Wine tastings are currently offered by reservation and take place outdoors allowing guests to enjoy a lineup of handcrafted wines while taking in breathtaking views of the Mayacamas mountain range.
Tastings are $20/person, include a flight of 5 wines and offer a casual and educational experience. In the event of rain we do have you covered, but it can be a bit chilly this time of year so we suggest bringing layers. While we do not sell or serve food, you are welcome to bring snacks or lunch to enjoy in the picnic area. If you do not see the time you are looking for available give us a call at 707-935-7221 and we may be able to accommodate.
- Surfaces sanitized between seatings
- Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
- Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
- Contactless payment available
- Limited number of seated diners
- Distancing maintained in common areas
- Extra space between tables
- Waitstaff wear masks
- Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
- Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
Shiraz is the name that the Australians call the Syrah grape. It is the workhorse red grape variety in that country, making sturdy everyday wines right up to bottles that approach $1000 each. Much of the Australian Shiraz that has been imported here is the reasonably priced everyday wine (which sadly can overshadow just how good Australian Shiraz can be!) and this has inspired the decision to bottle this wine. It is a barrel selection of wines from the various Syrah programs that has been bottled separately, all chosen for having plenty of flavor and character. In this selection process I have sometimes chosen barrels from different vintages and hence it has no vintage year. It can be enjoyed now, but I think it can age for several more years and during that time will offer a wine with robust flavors at a price that won't break the bank. This version has red cherry flavors, some leather and smoky notes of Syrah and good tannic structure that will match well with hearty winter fare
I grafted some of the Estate Syrah vines over to Petite Sirah in 2014 so that we would have some Petite Sirah wine available for possible blending with Grenache and/or Zinfandel. By grafting onto established vines we were able to get back into production quickly and by 2016 there was enough for our blending needs. Petite Sirah is known for its deep color and its robust tannin structure and has often been used in CA for these purposes. The first wines immediately showed the wisdom of this decision and the 2016 wine in particular had the requisite color and structure but also had lovely fruit flavors and an elegance that some examples lack. I make the Petite Sirah as I would make a Pinot Noir, gently extracting the grapes to minimize extraction of aggressive and drying tannins while trying to maximize fruit characters. Perhaps the most important factor might be that this area of the Valley is just ideally suited to Petite Sirah! While most of the '16 wine was used in the Estate GSP wine, there was 1 barrel left over after blending and it was one of my favorite wines from the '16 vintage. With full production from our grafted vines in '17, I had 2 barrels of Petite Sirah left over after blending of the GSP. While neither were enough to bottle by themselves, the two vintages were blended together, along with a little '16 Estate Syrah and bottled in 2018. Further aging in bottle has rounded out the tannins ready for release. This first estate Petite Sirah shows a more elegant side of the grape but is still a wine to have with hearty winter meals. I expect that it will age particularly well in the cellar for another 5-8 years, although extra aging is not needed should you want to open it now. Try this with stews or something grilled
I really like working in the vineyard as it makes me feel like I'm doing something to help me make better wine. The first step in the process is the vine pruning which is done in late winter/early Spring. This sets up the balance of the vine so that we have enough leaves to ripen the crop and it also sets the crop load of the vine. While it can be miserable if its cold and windy or rainy, on a nice sunny day in early Spring it can be rather therapeutic with green grass and flowers and the sounds of robins and red winged blackbirds. The problem is that in order to have the vineyard uniform in ripening, pruning must be completed in a few days so that all the vines are at the same stage of the process. I have 5.5 acres of vines on the Estate and that's almost 6000 vines, so there is where my vineyard manager Rafael Oseguera comes to the rescue with his team of professionals. Its an amazing thing to watch his crew do their work. An experienced pruner looks at the overall vigor of the vine and then prunes accordingly to leave the right amount of 1 year old wood on the vine, occasionally breaking the pruning rules when they realize that there could be issues in the following year. Sometimes the vine will start to grow out into the vineyard row and this catches on our vineyard equipment, so the pruners must anticipate what will happen in future years. This is a highly skilled job and its vitally important that we have the same people for many years as have many of Rafael's crew. On the estate Syrah we use 2 different pruning methods. The easiest is called "cordon" pruning and in a perfect world we would leave a spur of one year old wood with 2 potential shoots and they would be spaced about 6 inches apart for the length of the row. I like this kind of pruning; even I can count 1, then 2 and then cut. It seems neat and orderly and it suits my virgo personality. The other is called "cane pruning" where a cane is chosen to lay along a wire and then a spur of one year old wood left out to produce next year's cane. The length of cane (hence number of shoots and bunches) is chosen to control potential vine vigor and every cut is made while thinking about balance and what will happen next year. While our experts make it look easy, I find that so many decisions slows me down to where I get little done! Tasting the 16 estate Syrah makes me happy that I leave this crucial step up to the experts
For this wine I've gone back to the basics; 100% Syrah, no stems and less new oak. It showcases more faithfully what a great vineyard can do in a great year when the fruit is so good that winemaking techniques just aren't needed. Complexity comes from using several different clones (some Alban #1, mostly 877) and using only native yeasts for fermentation
To many, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the pinnacle for California red wines. Now I enjoy many different red wines from many countries but Napa Cabernet still has a certain allure, even though I have to admit I haven't been drinking many of them in the last decade. They just got too big and heavy and I found that they weren't a good match to the foods I was eating. Every now and again I get to try an older wine though and it forces me to stop and think about how I liked those wines that were a little lighter that tasted of a place and of Cabernet grapes. Some really stand out and I wish I'd bought more back in the 90's when that style was in vogue, but the 90's were a time when I gave up a paying job to follow the passion of winemaking and buying wine wasn't really an option. At a friend's 50th in 2015 I was able to try a 1994 Mt. Veeder Cabernet that made this kind of impression. It was the wine made for the grape grower Bill Hawley from his Random Ridge vineyard and I'd helped Bill hand bottle that wine way back in 1996. In business it often is "who you know" and it didn't hurt that Bill and I and a few of his other friends had been backpacking to the "Matterhorn" in Yosemite Valley many years ago. So it didn't take long for me to get a few tons of grapes for my first Napa Cabernet which was released last year. I also started making Bill's own wine and one of the perks was being able to get access to a small amount of his Cabernet franc as well. That '94 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and I've done the same here with the addition of the Franc lightening the Cabernet Sauvignon and adding to the aromatics. The 2016 vintage had a little more winter rain that the drought year of '15 and as a consequence I find the wine a little more supple and approachable than the '15 while still showing the backbone of Mt. Veeder Cabernet. I expect this wine to have a very long enjoyment window and think it is ready to open now but should be able to be cellared for at least 10-15 years under good conditions. This is the best Cabernet I've made to date
Many people don't realize that as they drive around wine country about half of the vineyards they see are privately owned with a business model just to sell grapes. Furthermore, within each vineyard there may be several winery contracts and individual areas may be farmed slightly differently and with a different contract price per ton. I love this "a la carte" way of doing business as it means that I can have the vines farmed just the way I want and picked when I want, but the grower also is reimbursed for extra effort with an up-charge for each additional service. My Sonoma Cabernet grapes come from the McGraw vineyard here in Glen Ellen and I buy them under a similar contract. While most of the vineyard is pruned with shoots coming up off a permanent vine arm (a cordon, thus cordon pruned), my block is set up where each spring a cane is left and tied down to become a temporary arm for that year (cane pruning). It requires much more expertise from the pruner, but the theory is that each vine can be individually tailored for its vigor. We set this up in 2003 when I first started to work with the McGraws as they were establishing their vineyard. While I can appreciate the science, a part of me wondered if Jim, the vineyard manager, was just showing off how skillful he and his crew was. After all, even I can quickly master the rules of cordon pruning when I count one bud, then 2 buds and cut. Pretty easy! Whatever Jim's reason really was, sometimes the smart thing to do is have an expert and just let them do their job. Although Jim has long since retired, my block is still pruned that way and I have to say he might have been right. The proof is in the grapes and wine and here I've started with the base Cabernet wine (6 barrels were kept as Cabernet and released as the vineyard designate wine in Spring) and the remainder blended with Estate Syrah to add a little more middle palate weight and balance the acidity to make this Cabernet Shiraz. It is ready to drink now or can age for up to 10 years
This Chardonnay from the very cool coastal climate at Hawk Hill Vineyard, shows a great balance of richness and crispness. This wine shines with food, is drinking lovely now and should remain so for up to another 5 years if you want to put some away
Angelica is thought to be one of the oldest California wines, made originally by adding brandy to grape juice by the Mission fathers in the 1700's. Similar wines are made in Spain by adding brandy to the grape juice from sun dried grapes for the wonderful PX Sherries and also in Australia for the fabulous Muscats and Topaques of North east Victoria. In all these wines, the resulting very sweet wine only reaches extraordinary heights after long barrel aging so that the sweetness is balanced by complexity developed through slow oxidation. The demands of modern business have made such wines difficult to make because of the long-term inventory costs and this is a pity as I've enjoyed many of these Muscats, Topaques and PX sherries. To keep the tradition alive (and just because I like them!) I've made my version of Angelica, but with a twist. The grape variety is Viognier, which I think makes great dessert wines, and the fortification is done with pure grape alcohol. The base wine was made in 2007 and the wine is aged in older French oak barrels in the traditional Spanish Solera method where some of the oldest wine is drawn off for bottling, then the solera topped successively from the younger barrels. Additional wines have been added to the solera in 2012 and every year since then. This is the sixth bottling of my Angelica, still more than 85% from the original 2007 harvest and the extra year of aging since the last version has added significant depth and richness. It is like bottled Christmas, lots of toffee, cinnamon spices and nuts. Best enjoyed after dinner with cheese or by itself and will remain unchanged for up to a month after opening
When I'm looking for an after dinner wine, something sweet, I often think about a late harvest wine. I love Port, but if I've had wine with dinner then Port can be a little too heavy and then I think of the late harvest wines. White wine versions are lovely with fruit based desserts and my late harvest Viognier is an excellent example. There are also red versions and I've made a number of late harvest Zinfandels over the years, where the fruitiness of Zinfandel and richness of red wine makes for the perfect pairing with chocolate, or just by itself. The Casa Santinamaria vineyard was planted more than 100 years ago just on the edge of Sonoma township with a number of other varieties intermixed with the Zinfandel vines. I got to know the vineyard in 1995 when I worked with this fruit to make red wine while at Wellington vineyards. The original vineyard has been split up and now has a number of owners, one of which has become famous for the Rosenblum "Maggie's Reserve" Zinfandel. My vineyard manager, Rafael Oseguera, has resurrected the Casa Santinamaria section, replanting the missing vines and upgrading the farming practices to nurse it back into health and he and his crew have done a fantastic job. At the end of the 2019 harvest I found out that Rafael still had a few tons of grapes left out in the vineyard but it was about a month after it would have been picked for a red wine. Despite this time, fruit and vine condition were still excellent and while the fruit was very sweet it still had lots of acid to balance out the sugar and I thought it was perfect for a late harvest dessert wine. The wine was made in the same manner as my Zinfandel red wine except that the fermentation was stopped with the wine at 15.3% alcohol while still with 10% residual sugar left unfermented. Despite this high sugar content, there is enough natural acidity in the grapes, and enough tannin from the mixed red grape varieties that the wine remains clean and not cloyingly sweet. I would rank the wine on par with the 2008 Late harvest Zinfandel from Russian River as the best examples I have made. Its depth of flavor and balance makes it a wonderful dessert wine. It can be enjoyed for 2-3 weeks once opened and I leave the wine in the fridge once opened. Enjoy this with dark chocolate!
My Ports have won many gold medals, but this is the first one not entered in a wine competition. The local competition has stopped awarding grower recognition plaques and I have always wanted one of these to give to my loyal growers, so have stopped entering the competition! It is very much in the same mold as previous years though, perhaps just a little sweeter and richer than the '14 version although that sweetness is balanced by cleansing tannin and acidity. A wine to end the meal with or keep out the chill of winter. It is good for up to 3 weeks once opened and can age in the cellar for up to 10 years
Making a tawny style dessert wine is not for those that want quick financial gain. Holding inventory in a barrel for many years while it slowly evaporates just doesn't make financial sense. So I had to love the expression I heard in Portugal that "the first 200 years in business were the hardest"! What the patient get, though, is the concentration and change of flavors that only time can give. These flavors start as berry and fruit notes of the young wine, to dried fig and apricot to finally caramel notes and at the same time there is a concentration as the wine evaporates. This is accompanied by a color change from the deep ruby of young wine to the rich mellow brown note of the Tawny – the same oxidation we see in a cut apple. There is something magical about a good Tawny. Of course it needs to be balanced and intense and interesting, but there is more than that. The maker of the Tawny needs to believe that they will still be in business when the wine is finally ready and they need to believe that there will be a demand for the wine. If they are wrong, there will be multiple years of wines aging in the cellars with a lot of the business cash tied up in inventory but with no market. It has to be a wine made by optimists! This Tawny, like many in Australia, is based on the Syrah grape. The grapes are grown here around the winery and the wine aged for 10 years in an older French oak barrel. This barrel is topped up once a year to replace the "Angel's Share" that evaporates from the barrel through the wood and the topping wine is from a solera that was started in 2009. Consequently, it is not a true single vintage tawny, but is about 90% from 10 year old material. Just 1 barrel of wine is put aside for this program each year when the vintage style wine is bottled and this one was made in 2009. Rich and concentrated, with a finish that lasts for minutes, it is best consumed after dinner by itself, or possibly with blue cheese. Taste this while contemplating what you were doing 10 years ago when this wine was made! Once opened it will slowly improve for several days and then remain unchanged for 6 weeks or so
Beautifully packaged in a black gift box, each trio contains a signed bottle of 2015 Port, Decada Tawny Port, and 2019 Late Harvest Zinfandel
This gift pack includes a bottle of gold medal winning 2015 Port and a tin of 72% dark chocolate. Each bottle is inscribed and signed by Chris Loxton. These gifts can be personalized upon request
Our experience at Loxton was ok. The wine and winery were nice but our hose was not very engaged.
Loxton Cellars is rated 4.3 stars by 1 OpenTable diners.
Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.