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Originally this was a family owned and operated winery in the Russian River Valley that began in 1976 with the purchase of a 78-acre Chardonnay vineyard on River Road about a mile from Forestville in Sonoma County. Two years later, a 48-acre vineyard on River Road in Alexander Valley was acquired and replanted to Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. For the first few years, the family farmed the vineyards and sold the fruit to several Sonoma County wineries. The River Road label has grown over the years and a 12-acre vineyard in the Russian River Valley south of Forestville planted to Pinot Noir and Syrah was added. A new winery was completed in 2003.
The River Road Pinot Noir is a blend from several vineyards in the Russian River Valley and is value priced at $18. For 2009, several Pinot Noirs are offered including Boschetti Vineyard, Scarlett Vineyard, Stephani Vineyard, a Sonoma blend and a Reserve. All wines are priced under $20 and available through the Total Wine retail chain. Total production is more than 41,000 cases per year.
In late 2011, it was announced that The Republic of Tea founder, Ron Rubin, had purchased the winery. This was the realization of a lifelong dream for Rubin, who attended University of California at Davis and studied viticulture and enology.
Tasting is available by appointment at the winery at 5220 Ross Road in Sebastopol.
2009 River Road Vineyards & Winery Stephanie’s Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $18. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Lacks fruit on the nose, offering only aromas of oak, pine sap and savory herbs. Moderately rich core of dark red stone fruits wrapped in soft tannins. Prominent oak presence evidenced by vanillin and assertive herbs carries over on the finish. Decent. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »
2008 River Road Vineyards & Winery Scarlett Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $17. A barrel selection. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red berries, black cherries, vanilla and sandalwood. Reasonably complex with an array of flavors including black raspberries, black cherries, tea leaves, and grilled meat. A little too much oak detracts. Very dry tannins and finish. Might benefit from more aging or decanting. Decent (+). Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »
2006 River Road Vineyards & Winery Stephanie’s Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $16. Estate grown. · Moderately light color. Appealing scents of strawberries, cherries, spice and sassafras. Juicy flavors of cherries and berries, red hard candy and cola with very subtle oak playing a supportive role. Medium-light in body with gossamer tannins and respectable finesse. Closer to Russian River Valley in flavor. A terrific value. Very good. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »
2006 River Road Vineyards & Winery Stephanie’s Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $16. · Medium reddish-purple robe. Restrained nose that never really delivers much more than demure raspberry cream aromas. Light and soft raspberry and cherry fruits with a hint of citrus presented in an elegant fashion. Very demure in nature, almost too shy in flavor impact. Reviewed November 17, 2008 ARTICLE »