Idell Family Vineyards http://idellfamilyvineyards.com
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is held annually over Labor Day Weekend. And while the main event is on Saturday, there are festivities happening all over Sonoma County that weekend – winery dinners, barbeques, etc. I will write more about the festival and its mission in my next article, but right now I want to tell you about the dinner we attended that Friday evening.
When I found out we were attending a dinner, I pored over the impressive list – Buena Vista, Hartford Family, Keller Estate, La Follette, Simi, to name a few. But, I was looking for something I wasn’t familiar with.
The name Idell Family Vinyards intrigued me. I hadn’t heard of them, but when I read they sell most of their grapes to wineries like Arnot-Roberts, Scholium Project, and Mathiasson Family, I was definitely interested. And seeing that Steve Mathiasson worked on developing the vineyard sealed the deal for me. [I first tasted Steve’s wines when we visited Silenus Vintners in Napa last year, which is a multi-winery facility. It turns out that the Idell wines are made there as well.]
Idell Family Vineyards was founded in 2005 by Richard Idell and Susan Kornblatt Idell. They grow Chardonnay and Syrah, most of which is sold off to other wineries. They have also planted a small field-blend vineyard of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Mourvedre, and Grenache, the first vintage of which  has not yet been released. A small amount of wine is produced under the Idell Family Vineyard label – under 200 cases per year!
A wine producer this small doesn’t have a tasting room. And with the wine actually being made offsite, we were essentially going to the Idell Family home in the middle of their vineyard. It was a little cool and breezy at first, but as the night got darker, the winds dropped off. And, as it was the night of the much publicized Blue Moon, we had the benefit of a gorgeous full moon to light our night.
The menu is below. The delicious dinner was catered by local chef Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection and everything paired perfectly.
Both Chardonnays were from the Idell Family Michael Mara Vineyard – named after the first name of their son and the middle name of their daughter. The depth of the 2009 went well with the various appetizers, while the brightness of the younger 2010 was the perfect match to the Heirloom Tomatoes.
The Oscar Cuvee is a blend of the Idell Family Oscar Syrah Vineyard and Cabernet and Merlot from two Napa vineyards that can’t be named. A very flavorful wine that did not overpower the Salmon.
Finally, the 2009 Idell Family Oscar Syrah. Don’t get me wrong. The dessert was great. But, truth be told, anything would have tasted good with this Syrah. Truly outstanding, and a great tribute to the memory of Susan’s father Oscar. This is what the website says about him: “Oscar Kornblatt, last of Shelter Island, New York, father of Susan Kornblatt Idell, World War II veteran, renaissance man, student of history and retail ski pioneer. Oscar was passionate about travel, great food and wine, and all things special.”
With 24 people in attendance, all locals [except us] and many of whom already knew each other, we might have felt like “odd men out”. But, this is Sonoma wine country, where everyone is friendly. Not to mention that wine is a great social lubricant. We met a lot of wonderful people, and our hosts were especially terrific. And we had the great pleasure of meeting local wine writer Kathleen Thompson Hill – I’m definitely looking forward to more conversations with her.
As we said our goodbyes and drove off, I was reminded of how wine serves to bring so many of us together. And I was also reminded that when you find a wine you like, you should buy it, and wines of this small production don’t stay around long. And, I really want some of that field blend!
Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.