Stephen-Walker is a new winery, one without an actual winemaking facility or vineyards. They custom crush at a nearby facility and source their grapes from various vineyards in the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, the Napa Valley and Monterey. Their tasting room is in Healdsburg on Center Street. It is a lovely tasting room and was very busy on a Sunday afternoon when we visited.
We tasted seven wines ranging in price from the Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc at $28 to a Howell Mountain Cabernet and a Port wine both priced at $65. All the wines we tasted were very well made and elegant. We were particularly impressed with the Dry Creek 2005 Zinfandel. It is a scrumptious wine with great Zin flavors.
Over the past ten days we have been visiting wineries in the Russian River area and have tasted many, many wines. I have to say that Stephen-Walker wines measure up to the best of many of these wineries, but personally I won’t be buying any of their wines. The reason, there are priced too high for my pocket book and I think I can find other wines to my liking that are just as good or better and less expensive. Take for example, the Carol Shelton wines. Her Zinfandel wines “kick butt”and two of my favorites are her Monga Zin and Wild Thing Zin both priced around $20. I find it hard to swallow a Sauvignon Blanc for $28 when I can find several great ones for under $20. Two of my Russian River favorites are from Hanna and Mauritson wineries.
It is so easy to get caught up in the hype of expensive and so-called “Handcrafted”wines or “Vineyard Select”wines. Let you taste buds along, with your pocketbook, be your guide.