By Alexa Chipman July 29, 2017
This industrial chic tasting room at Madrone Estate is surrounded by relaxing outdoor tables in an olive grove, near cottage gardens and vineyards. Their state-of-the-art crush equipment is also used by neighbor Little Vineyards Family Winery, which borders the property.
Valley of the Moon Winery has a sophisticated tasting room with ample, easily accessible parking and sumptuous accompanying food boards. Choose from a spicy charcuterie of herbal infused vegetables, olives and tempting meat, their locally sourced cheese board or a chocolate flight. They are a great place to stop by for a pairing platter and wine-by-the-glass. In addition, they offer walking tours, gourmet lunch boxes, and wine education classes.
Madrone wine is excellent, with local favorites like dry rosé and zinfandel. Their contemporary, friendly interior design is appealing and includes a well appointed gift shop with accessories like Coravin refills, jam and WineSkins to safely transport bottles home.
2015 Madrone Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)
Oaked for eight months, it is a direct wine with a pleasant tang to it that feels natural. The grapes speak for themselves with a turpentine aroma and light foggy color.
2014 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)
Aged for longer, it is an intense white wine with orange zest to it that is bitter but not overwhelming; you get more of the oak flavor from it. The gentle aroma speaks of ripe pears.
2016 Rosé (Sonoma Valley)
This recent release is a blend of malbec and sangiovese with a deep plum color and beautiful floral and raspberry aroma. The flavor has a hint of strawberry and peach that is just the right amount of dryness. Fruit forward in taste, it can hold its own with food, but is just as good without—a versatile, lovely summer wine. It is not offered automatically in tastings currently, so you will need to request it.
2014 Madrone Old Vine Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley)
There are seven vineyards on the Madrone Estate, and one of them is 122 years old—the second oldest in the area. This was my favorite in the tasting flight, with a blackberry aroma that wafts into a flavor of zesty sweetness with a long finish to it. High in alcohol, it is excellent with soft goat cheese to mellow it out.
2012 Madrone Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley)
From the Old Madrone Road vineyard planted around 70 years ago, it has a vanilla smoke aroma, rather like a holiday scented candle. The flavor is filled with distinctive pepper notes, and this wine has a stage presence. I enjoyed it with their strawberry jam and hard, spicy cheese that is offered with the cheese platter.
2013 Barbera (Sonoma Valley)
It is rather delicate for a barbera, with a pleasing cherry aroma and smoky finish. This wine would go very well with dinner, although it does not stand out on its own.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County)
The light fruit aroma delves into a dark, powerful wine with blackberry and tobacco with a pleasant oaked finish. If you enjoy more tannic wine, this is definitely one to try; I think it would do well with a rich chocolate accompanying it.
Valley of the Moon is perhaps the most sophisticated tasting room in Glen Ellen, with solidly delicious wine and atmosphere. They are the place to be for impressing your out of town friends or for a quick stop in wine country without driving all the way to Napa.