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Matanzas Creek Winery
6097 Bennett Valley Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(800) 590-6464

Here is another iconic winery from the middle of Sonoma County that is enjoying a renaissance and re-positioning in the wine world, thanks to the watchful eye of new partner Jess Jackson. Many of us old winos can remember the crisp Sauvignon Blancs, spiced butter Chardonnays, and rich, layered Merlots from the 1980s. Always a great place to visit back then, it sported fields of lavender and quirky Asian-influenced art and gardens.
The good news is that none of that has changed. That vague, Flower Child feeling still rings true.
The better news is that the wines are back on track. French winemaker Francois Cordesse has correctly grasped the style of white and red that matches to the Bennett Valley estate, and is crafting sumptuous, flavorful wines that are immediately accessible.
Of course, the wife had a great time buying a number of perfumes and sachets made on premises from the lavender in the surrounding gardens. For myself, it was a bit of a time-warp in my wine world evolution, taking me back to the beginning in the mid-80s, when only a few dozen of California's wineries could make a claim to being World-class. Matanzas Creek was one of them. Their present direction should again put them back on the radar of wine-lovers everywhere.
The notes are briefer than usual, as we were touring the winery while trying the various wines.

Tasting Notes

2005 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma
Great, perfumed aromatics, showing grass, grapefruit, and gooseberry.
MSRP: $20
My Rating: 90 points

2005 Chardonnay, Sonoma
They have gone back to what they do best. Butter covers ripe stone fruit and tropical fruit in the nose. Very creamy texture in the mouth, finishing with a sweet-tart juiciness.
MSRP: $29
My Rating: 90 points

2003 Merlot, Bennett Valley
Dusty, minerally red currant fruit with notes of cinnamon. Medium-bodied and easy to drink.
MSRP: $29
My Rating: 89 points

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma
Enjoyable for its youthful exuberance, there are aromas and flavors of cassis, creamy vanilla, and anise. Fat and mouth-filling.
MSRP: $35
My Rating: 89 points

2004 Syrah
Fragrant dark flowers, rich plum fruit, followed by a note of peppercorn. Smooth and ready to drink.
MSRP: $29
My Rating: 89-90 points

2001 Proprietor's Blend
A Meritage-style blend with a nod to Bordeaux's St. Emilion region. Wild, red stone fruit with a brown sugar note. Light and elegant in the mouth.
MSRP: $75
My Rating: 90 points
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