Several months ago, we attended the Sonoma in The City event held in Beverly Hills. At the time, my concern that I would just be inundated with a plethora of taste-alike Chardonnays and Pinot Noir was put to rest when I sampled a stellar lineup of Zinfandels and Rhones, although there were plenty of Chards and Pinots for those who leaned in those directions. The sheer vastness and diversity of Sonoma County, as represented at this event, instilled in me a great desire to spend more time exploring the area for myself. So, my wife Karen and I traveled up to Sonoma for a few days. We spent the first day visiting a few of the wineries that had especially impressed me from the event. An added bonus was being accompanied by good friend and Martinelli Winery wine educator Rick Fraga – we’d pay a visit to Martinelli later in the week.
Limerick Lane is located at the northern end of the Russian River Valley, right outside of Healdsburg. Originally planted in the early 1900s, the property was acquired by the Collins family in the 1970s. Current owner Jake Bilbro purchased the vineyard and winery in 2011 and the wines are made by his brother Scot – a fine pedigree as their father Chris owns Marietta Cellars. Accolades for their wines continue to pour in from other winemakers (such as Mike Officer of Carlisle Winery and Steve Matthiason of Matthiason Vineyards) as well as from critics such as Matt Kramer and Robert Parker.
I personally think that RRV Zins are underrated, with more attention being given to the neighboring Dry Creek Valley (which of course does produce outstanding Zinfandel). This day we had an opportunity to taste some of Limerick Lane’s Zinfandels, as well as a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a Syrah/Grenache Blend which was truly was one of the highlights of my trip to the area – in fact Limerick General Manager Tais Tillman commented that this was the same wine I had waxed ecstatic over back at the Sonoma in the City event in L.A. While most of Limerick Lane’s production is from estate-grown fruit, we had the opportunity this day to taste what they could do with another vineyard’s Chardonnay – in this case from Steve Matthiasson’s Vineyard – as well as a Zinfandel made from grapes from the Bedrock Vineyard owned by Joel Peterson and Morgan Twain-Peterson. All in all, we tasted the following wines:
2012 Matthiasson Vineyard Chardonnay
2011 Russian River Pinot Noir
2011 Russian River Zinfandel
2012 Bedrock Zinfandel
2011 Syrah/Grenache Blend
My overriding impressions were of elegance and balance. You expect this in a Pinot, but elegance and Zin don’t always go together. In this case, they did, perfectly – but rest assured there was no lack of delicious Zinfandel fruit.
All the wines are very low production, ranging from the Chardonnay at only 92 cases to the RR Zinfandel which was a whopping 1440 cases.
Other wines are available by allocation only through their mailing list:
2012 Rocky Knoll Zinfandel
2012 1910 Block Zinfandel
2012 Head Pruned Syrah
2012 1023 Blend
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.