By Alexa Chipman Feb. 7, 2017
Settled in an oak grove between sweeping vineyards, lavender fields and rolling hills, Matanzas Creek Winery’s cheerful stream runs down the property, forming miniature cascades. The architecture is designed to fit in with its environment, primarily of wood and stone, with small seating areas scattered throughout to enjoy the scenery. They are set up for a fun summer afternoon, with bocce ball court and corn holes, the popular game of tossing bean bags at a target.
It is easy to imagine Little Red Riding Hood emerging from the grove—there is a fairy tale beauty to the property, especially when the hills are still green. I visited during the winter, so the lavender was not in bloom, but if you wait until late May, the winery explodes with color. They have Lavender Days events that celebrate the property with live music and tastings—check the events calendar to find one that appeals to you. There is limited parking, I would recommend arriving early.
The gift shop is carefully curated, with helpful wine accessories such as the Menu Breather Decanter, which allows you to aerate an entire bottle of wine, then pour it back into the bottle, lovely cheese sets, wine pairing recipe books, and a wide array of lavender products created by the winery from their gardens. If you need to buy the perfect gift for a wine lover, they are a great place to look, and the prices are reasonable. I have been to a lot of different wineries in the area, and I think this is the best gift shop in Santa Rosa / Kenwood / Glen Ellen.
Matanzas Creek is primarily known for their sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and merlot. I chose to try their wine and cheese pairing flight, which was $25 and well worth the experience. Be ready to wait, they do not have quick service, but I did not mind, since it gave an opportunity to enjoy wandering about the grounds.
2014 Sauvignon Blanc – Knights Valley Helena Bench
It had delicate notes of smoke and fruit in the aroma, with a mineral bite to it on the finish; adding the soft cheese allowed a gentler, more refreshing flavor.
2013 Journey Chardonnay
On its own, I did not find it remarkable, what brought out the flavor was adding orange honey glazed almonds, which blossomed the wine into a luscious nutty flavor.
2013 Cabernet Franc / Malbec – Sonoma County
The nose had a strong berry aroma that was delightful, I could have smelled it all day! The wine itself was unfortunately extremely tannic, but the cherry jam pairing complimented the flavor for an intense combination.
2012 Merlot – Bennet Valley, Jackson Park
I am not a fan of Merlot, and this wine changed my rather biased opinion. It is smooth with a beautiful earthiness to it without that odd aftertaste that many merlots suffer from. It was definitely my favorite of the flight, leading me to also try their 2012 Sonoma County merlot. You can taste anything on their wine list, because they have a Coravin Model 8 available, which can pour wine without opening the bottle, rather a nifty tool to have around!
A quick fifteen minutes from the freeway through quintessential Sonoma County landscapes, this quiet little winery is well worth visiting, especially if you love red wine and are tired of endless pinot noir.
Why visit Matanzas Creek Winery?
- Beautiful lavender fields
- Casual wine and food pairings and summer events
- Postcard perfect creek trail and grounds to explore
- Gift shop with high quality books, cheese boards, and gifts