Gracianna Winery on Westside Road
One of the most beautiful backroads in California wine country is Westside Road near Healdsburg CA. It winds through the Russian River Valley and along the banks of the Russian River. About halfway from Healdsburg on Westside Road is what many refer to as the Miracle Mile. This is where we find the Gracianna Winery tasting room. The Miracle Mile is a term coined by the local vintners and vineyard growers. It refers to the terroir in this area, a mix of climate and soil that provides the ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and other cool climate grapes. Visit any of the several wineries along this stretch and you will enjoy some of the finest Pinot Noir wines made in California.
We stopped in at the Gracianna tasting room last week and visited with owner Lisa Amador. Gracianna produces two wonderful Pinot Noir wines. One is from their 1.3 estate Pinot Noir acres just behind the tasting room. The other is from the Bacigalupi Vineyard, a nearby neighbor. John Bacigalupi farms some of the oldest and best vines in the Russian River Valley. The Gracianna winery has been a long time dream of Lisa and her husband Trini Amador III. Perhaps the most interesting facet of the winery dream was Lisa’s story about how she and her husband had stumbled upon their then 15-year-old son secretly making wine in their garage. Sixteen years later, Trini Amador IV is the winemaker at Gracianna Winery. In his early adult years, Trini gained his winemaking experience being mentored by the famed Pinot Noir winemaker Bob Cabral at the William Seylem winery. Trini has taken those skills and adding his own touch to the wines of the Gracianna Winery.
We tasted through the lineup of Gracianna wines. A typical tasting is five wines for a tasting fee of $15. The fee is waived with a purchase of two bottles of wine. We very much enjoyed the two Pinot Noir wines. They reminded us of the character of some the Burgundy wines we tasted while touring the Burgundy region of France a year ago. We also enjoyed a spicy and deep fruited Zinfandel. The Gracianna wines are made at a custom crush facility in Santa Rosa. Currently, 1200 cases of wine are produced with a plan to hit the 2000 case mark in a couple of years. With 500 wine club members, the demand is high for those 1200 cases of wine.
There is a cozy picnic area outside the tasting room and also one just beyond the Pinot Noir vineyard on the edge of the Russian River. Tasting is by appointment daily 11 to 5 from March to the end of November. Check the Gracianna Website for complete tasting and touring information.
Trini Amador has written a gripping novel based on the life of his maternal grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga, a French-Basque girl living in Nazi-occupied Paris in the 1940s. You may want to add this to your reading list. It can be purchased at Amazon.com Gracianna