Peterson Winery

March Winery Spotlight

Peterson winery logoJoin us for a Winery Spotlight tasting event, featuring Peterson wines from Sonoma California.

Peterson Vineyard

Peterson Winery has been producing wine in Dry Creek Valley for 30 years and, like most wineries in the Valley, produces Zinfandel as well as other wines. Yet a closer look shows that is where the similarities end.

Fred Peterson and familyOwner Fred Peterson is an iconoclast with an old world winemaking philosophy and a reverence for sustainable farming. The Peterson approach is to capture the essence of vintage and vineyard—a philosophy they call Zero Manipulation—with low tech, yet high touch, to produce wines of a place, wines with soul. The evolution of Peterson wines and winemaking accelerated when Fred’s son Jamie became assistant winemaker in the summer of 2002. In 2006, after moving from the tiny red barn on Lytton Springs to Timber Crest Farms, Jamie was given the overall responsibilities as winemaker.


Fred camePeterson winery team to Dry Creek Valley in 1983, working to find and develop world-class vineyard properties. It was an exciting time for Fred, being able to select ideal vineyard locations and then plant the appropriate grape variety and clone for each site. The vineyards Fred developed in Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma County), including on Bradford Mountain, began producing amazing fruit. The next step was a natural one; Fred wanted to make wine from the fruits of his labor (sorry about the pun, it was too good to pass up).

In 1987, all the pieces fell into place for Fred, and he launched Peterson Winery. For nearly twenty years, the winery was located in an old, red barn tucked away in the vineyards off of Lytton Springs Road. It was beautiful place to make wine, but the antique structure began to show its age. In late 2005, Fred seized an opportunity to move into a newer facility on Dry Creek Road, at Timber Crest Farms. This new, more convenient location offers more offices and space, plus a room for visitors to taste the wines.

Peterson wine labelsOver the years, Fred has befriended grape growers who share his goals and values; to grow grapes that reflect a sense of place. The Dry Creek Valley encompasses one of the greatest ranges of microclimates for such a small area in the world, making it possible to grow many grape varieties, with world-class quality. Peterson Winery now makes an average of 8000 cases annually, all in many small lots from the like-minded growers he now calls his friends.

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Peterson red barn Sonoma

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Winery Spotlight Tasting

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Zinfandel Wine Cupcakes

• 1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ devil’s food cake mix
• ¾ cup water
• ¼ cup Zinfandel wine
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
•  6 cups powdered sugar
•  1/3 cup butter, softened
•  1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
•  1/8 teaspoon salt
•  ¼ cup Zinfandel wine
• Chocolate curls and/or Valentine candies

DIRECTIONS:Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make cake batter as directed on box, using cake mix, water,  ¼ cup wine, oil and eggs. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full).
Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, cocoa and salt with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat in ¼ cup wine. If frosting is too thick, beat in more wine a few drops at a time. Frost cupcakes. Garnish with chocolate curls and /or Valentine candies.
24 servings. Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker.

Cline_Sonoma_ZinfandelBold_stickerCline Family Cellars
Sonoma County, CA

Occupying 50 acres in the heart of Sonoma Valley, the Indian Springs Vineyard produces the grapes for Cline Cellars Sonoma Zinfandel. The vineyard sits on the west side of the Valley of the Moon, near Kenwood, California, and the vines are currently being converted from trellis to head-training and are lightly irrigated. This region of central Sonoma County is known for its rich, loamy soil, and the resulting fruit has big berry flavors and firm tannins. Individual lots of fruit for this Zinfandel were harvested separately according to ripeness and balance of acidity. This wine pairs well with pork shoulder, roasted root vegetables, or red curry chicken.


Winemaker, Charlie Tsegeletos

“This Sonoma Zinfandel shows concentrated spicy strawberry, firm tannin structure and a balanced acidity. It has a mouth coating richness and depth and a subtle vanilla quality that compliments the dark fruit flavors.” – Charlie Tsegeletos, winemaker

Winemaker: Charlie Tsegeletos
Appellation: Sonoma County, CA
Varietal Blend:  100% Zinfandel
16.0% alcohol / volume, 3.85 pH
Critical Acclaim:
Reviewed and approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine

Alexander Valley Vineyards

May Winery Spotlight
Tasting Event
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Alexander Valley Vineyards
Sonoma, California

AlexanderValley_VineyardSonoma County’s Alexander Valley was mostly prune orchards and pastures when, in 1962, Maggie and Harry Wetzel purchased a large portion of a homestead built by Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s nineteenth century namesake. Here, in a rural community of family farms and ranches, the Wetzel family settled. They raised livestock, cultivated bountiful gardens and restored Alexander’s original home, making it the center of family life.
With an eye to their neighbors in nearby Napa Valley, the Wetzels boldly planted premium grape varieties, among the first in the area. Then the family built a small winery and Hank Wetzel, oldest son of Maggie and Harry, produced Alexander Valley Vineyard’s first wine in 1975.  His wife Linda set up the books and managed the winery office.  AVV quickly established a reputation for estate grown wines with distinctive varietal character. Acclaimed for luscious Chardonnay and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley Vineyards brought recognition to the appellation and became a leading winery in Sonoma County.
Today the Alexander Valley is a prominent appellation known worldwide as the source of rich, age worthy wines. As the twenty-first century begins, the Wetzel Family Estate grows fourteen grape varieties, on diverse sites stretching from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides. Each grape variety is matched to a specific soil type and exposure. Vineyard Manager Mark Houser and Winemaker Kevin Hall work as a team to maximize fruit flavor in the vineyard and to create balanced wines that capture the grapes’ varietal characteristics.

Linda and Hank Wetzel

2015 marks the family’s 53rd year on the historic property and will be the winery’s 41st vintage.  The 3rd generation of the Wetzel Family produces award winning wines that are sold throughout the United States and was voted Sonoma’s Best Winery in 2011 by Bay Area wine lovers. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot constitute over one-half of total production.  Other varietals include Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.  Proprietary wines include CYRUS, their limited production Bordeaux style blend, Gewurz, and trio of Zins: Temptation Zinfandel, Redemption Zinfandel and Sin Zin, their voluptuous Alexander Valley Zinfandel.

Please join us for a Winery Spotlight tasting, featuring AVV wines.


Estate Chardonnay
Estate Cabernet
Estate Merlot
Pinot Noir

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Teriyaki Glazed Spare Ribs

•  2 (4 pound) racks pork spareribs, trimmed of excess fat
•   ½ cup Chinese Five Spice
•  Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

•  1 cup low sodium soy sauce
•  1 cup grapefruit juice
•  ¼ cup hoisin sauce
•  ¼ cup ketchup
•  3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
•  ¼ cup brown sugar
•  1 fresh red chili, minced
•  2 garlic cloves, smashed
•  2 inch piece fresh ginger, whacked open with the flat side of a knife
•  2 tablespoons sesame seeds, for garnish
•  Chopped fresh Cilantro and green onion, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rub the ribs all over with the five-spice powder, then season generously with salt and pepper. Put the ribs in a single layer in a roasting pan and slow roast until they are almost tender, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile make the glaze. In a large bowl combine the soy sauce, grapefruit juice, hoisin sauce, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, chili, garlic and ginger in a saucepan. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens then remove from the heat. Strain the sauce and reserve.

When the ribs are about 30 minutes away from being done, baste them with the teriyaki sauce. Cook until the meat pulls easily from the bone.

Just before serving, preheat the broiler. Baste the ribs again and brown them under the broiler for 5 to 8 minutes (or to desired level of crispness, keep an eye on them, they can burn quick). Separate the ribs with a cleaver or sharp knife, pile them on a platter and pour over remaining sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, cilantro and green onion as desired.  Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence.

LimitedSyrGren-prnt Cambridge Cellars Limited
Syrah Grenache
Dry Creek Valley, CA

Cambridge California Cellars strive to produce wines that embody the designations from where they are grown.  Their “Limited” wines represent those rare, exceptional lots from distinguished appellations throughout California’s wine country.  The Syrah Grenache is sourced from Dry Creek Valley, specifically the Simpson Vineyard that sits on the northern end with a cooler climate.  Situated between the Russian River and Lake Sonoma, the vines are well-irrigated and produce ripe, plump styles of wine.  Most known for growing exceptional Zinfandel, Dry Creek has expanded its reputation over the years and is now growing excellent Rhone and Bordeaux varietals.

DougFrost“Syrah and Grenache, these two grapes play well together. Grenache for its raspberry, white pepper and mint notes and Syrah for its more brooding black pepper along with darker fruits like cherry and plum. This is just tannic enough to ask for food to accompany it.” – Doug Frost, MS, MW

Winemaker: Douglas Danielak

Appellation: Sonoma County, California
Varietal Blend:  60% Syrah, 40% Grenache
Analysis: 15.9% alcohol / volume

Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut with Asparagus Sauce

Halibut•  5 tablespoons unsalted butter
•  4 scallions, thinly sliced
•  1 pound asparagus, spears sliced ½ inch thick, tips separate
•  1 cup water
•  1 cup packed baby spinach
•  salt and fresh ground pepper
•  8 thick slices of prosciutto
•  4 skinless halibut fillets (about 5 ounces each)
•  8 small sage leaves, halved length wise
•  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the scallions and cook over low heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus spears and the water and cook until tender and the water reduces to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Puree the mixture in a blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and keep warm.

Arrange the prosciutto slices in pairs, overlapping them slightly. Place a halibut fillet in the center of the prosciutto and top each fillet with 2 sage leaves. Season with salt and pepper and wrap the prosciutto around the fish.

In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in olive oil. Add the halibut and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the fish and add the asparagus tips to the skillet. Transfer to the oven and roast the prosciutto wrapped halibut for 5 minutes.

Spoon the asparagus spinach puree onto plates, arrange the prosciutto wrapped halibut and asparagus tips alongside and serve immediately.  Recipe courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine.

TIerraYMarSB Silky_StickerTierra y Mar
Big Ranch Road Vineyard
Sauvignon Blanc
Napa Valley, CA

Tierra y Mar wines are produced from vineyards situated in select parts of Napa and Sonoma.  This Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from Big Ranch Road, in the Oakville District of Napa Valley. Oakville is known for its success with Bordeaux varietals, which includes Sauvignon Blanc. Warmer temperatures and gravelly, sandy soils help produce excellent Sauvignon Blanc.   Delicate straw and alluring aromatics shine in this racy stunner.  Notes of dandelion, honeysuckle and bright pineapple open on the nose with a mouth-feel of fresh fruits like green apple and pear.  This wine offers great acidity and a long fruit finish with a touch of a fresh herbs and clover rounding out the palette.

DougFrost“If all you know of Sauvignon Blanc is its herbaceous New Zealand side, this easy drinker offers another view: honeydew melons, red apples and even peaches to go along with the hints of lemongrass and chervil. It’s a tiny bit sweet but that just adds to the easy, tasty character.” – Doug Frost, MS, MW

Winemaker: Douglas Danielak
Appellation: Napa Valley, California
Varietal Blend:  100% Sauvignon Blanc
Analysis: 14.4% alcohol / volume

Duck Breast, Lentil and Parsnip Salad

•  ½ cup French green lentils
•  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
•  2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
•  Salt and fresh ground pepper
•  One medium parsnip (about 8 ounces) peeled
•  Vegetable oil for frying
•  Four 5-6 ounce skinless duck breasts (or chicken breasts)
•  5 ounces mesclun greens (10 loosely packed cups)

Put the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until tender, about 20 min.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Drain the lentils and return them to the saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper and toss lentils well. Cover and keep warm.

Using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the parsnip lengthwise into strips. In a large skillet, heat ½ inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add one-fourth of the parsnips to the oil at a time and fry over moderate heat until browned, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the parsnips to paper towels to drain. Lightly season the parsnips with salt.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet and heat until shimmering. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until nicely browned outside and medium rare inside, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the duck to a carving board and let sit for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl toss the mesclun greens with the lentils. Slice the duck breasts in thin strips crosswise. Add the duck to the salad along with the remaining vinaigrette and toss well. Add some crisp parsnips to the salad and toss again and top with remaining crisp parsnips for serving.   Serves 4.  Recipe courtesy of Food & Wine Magazine

TierraYMarPinot silverstarTierra y Mar
Floral Cuvee
Sonoma County, CA

Tierra y Mar translates to Earth and Sea, a nod to the special relationship between land and water.  At Tierra y Mar they produce wines that are the ultimate expression of nature’s balance and harmony, allowing the wines to speak for themselves as they are the unique creation of the grape, soil, water and climate of where they are grown.  Tierra y Mar wines are produced from vineyards situated in select parts of Napa Valley and Sonoma County.  Sonoma County, with miles of coastline and sun-kissed valleys, provides diversity within its growing regions.

DougFrost“With a delightful, floral character adding interest to the strawberry and raspberry nose, this reflects cool growing conditions, perhaps cooler than many competitive Pinot Noir sites in California and far more appropriate to the grape. This is gentle throughout but not short or simple as a result; it just happens to drink easily.” – Doug Frost, MS, MW

Critical Acclaim: SILVER STAR rated, Doug Frost, MS, MW
Winemaker: Douglas Danielak

Appellation: Sonoma County, California
Varietal Blend:  100% Pinot Noir
Analysis: 14.4% alcohol / volume


The Hess Collection

March Winery Spotlight
Tasting Event

>> RSVP at your local WineStyles <<

Please join us for a special Winery Spotlight event, featuring The Hess Collection winery from Napa Valley, California.

The HESS Collection
Vineyards & Winery

Hess_FamilyStarted in 1844, Hess Family Wine Estates is a family-owned, fourth-generation company with a deep commitment to responsible agricultural and business practices.  Founded in Bern, Switzerland, Hess Family Wine Estates seeks, develops and mentors businesses worldwide that reflect the company’s values of tradition, quality and sustainability.

In 1978, Donald Hess founded the Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder, 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley.  True to his vision of what a New World wine should be, Mr. Hess established his winery on the volcanic slopes of Mount Veeder in the Napa Valley and defined a whole new approach to winemaking.  Along with its mountain vineyards, the winery has won acclaim for its other estate vineyards in the northeast and southern ends of the Napa Valley and has been recognized for its successful relationships with family-owned growers who represent some of the finest appellations in California.

The Hess Collection Winery produces three tiers of wines and has distinguished itself as a premium producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.



The Hess Collection Napa Valley Chardonnay
Hess Select Central Coast Pinot Noir
The Hess Collection 19 Block Mountain Cuvee
MacPhail Family Wines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
The Hess Collection Napa Valley Allomi Cabernet Sauvignon
The Hess Collection Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

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Chalk Hills Estate Vineyards & Winery

February Winery Spotlight
Tasting Event

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Please join us for a special Winery Spotlight event, featuring Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery.

Chalk Hill Estate
Vineyards & Winery

Chalk Hill Estate is one of the most spellbinding wineries in California.  Hidden in the rugged foothills of the Mayacama Mountain range that divides Napa and Sonoma County, the winery offers extraordinary scenery, a sense of serenity and seclusion, and one of the most providential climates for grapes in all of California.

ESTATE HISTORY: Founded in 1972, by Fred Furth, Chalk Hill Estate produced its first wine in 1980 from grapes grown on extraordinary vineyards set in the rolling hills of eastern Sonoma County.  Over the intervening years, the winery has helped pioneer and establish the Chalk Hill AVA as one of the top winegrowing regions in California. Today, this 1300+ acre property includes around 350 acres of vineyards, a winery, a hospitality center, culinary garden, residence, stables, equestrian pavilion, sports fields, fishing and swimming ponds and a wilderness area. The winery makes limited quantities of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Red, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Semillon as well as several small lot wines.

VITICULTURE: From dramatic hillsides to vineyard gardens, from dry creek beds to forests of native oak, the most prominent feature of Chalk Hill Estate is diversity. Soils vary with elevations and range from ancient alluvial deposits of sand, gravel and clay to young volcanic soils strewn with rocks and boulders. A distinctive layer of volcanic ash lies under much of the top soil inspiring the name “Chalk Hill.” The viticultural team led by Mark Lingenfelder has spent 35 years studying and mapping the Estate’s complex terroir. Thanks to their efforts, each individual block (60 total) has been planted to the best possible variety, clone, rootstock, trellising system, row orientation and vine spacing.  More than two-thirds of Chalk Hill remains uncultivated. The winery’s vineyards are thoughtfully woven amongst the native oak woodlands, meadows and streams. The vines are maintained using low-input, sustainable viticultural practices to preserve the long-term viability of the ecosystem.

WINEMAKING: Making great wine starts by understanding the nuances within each vineyard site. Harvesting precisely when the grapes have the greatest flavor, balance and concentration is the only way the vineyard expresses its unique character. The winemaker then coaxes the best out of every grape with a minimalist approach and gentle handing. Each vineyard and winemaking step contributes to our world-class red and white wine programs. Recognized by press and consumers alike, Chalk Hill has received 125 scores of 90 or higher from Robert Parker, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator combined.

Bill Foley in Vineyard_chalk_hill

Bill Foley, Chalk Hill Proprietor

“It is a privilege to be involved with such a significant and strikingly beautiful property. For nearly four decades, Chalk Hill has been one of the premier wine estates in California. Our Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, and proprietary Estate Red are all considered benchmarks among their peers. Our commitment to sustainable farming ensures that our land will remain healthy for generations and our wines will accurately reflect their origins in the hills of eastern Sonoma County.” –  William P. (Bill) Foley II, Proprietor


Chalk_Hill_winesEstate Sauvignon Blanc
Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Estate Chardonnay
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Estate Pinot Noir
Estate Red Blend

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Smoked Trout Rillette

• 8 oz. smoked trout or other smoked fish
• 6 oz. unsalted butter, softened
• Juice of one half lemon, or to taste
• 1/8 tsp. cayenne, or to taste
• 2 Tbsp. anchovy paste
• 1 ½ Tbsp. capers, rinsed, dried, minced
• Salt and pepper

Shred trout, removing any bones and skin or pulse in a food processor—about 3 pulses.

Melt butter in a saucepan with lemon juice, cayenne, and anchovy paste. Blend with a whisk and cook at low simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and stir in trout and the capers. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to an eight-ounce crock or ramekin and chill until the butter is solid, preferable overnight to allow flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with crostini. The dish will keep in the refrigerator for a week.  Yield: 8 – 12 servings.

JacuzziNecker_ArneisJacuzzi Family Vineyards
Sonoma, California

These grapes were planted in two California vineyards; one planted in the Sonoma Coast AVA and the other in Paicines. The Sonoma Coast vineyard is located in the Petaluma Gap, an area where the challenging dark adobe soil and cool weather challenges grapes to ripen. In Paicines grapes are planted in heavy, well-drained limestone soil much sought after for grape varieties like Pinot Noir. This Arneis is “deficit irrigated” which means irrigating below full crop-water requirements. This keeps the vine in a slight state of water stress early in its growth period leading to less wood, smaller berries and higher flavor concentration.charlie-tsegeletos

“Arneis is an ancient variety grown near Alba in Piemonte, Italy. Arneis has been referred to as “Barolo Bianco” and the name means “little rascal” in the regional dialect. The grape can be hard to grow as it is late in ripening and prone to rot. The wine is distinctive, medium-bodied and aromatic with refreshing mandarin orange and lime nuances.” – Charlie Tsegeletos, winemaker

Winemaker: Charlie Tsegeletos
Appellation: Sonoma, California
Varietal Blend:  100% Arneis
Analysis: 14% alc/vol