down the syllabus and commanding attention. Dark fruits poured from the glass, deep asian spices and cocoa, accented by a balanced acidity.
2013 Boars Camp, Cabernet Sauvignon
I was surprised by this Cabernet Sauvignon, and despite the overwhelming quality of the other wines, this is the one that caught my attention, and made me write this review. So many wines coming out of Sonoma and Napa counties all strive for more extraction and powerful fruit, weather they have the correct structure and flavor components necessary for that style or not. Sad. Anyways, back to my point. This wine was made from Cabernet sauvignon sourced from vineyards high in elevation, in the northern parts of Sonoma County. Grapes from that area give of a very profound flavor, but due to the wine market’s thirst for over oaked and over extracted Cabernet, those flavors are destroyed and turned into something far inferior.
This was about as pure as it gets. Pure in the way that you can tell, the winemaker did not interfere, and let the true colors come through. Bright acidity lifts flavors of ripe cherry, pure currant, blackberries. These fruit flavors were so obvious and delicious, yet they were weaved and textured by rich baking chocolate, floral notes and a bit of charred cedar.
2012 Touché, Grenache
Unfortunately, Grenache is not typically a HUGE seller in the California wine market. It really a pity, because you can find great Grenache in small tasting rooms like this one that out class most of the big Cabernet houses spotted along the main drags in Napa and Sonoma. The spice provided in this wine makes it an incredible wine to pair along with food, but the fruits, a dark juicy cherry, crushed blackberry wound into a juicy core of flavor that rolls down your palate makes it an incredible wine to just sit back and enjoy anywhere at any time. One of the things I loved during this tasting was the fact that Sanglier’s winemaking team used just enough oak in the wines production to ensure great bottle life, aging for 10 years or so, and just enough to give the wines depth and complexion. This wine gives off little hints of caramel, and an intriguing perfume that will keep you coming back for more.