Russian River Valley’s Bricoleur Vineyards

Tasting Notes

Russian River Valley’s Bricoleur Vineyards has been a Sonoma County favorite of mine for years, and I am not alone, many consumers and professionals agree. Those of you who frequent this stunning property know the wines crafted by Bricoleur showcase purity, precision and varietal typicity. And their food and wine pairings are not to be missed!

The unique events at Bricoleur Vineyards are also very impressive. Take for example the Chef Paulée Dinner held here in September. Thanks go out to Bricoleur’s chef Evan, renowned James Beard Award winning chefs Charlie Palmer and Nate Appleman, and additional local chefs for this fabulous dining experience. To kick off the beautiful evening, guests were warmly welcomed by Bricoleur owners Mark and Elizabeth Hanson, daughter Sarah, and their competent staff with a glass of Bricoleur’s sparkling wine. It’s a perfect sipper for any time of the day or night. Fresh, bright and yeasty with engaging notes of citrus blossom, honeysuckle, McIntosh apple, Bartlett pear and a thread of minerality dazzling the palate. Guests meandered through the picturesque landscape while tasting delicious pre-dinner bites and sips from several nearby Russian River Valley vintners. Other delightful sips at the reception included:

Medlock Ames 2018 Chardonnay ($48):  This rich and stylish Chardonnay opens with aromas of baked apples and subtle oak. Filling the palate are layers of citrus blossom, warm apple cobbler, a snip of lemon verbena, creamy pears, and well-integrated oak. Crisp acidity balances the deep fruit, and the wine sails to a magnificent finish.

Merriam Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay ($45):  Stone fruit and hints of earth on the nose remain consistent on the palate, joining minerality, pear chutney, and lively citrus accents. The texture is silky smooth, and the bursting flavors traversing the palate linger nicely through the long-lasting close.

Landmark 2017 Lorenzo Vineyard Chardonnay ($55):  This multilayered Chardonnay boasts an expressive aroma. Colorful layers of Honeycrisp apples, hints of butterscotch, lemon bars, and a gentle suggestion of fresh cut herbs coat the palate. Bright acidity keeps it finely balanced and energetic as the wine traverses to a memorable finale.

Gamba Vineyards and Winery 2019 Family Ranches Zinfandel ($40):  This deep dark and delicious wine screams Zinfandel with its concentrated black fruit aroma. The rich texture and flavors intensify on the palate as wild raspberries, savory spice, boysenberry jam, and black plums interlace with vanilla bean and hints of cocoa, and the lip-smacking finish is lively.

DRNK Wines 2019 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50):  A bowlful of cherries and berries and hints of earth on the nose are engaging and the entry is silky smooth. Succulent cherries join underlying spice, black raspberries, anise, and forest floor notes swirling across the palate. Well balanced and juicy with plenty of depth and length.

Additional impressive wines offered by Bricoleur include:

2020 Kick Ranch Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($32):  Highly aromatic, this Sauv Blanc kicks off with a tantalizing aroma of citrus blossom and fresh cut limes. The vivacious palate unveils green apples, grapefruit, gooseberries and lemon verbena interlacing with a thread of minerality and lively acidity. This wine is well defined and sophisticated with a lovely mouthfeel and zesty finish.

2020 Flying By the Seat of Our Pants Sauvignon Blanc ($32):  The bright citrusy, lemongrass aroma speaks clearly of the variety, there is no question what is in this glass! Nectarines, passion fruit, lemon meringue pie and a hint of salinity entwine with subtle fresh chopped herbs. Perfect balancing acidity keeps the wine refreshing from first sip to the last, lingering drop.

2020 Unoaked Chardonnay ($32):  A heavenly aroma of fragrant freesia flowers leads to a tangy entry of sweet Meyer lemon and tree fruits. Broadening on the palate are layers of Granny Smith apples, minerally notes, citrus peel, understated gingered pineapple, and lemon tarragon. This gem is streamlined with brisk acidity carrying the wine to a vibrant long-lasting close.

2018 Special Selection Kick Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($110):  This complex Cabernet Sauvignon is tightly wound and multi-layered. Decanting will give it time to further open up if popping the cork now; with aeration it soars! The classic Cab Sauv characteristics of sweet tobacco, black currants, fresh earth, dark plums, savory elements, and spicy barrel nuances (aged 28 months in 50% new/50% neutral oak) are captivating. Intense fruit, deep structure and firm tannins suggest a long life ahead, your patience will be rewarded.

Check out their website at, where you can book tastings, food pairings, winemaker dinners and other special events online. They are open Thursday through Monday from 11 am to 5 pm. The picturesque property offers both indoor and outdoor tasting venues. Having tasted their complete lineup, I feel confident you’ll find a wine suited to every palate at Bricoleur Vineyards.