If you’re travelling to Sonoma County, or lucky enough to live there, one of the great places to visit is Acorn Winery. I was just out in Sonoma for a little over a week and visited them for the first time in a few years; I won't wait that long again. Betsy and Bill Nachbaur are the owners of Acorn and they’ll take you through their current release wines, the history of the property and more.
It’s easy to make an appointment to visit at Acorn, but you definitely should make one to assure they’re available to pour for you. Once you get to Acorn Winery you’re going to learn a lot about their wines and the process of grape growing. Along with Bill & Betsy, Alegría Vineyards which is their property, stands at the core of everything about Acorn Winery. Their land is a combination of old vines planted as field blends many, many years ago and some newer plantings that they put in themselves. The love that both Bill & Betsy have for their land and the “get your hands dirty” wine life they live on a day to day basis is apparent and speaks volumes about them. Alegría Vineyards is sustainably farmed.
Tasting through the current releases which included a Rosato, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Medley and Sangiovese it was easy to see that the Nachbaur’s allow the vineyards to speak for themselves each year. The wines have similar elements that form a connective tissue between them. But where they are grown and lack of manipulation is what shines through in their full flavored, balanced releases that bring to mind both old world winemaking and the beauty of excellent California fruit. With several of the wines I was able to taste a couple of vintages. This was very instructive and showed the consistent quality at Acorn as well as the individuality of each vintage.
The biggest treat was saved for last. Bill and Betsy wondered if we were interested in Syrah vertical. Of course we were interested. Tasting opportunities like that are precisely the type of motivators which encourages me to visit wineries as often as possible. There’s just no substitute for tasting wines alongside the folks who are responsible for them, a few feet away from where the grapes are grown. In all we went through six vintages of Syrah. We got to sit with these wines for awhile and watch them develop in the glass over some time. The persistent quality of their Syrah just jumped out at me as I tasted these wines side by side. Picking a favorite was hard to do as it kept changing from one to another for me. These Syrahs drank quite nicely on their own but would complement a range of foods quite well. In general the Acorn wines are all food friendly which is another big positive.
I find that the wines at Acorn are uniformly delicious, distinct and clearly made with care. Bill and Betsy are both warm and engaging. It’s apparent to me as it would likely be to any visitor that they love sharing their wines, their property, their experience and their story with people. Anyone who can is urged to visit Acorn Winery, both to sample their Artisan wines and to spend time with some lovely folks who exemplify the very best of terrific California family wineries. Great Wine, Great Place, Great People.