Roadhouse Winery Review
Address: 240 Center St. Healdsburg,California 95448.
Phone Number: 707-433-0433
Tasting Hours: Mon-Thurs 12:00-6:00, Fri-Sun 12:00-7:00 and by appt.
Region: Sonoma Coast AVA, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 6/1/2013
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Theres a lot to see while wandering around the square in Healdsburg, California shops, restaurants, gourmet grocery stores, and not least by any means, wine tasting rooms. So we expected to taste some wine when we ventured into Healdsburg on a drizzly Memorial Day. We left the square with an outstanding bottle of Pinot Noir and the feeling that wed discovered something remarkable.
The Experience:  My fiancé and I were on a wine tasting trip with another couple (were still not sure if theyre enabling us or were enabling them). At any rate, wed split up, and our friends had gone off in search of cheese and salami at the local grocery mart. They hadnt been gone long when I got a text message: We found pinot noir. And youre going to like it. Come now!
So, we came now.
The Place:  Roadhouse Winery doesnt have its own vineyard; they source their grapes from the Dry Creek Valley, the Russian River Valley, and surrounding areas. So the small tasting room a block off the main square in Healdsburg is THE storefront. Besides the sign out front that said wine tasting, there wasnt too much exciting to look at; a standing bar, some maps on the walls, and what was probably a storage and production room behind the bar area. The four bottles displayed on the bar were the star of the show.
The People:  We had the pleasure of visiting with Allison as she staffed the bar. She continued the relaxed and laid-back feel of the entire place, but at the same time she knew a great deal about the wine she was pouring: where it came from, how many cases were made, and what food each wine would pair well with.
Roadhouse Winerys literature talks about two guys, a pool table, some barrels, and a love for pinot noir. From the website, I gathered that the two guys are both named Eric. They werent around on this particular day, having left Allison quite astutely in charge, but the place had the feel of a place where two guys would hang around and shoot pool and discuss this crazy idea of starting a winery.
The Wines:  Fittingly, the wines are the stars of the show at Roadhouse. I was shocked to learn that the winery has only been in business since 2010, for these wines dont have any sense of the young nature of wine that often comes with a young winery. We tasted two Pinot Noirs, a Grenache, and a Zinfandel; it was the yellow label Pinot that caused my friends to summon me from across the square. Allison told us it was sourced from numerous vineyards as opposed to the orange label Pinot, which is from a single vineyard and it was one of the most drinkable Pinots we have had in a long time. Its very smooth, with a great mouth feel, and an equally pleasant and smooth finish. The orange label Pinot got 95 points from Pinot Report. I liked both of them, but in my mind (mouth) the yellow label had a slight edge.
Then we had the Dry Creek Valley Grenache. The Roadhouse brochure describes it as the perfect picnic wine, and I can see that either room temperature or slightly chilled. The Zinfandel was really nice too, with hints of baking spices and a nice long finish. I do like Zinfandels, but in this case the Pinot won my heart.
Insiders Tip:  When I commented on the lack of white wines, Allison mentioned that Roadhouse has a Sauvignon Blanc coming out in the next few months. Also, they dont make many cases of any particular wine, usually between 100 and 300 cases. So if you find one you like, stock up!