Scribe Winery Review
Address: 2300 Napa Rd. Sonoma,California 95476.
Phone Number: 707-939-1858
Tasting Hours: By appt.
Region: Sonoma Coast AVA, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Anthony Marocco
Review Date: 5/17/2014
Reviewer: Anthony Marocco
When most visitors arrive at a winery, the last thing they really focus on is the history of the land… unless they are visiting Scribe Winery. Most wineries also have tasting rooms where large groups flock around a small bar, jam through the doorways, litter the grounds with blankets, or stand outside until there is room for them to enter. Scribe has none of any of this; in fact, you are required to make an appointment to visit, and a fee of $25 is required. Scribe provides visitors with a truly unique experience.
So how did Scribe Winery get its start? The original land that Scribe has carved a small portion out of was purchased by Emil Dresel in 1858, which encompassed around 400 acres. Dresel was born to a famous sparkling wine producing family in Weisenheim, Germany. After surveying the land, the first German varieties imported to the United States were planted in the form of Riesling and Sylvaner. Emil and his brother, Julius, whom later succeeded Emil, were true pioneers and industry leaders in viticulture during this time. In 1878, Phyllexora bore down on California vineyards, so Julius imported Vitis Riparia cutting from Missouri and grafted the root stock to their vines for disease prevention and was the first in the state to do so. This grafting system is still used today.
In 1891, Julius’ son, Carl, took over the reins of the family business and continued the success story until Prohibition hit in the 1920s and their wine producing future came to a screeching halt. The land was later used as a massive turkey farm for most of the past century. Fast forwarding to just a few short years ago (2009), when Andrew and Adam Mariani purchased the property. They began to restore the property with the goal of returning it to its original form as created by the Dresel family. They even restored the Dresel’s home, and it become the main winery building with a tasting room and storage. Scribe believes a visit to the winery should be a memorable experience. They want people to enjoy their wine as close to where it’s produced as possible.
The brothers also believe in organic farming, meaning no chemicals or pesticides, as they strategically welcome certain birds and insects into the vineyard in order to maintain the untouched ecosystem they love so much. This particular practice they call “Wild Farming” – where all life can come together and enhance one another’s enjoyment of the land. On their estate, they have planted 6 to 7 acres of Riesling and 10 to 12 acres of Sylvaner, as well as additional blocks of Chardonnay. The overall production of Scribe yields around five to six thousand cases. The name “Scribe” was stumbled upon as the brothers attempted to come up with a name. They decided that they themselves were “scribes” of the land and simply writing a new chapter in the long history of the property.
As you walk up from the driveway, you are greeted by the gorgeous, renovated house-turned-winery and the plateau above the vineyard that is littered with picnic tables. Gorgeous bouquets decorate the tables, and winery historians stand by awaiting your appointment. We chose a table that sat just on the top of the incline to the vineyard below, shaded by an old tree with a tire swing hanging from it, and were joined by our winery historian with a cheese and charcuterie board. The views from our table were spectacular as the estate vineyard just below was well into its growth, and we were surrounded by much more acreage from the local vineyard co-op. It is a stunning view from the top of the hillside to the road below where remnants of the property’s past as a turkey farm are visible.
Our guide opened up with much of the previously stated history, and we began our tasting with a couple of Scribe’s bone-dry whites, starting with their 2013 Estate Sylvaner ($38). This crisp, dry white boasts light citrus, peach blossom, and grassy aromas while the palate adds in notes of apple blossom and minerality. We absolutely had to bring a bottle of it home with us. Next was the estate-grown 2012 Riesling ($38), which, like the Sylvaner, is bone dry with no residual sugar. Youthful with some fragrant notes of floral, lemon zest, and minerality greeting the nose, the palate lays out some tart lime and apple flavors. The finish is dominated by clean and crisp flavors of citrus and mineral with slightly tart acidity. Overall, a pretty good Riesling if you are into a more mineral-driven and citrus-lined flavor profile. Following the Riesling was the estate-grown 2012 Chardonnay ($45). This Chardonnay was fermented in neutral oak to limit oak-related flavors. Despite the neutral oak, the wine has creamy vanilla and white rose pedal aromas and flavors and a soft, round structure, perfectly balanced with a touch of acidity. An overall great Chardonnay.
Up next is the 2012 Pinot Noir ($42), one of Scribe’s two reds. Fermented in stainless for a short stint and then transferred to neutral oak, this Pinot boasts copious amounts of red berry and cedar from the nose to the palate, while adding in some earthy undertones and finishing with dusty tannins. A light, yet fresh cedar-lined conclusion. To finish our experience, we tasted the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon WAPPO Blend ($66). This Cabernet truly took my palate by surprised and, of course, turned out to be the only wine that was unavailable unless I joined the wine club. With only 9 barrels produced of this red gold, this wine could go down as one of the best Cabernet Sauvignons that we tasted in Sonoma. Spiced plum, blackberry and black cherry aromas explode out of the glass, while dusty, gritty tannins lay out the red carpet for lush, dark fruit, cedar, leather and hints of toasty tobacco. If you are into lengthy, warming finishes, this Cabernet will exceed all expectations and may actually convince you to join their wine club in the process. It is an outstanding wine and well worth the price.
We left with a whole new appreciation for what they do at Scribe Winery. If you are in Sonoma, you absolutely cannot pass up the opportunity to taste at Scribe. For views, historical significance, and darn good wines, this place will not disappoint.