Lasseter Family Winery Review
Address: 1 Vintage Ln. Glen Ellen,California 95442.
Phone Number: 707-933-2800
Tasting Hours: By appt. daily at 10:00
Region: Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Sherrie Perkovich
Review Date: 3/28/2015
Reviewer: Sherrie Perkovich
Famed animated movie producer John Lassetter (Pixar) and his wife own and operate Lassetter Family Winery. John and Nancy have a deep love and passion for wine that dates back to the 1980s when they traveled through France by train. Their love for wine eventually drove them to Sonoma in 1993, where they discovered that they not only had a passion for drinking wine, but also for making it. What began as a bit of garage wine with a group of friends, eventually became Lasseter Family Winery. John and Nancy both adore the old-world style of making wine, and it was essential that they team up with a winemaker that held this same value. They found her in Julie Iantosca. Julie, John and Nancy are hand crafting lovely blends in a true old-world fashion, blending the best of new world California fruit with long-time French traditions.
The Winery:  This truly is a hidden gem in Sonoma Valley. The directions to get to the winery might sound something like this: head north up Highway 12 from the town of Sonoma towards Glen Ellen. Youll reach a stoplight about ten minutes up the road with a sign that points left to head to Glen Ellen. Take a left there, but then take an immediate right down this heavily traveled, pothole-filled road that is lined with trees. Bump and feel your way around that road for about another five minutes, then youll get to an intersection that doesnt look like much of an intersection just past an elementary school. Turn left there. Next it will look like you are taking an immediate left around the back of the school on what appears to be a gravel road. This is the correct road. Head past the back of the school about another five minutes and you will come to beautifully ornate gates that are the entrance to Lasseter Winery. Buzz the gate and you will enter into a magical paradise that is hidden from the very nearby Highway 12.
The winery grounds are serene with rolling vineyards, appropriately landscaped architecture and a masterfully done main winery estate. Winery dogs Mocha and Frank will happily greet and guide you as you walk up to the main building for your scheduled tasting appointment.
Wine Tasting Details:  All appointments begin with a walking tour of the winery and vineyards, taking in the barrel room, tank room, crushpad, and eventually to the wine tasting room. You will taste wines along the way, and are often welcomed with a taste of something refreshing like their Enjoué Rosé. Their wine tasting room is gorgeous. Lasseter offers a wonderful, seated comparative tasting experience in an elegantly designed room with a large dining table where guests sit and enjoy their tasting. Unless you book a large group of eight, it is common that you will be at the table with other guests (just like in France, salon-style). Each wine is paired with local artisan cheeses that really bring the wine to life. This is an elegant wine tasting experience for serious wine lovers; I would not recommend you bring children, best to leave them at home. During the 90 minute tasting and tour, you will taste approximately 5-6 different wines. The cost of the wine runs from $28 to $54 per bottle. Tastings and tours are open by appointment only, and it is best to call at least two weeks in advance to ensure you are able to get in on the date and time you desire.
The Wines:  Winemaker Julia Iantosca does a wonderful job of hand crafting her wines. The focus for now is mostly on red varietals, but they have plans to add a white, and they also have a recently added rosé called Enjoué that is elegant and delicious. As each wine is handcrafted, so are the wine names, labels and the stories behind them. Iantosca blends the wines beautifully with elegance, finesse and style. Internationally recognized Sonoma Valley artist Dennis Ziemienski creates all of the labels to pair with the wines, and the labels possess a retro style that suits Lasseter well. As with any true expression of art, with these wines it is an entire sensory experience.