Address: 766 Westside Rd. Healdsburg,California 95448.
Phone Number: 707-431-8000
Tasting Hours: Thurs-Mon 11:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Review Date: 8/7/2016
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
In August 2015, I was invited by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley to participate in a virtual Twitter tasting of three wines. One of the wines I had the opportunity to taste was the 2013 DaVero Estate Altobasso ($70), a blend of 60% sangiovese from their Hawk Mountain Vineyard and 40% barbera from their Valladares Estate. The wine was a game changer in that it caused me to explore more Italian varietal wines. From this point on, DaVero was on my radar. When a friend asked me suggestions for winery visits in Sonoma County, I offered DaVero as an option, even though I had not been there before, because the Altobasso made such an impact on me. When he added DaVeros private seated tasting to his itinerary, I decided to join him and another friend for the visit.
The farm was founded in 1990 by Ridgely Evers and Colleen McGlynn with the planting of olive trees imported from a 350-year-old Tuscan estate. In 2000, they decided to grow climate-appropriate grapes in Dry Creek Valley and planted their first vineyard with sangiovese. In looking at a map provided by DaVero, one immediately notices that this area of California and much of Italy both have a Mediterranean (Csa) climate, one that experiences hot, dry summers. Therefore, they decided to produce Italian varietal wines such as barbera, carignano, dolcetto, malvasia bianca, moscato, primitivo, sagrantino, sangiovese, and vermentino, as well as award-winning olive oil. The farm is certified Demeter Biodynamic® and includes farm animals: chickens, pigs, and sheep. Many of the wines are produced from their own estate, although they do source a few grape varieties from vineyards whose farming methods mirror their own. Everything about DaVero appealed to me. When I arrived at DaVeros humble farm, I suspected that this would be another impactful wine experience.
We were greeted in the tasting room with glasses of the 2015 Vermentino, Schatz Family Vineyard, Consumnes River AVA, San Joaquin County ($30), and directed to a small building in the middle of the winerys insectary gardens where we were hosted by Andrew Hock, the winerys operations and marketing director. He poured us fresh glasses of the vermentino and told us a bit about how wines are produced at DaVero. White wines are still foot-stomped and see at least two days of skin contact. Wine production techniques include dry farming, hand-harvesting, wild yeast fermentation, and neutral oak aging to showcase fruit and vineyard terroir. Andrew also took us on a brief tour of the insectary gardens and farm. We were among the first visitors to see the farms new piglets. The vermentino was the perfect accompaniment to our exploration of the property on a warm, summer day, with its floral aromatics and mouthwatering palate of tart citrus, minerality, and spice.
The second wine we tasted was the 2013 Carignano, Testa Family Vineyard, Mendocino County ($38). Paired with the Carignano was a tasting of the 2015 DaVero Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($32), which is hand-harvested, unfiltered, and cold-pressed. This delicious olive oil coated our palates, softening tannins and showcasing the carignanos bright, red berry flavors. Our third tasting was the 2014 Primitivo, Ponzo Vineyard, Russian River Valley ($48), paired with the 2015 DaVero Farms Meyer Lemon Olive Oil ($38), which is produced by the emulsion of lemon rinds and olives. This buttery olive oil enhanced the rich mouthfeel and fruit forwardness of the primitivo. Lastly, but certainly not least, we tasted the 2013 Estate Sangiovese, Hawk Mountain Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley ($75). The sangiovese reminded me what I loved about the Altobasso: a textured palate of black fruit, earthiness, leather, and food-friendly acidity. Toward the end of the tasting, a woman brought us a plate of charcuterie and cheese, completely unexpected. We didnt know, but it was Colleen McGlynn, who slipped out as quickly as she slipped in. We continued to speak with Andrew about upcoming wines such as greco, fiano, pallagrello bianco, coda di volpe, barbera, montepulciano, nebbiolo, pinot nero, and cannonau and concluded our experience with a tasting of their imported, 15-year balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy, which was quite stunning, especially if youve never had genuine, aged Italian balsamic.
We returned to the tasting room to make some purchases and while there, I noticed a DaVero Pollo Rosso wine jug. Andrew explained to me that they offer a non-vintage red wine in the jug for $26, refillable for only $12.99, with $2 of the purchase price donated to a local charity of ones choice. It felt very Italian to taste my first jug wine, a lovely, everyday red. I added it to my purchases of the magical 2013 Estate Altobasso and the 2015 Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, to ensure my return to DaVero for refills, of course. At this moment, I realized the significance of DaVeros slogan, “Grow what belongs here. Be patient.” At DaVero, they have elected to produce the best of Italy in its sister climate of Dry Creek Valley, unhurriedly, with great attention to quality, authenticity, land, and community.