By Alexa Chipman February 7, 2017
Settled in an grove of majestic oaks between fields of lavender and gently sloped vineyards, Matanzas Creek Winery’s gentle stream runs down the property, forming miniature cascades. The tasting room architecture of wood and stone is fitting for the environment, with small seating areas scattered throughout to enjoy the scenery. They are set up for a relaxing 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 mythic 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 refreshing purple hues. 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 the area.
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. It was a drizzly day which added a magical feel of haze and dewy colors to the property.
2014 Sauvignon Blanc – Knights Valley Helena Bench
The soft cheese in their pairing gave a gentler, less acidic flavor, allowing the notes of smoky citrus and dried apricot to take center stage.
2013 Journey Chardonnay
On its own, I did not find it remarkable, what brought out the flavor was adding glazed almonds, which blossomed the wine into a luscious mixed nut and orange zest flavor.
2013 Cabernet Franc / Malbec – Sonoma County
The nose had a strong berry and dark cherry aroma that was delightful, I could have smelled it all day! The wine itself was unfortunately extremely tannic, but the jam pairing complimented the flavor for an intense combination.
2012 Merlot – Bennett Valley, Jackson Park
I am not a fan of merlot, and this wine changed my rather biased opinion. Its chewy earthiness with chocolate was definitely my favorite of the flight, leading me to also try their 2012 Sonoma County Merlot which had a cheaper price point, but was not as impressive.
You can ask to 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! I use one all the time at home when I can’t decide which wine to open.
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