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.
Their seasonal seated lunch includes a brief tour of the property and time to converse with the chef, who will regale you with stories, like the time neighboring winery dogs went on a quest through the vineyards following the scent of Madrone’s grill to beg for scraps.
I highly enjoy their wine, with favorites like the dry rosé and different types of 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.
2014 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)
The gentle ripe pear and peach aroma becomes an intense orange zest that is bitter, but not overwhelming, influenced by oak flavor.
2016 Rosé (Sonoma Valley)
This recent release is a blend of malbec and sangiovese with a deep plum color and beautiful floral and crisp raspberry aroma. There are hints of early harvest strawberries and peaches with just the right amount of dryness. Fruit forward in taste, it can hold its own with food—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 was planted 122 years ago—the second oldest in the area. This was my favorite in the tasting flight, with a blackberry aroma that wafts into zesty sweetness of baking spices with a long finish to it. High in alcohol, it is excellent with soft goat cheese to mellow it out. I tend to order it by the glass whenever I visit the tasting room.
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 that has been burning for a few hours. The flavor is filled with distinctive pepper notes, with quite the stage presence. I enjoyed it with their strawberry jam and hard, spicy cheese.
2013 Barbera (Sonoma Valley)
It is rather delicate for a barbera, with a pleasing ripe cherry aroma with plum jam and toasted finish. This wine would go well with dinner, although it does not stand out on its own.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County)
This is a dark, powerful wine of crushed blackberries and tobacco with a pleasant oaked finish. If you enjoy 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 one of the most sophisticated tasting rooms 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. I find myself driving to the tasting room on many weekends for a cheese board and wine flight; it has become my go to winery in Glen Ellen.