Comstock Wines Review
Address: 1290 Dry Creek Rd Healdsburg,California 95448.
Phone Number: 707-473-8027
Tasting Hours: 10:00-5:00
Region: Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Review Date: 3/18/2017
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Bob and Sandy Comstock, who have been vintners since 2002, recently decided to live the dream of owning a small, family winery. Comstock Wines, which opened in 2015 and is managed by daughter Kelly Comstock Farris, is the culmination of successful winegrowing turned winemaking. Enlisting the winemaking skills of longtime winemaker Chris Russi, the Comstocks have created the ultimate Dry Creek Valley destination which includes fantastic wines, a state-of-the-art winery, beautiful vineyards, and a luxurious guest residence, all located immediately outside of the lovely town of Healdsburg. During my visit, I had the amazing opportunity to experience every facet of Comstock Wines over the course of two days, including a private tasting with Russi in the tasting room.
Once outside of Healdsburg, the Dry Creek Valley countryside appears quickly, and it’s easy to forget how close to town you are. This was the case for me, especially when I noticed that I had no mobile phone service. As I approached Comstock, I jumped out of my car to take a photo of the sign in front of the winery and facility. At first glance, one notices Comstocks color scheme of black and red, from this sign that graces the entrance, to the inside of the tasting room, to the labels, and even to the game of corn toss outside. This color combination feels both powerful and modern, an apt reflection of Comstocks successful entry into hospitality and production. Inside the tasting room, I was greeted warmly by the entire staff, who alerted Russi to my arrival and poured me a taste of the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley while I waited.
Russi crafts cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, sauvignon blanc, viognier, and zinfandel from Comstocks vineyards as well as premium vineyard sources throughout Sonoma County. During our tasting, I quickly learned that he makes wines in the style I enjoy, wines that showcase lively fruit and vineyard terroir. Under his direction, grapes for his wines are picked at lower sugar levels to retain vibrant acidity. In the cellar, he is a fan of sur lie aging, so much so that its not uncommon for him to age the wines unracked (unfiltered and unfined) until he bottles, which gives the wines a plush mouthfeel and lingering flavor.
My favorite white wine of the tasting was the 2013 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, whose grapes are sourced from Sangiacomo Family Vineyards. When Russi handed me my glass, I hesitated a bit and said, I am not often a fan of California chardonnay. When he explained his aforementioned winemaking philosophy, I breathed a sigh of relief and took my first sip. This wine showed brightness and depth, a balance of juicy citrus, baking spices, and a lush, textured mouthfeel. It was the wine to which I returned over and over again later that evening at the winemaker dinner I attended. It was the ideal pairing for the creamy, Bodega Bay seafood chowder we enjoyed.
My favorite red wine was the 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel Russian River Valley, whose grapes are sourced from Russis small, organically-farmed vineyard. This wine was a beautiful, cool-climate reflection of its Russian River vineyard source: a combination of power and finesse, of fruit and earth, with a subtle, yet spicy, warming finish. When I learned that he tends to this vineyard himself, I immediately volunteered to assist with harvest and I meant it. There is nothing more inspiring than following a wines creation from vineyard to bottle.
As the tasting ended, I realized that this would certainly not be my last Comstock experience. The winerys motto, We are All Comstock Wines, was evident upon arrival and throughout my experience. The freshness and modernity of this up-and-coming winery are heightened by Comstocks welcoming and warm hospitality and made irresistible by its personable winemaker and lovely wines. I cannot wait until my next visit.