Steve Heimoff takes readers on an intimate and enlightening tour of one of California’s most diverse and accomplished wine areas as he travels along the Russian River and talks with growers and vintners from the Cabernet country of the Alexander Valley to the Pinot Noir producers of the Sonoma coast. This first comprehensive look at the natural history and winemaking practices of the region by one of America’s most respected wine critics brings the Russian into the exalted company of the great wine rivers of the world—the Loire, the Rhône, the Rhine, the Mosel, and the Douro. Part wine guidebook, part history and geology, and part travelogue of the author's adventures in wine country, A Wine Journey along the Russian River is essential reading for wine lovers—both those fortunate enough to be familiar with the region and those who have never been there.
Heimoff guides readers along the length of the scenic river, from its warm, northern border with Mendocino out to foggy Jenner. He discusses the history and progress of Alexander Valley Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, Russian River Valley and Sonoma coast Pinot Noir, Sonoma County's Rhône-oriented wines, old-style field blends, and other interesting wines. In the process, he introduces readers to many of the growers and vintners who have made Sonoma County famous: Dick Arrowood, the Rochiolis, the Seghesios, Tom Jordon, Bob Cabral of Williams Selyem, Jess Jackson of Kendall-Jackson, Merry Edwards, and many others. Describing how the river's formation and evolution, both products of the planet's fiery tectonic past, as well as the region's complex climate, have created the potential for unparalleled viticultural enclaves, and recounting how a variety of people realized that potential, Heimoff provides a fascinating explanation of why the Russian River's reputation as a premium winegrowing region continues to grow.
Steve Heimoff is West Coast Editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
“Heimoff's wine descriptions are tantalizing, and he includes a useful list of recommended wines and producers for those looking to develop knowledge of the region. His reportage on the development of certain grapes in the area, such as Alexander Valley's cabernet sauvignon and Russian River Valley's pinot noir, is nicely balanced between anecdotal and factual. And his descriptions of encounters with prominent growers and vintners, some of which include photos, are particularly enjoyable. . . . [A] carefully researched paean to the geological richness, colorful history and continuously evolving wines of the area.”—Publishers Weekly
“An entertaining and informative read for the California wine connoisseur and wine professional.”—Beverage Media Group
“A fascinating picture of the Russian River, the wineries and winemakers who are able to make wine because of the river’s presence and the wines they produce. This is a must read for any fan of Sonoma County wines.”—Bob Foster California Grapevine
“For aficionados who crave detail, insider information, candid conversations with producers and assessments of who does what best.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Heimoff . . . not only details the region's wine history but also illuminates the grapey glow of the river's past and present through numerous engaging personality profiles.”—Larry Lipson Los Angeles Daily News
“For aficionados who crave detail, insider information, candid conversations with producers and assessments of who does what best.”—Linda Murphy San Francisco Chronicle
“One of the best wine books of the year. . . .Only a veteran wine writer and taster such as Heimoff would know which growers and winemakers to interview, and understand how each player fist into the big picture. There’s a remarkable oral history captured here.”—Tim Teichgraeber Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Must-read work for wine aficionados.”—Charles Olken Marin Independent Journal
“Entertaining and well written, this comprehensive look at a very important wine region provides the sweep of history and personal portraits of the key players. “—Anthony Dias Blue, author of Anthony Dias Blue’s Pocket Guide to Wine
"The ultimate achievement for any wine is to express its place of origin. And tasting that "place" in a wine is the ultimate turn-on for any wine lover. Steve Heimoff has done a most excellent job of capturing the intrigue of the Russian River region and of making its wines come alive. For anyone who's passionate about California wines, this book is a must read."—Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible