Perlises Pick: Comstock Wines

We recently had a bottle of the 2016 Comstock Rockpile Petite Sirah along with a few other wines. Petite Sirah is well known for often being dark, brooding, and taking a long time to come around to peak drinkability. This was just the opposite. It was bright, lively and downright elegant. It was the wine of that evening by far.

Elegance is a good way to describe Comstock winery itself – not hoity-toity snooty elegance, but comfortable modern elegance. The facility itself, completed in 2015, is a testament to modern wine country architecture. We first visited the property in 2014 when construction had barely started.

The last time we visited Comstock, our final email exchange with GM Kelly Comstock Ferris was that we needed to visit more often. Well, it took a little over two years, but we made it back. Hosted during our visit by Comstock’s Wine Club Manager Madeline Fuss, we were impressed by her wine knowledge as well as her skills in describing the wines in entertaining fashion. We learned later that Madeline has her WSET II credential and is working on her WSET III.

Madeline poured us a couple of glasses of the Comstock 2018 Blanc de Blanc Sparkling wine and invited us to stroll around a little and to let her know when we were ready for our seated, outdoor tasting. As we checked out the vineyard and the rest of the beautiful property, we enjoyed this 100% Chardonnay from the Dry Creek Valley AVA, picking up citrus notes and pleasant light and airy bubbles.

Here are our notes for the rest of the wines we tasted:

2020 Sauvignon Blanc – 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Dry Creek Valley AVA, this was aged in a combination of neutral oak, concrete egg and stainless steel. Lemon and cantaloupe notes with a whisper of oak on the finish.

2017 Chardonnay – 100% Chardonnay from the Sangiacomo Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA’s Petulama Gap.  This wine underwent 40% malolactic fermentation and saw a touch of new French oak.  It was buttery and creamy, like French brioche and had a medium to long finish.  Gold Medal at 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Competition.

2018 Grenache – made from grapes sourced from the Bennett Valley AVA.  Ripe berry fruit and spice notes with a solid finish. 

2018 Zinfandel – Old Vine – from 122 year old Estate vines in the Dry Creek Valley AVA. Dried fruit component with raisin and fig notes, and hints of mocha and cocoa. 

2019 Zinfandel – Old Vine – from 117 year old vines in the Russian River Valley AVA.  The vineyard is owned by Comstock’s winemaker Chris Russi and is listed with the Historical Vineyard Society.  Luscious cherry, cranberry and plum notes, along with a touch of white pepper and clove. Well-rounded with a long, lingering finish.

2017 Merlot – Dry Creek Valley AVA. Deep garnet color with vanilla undertones and a medium finish. Double Gold Medal at 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Competition. 

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon – from the warm valley floor of the Alexander Valley AVA this wine saw 45% New French Oak. A tinge of espresso and elegant, smooth tannins. 

2018 Syrah – 94% Syrah, 6% Viognier, Bennett Valley AVA. Dark berry and ripe, stone fruit notes combine with a long, lush finish.

We did have a chance to catch up a little with Comstock’s GM, Kelly Comstock Ferris. She said things have been very busy at the winery. They have a lot of food-pairing tasting options thanks to the expertise of Estate Chef Jude Affronti. Events include, among others, an old-fashioned Easter egg hunt as well as full multi-course dining affairs. Their Sip & Mandala Dot Painting classes on recycled Comstock wine bottles are hugely popular with locals and visitors alike; look closely at pictures of a recent one on Comstock’s Facebook page and you’ll see the Queen of Zinfandel herself, Carol Shelton!

Kelly also told us that they have teamed up with Inspirato, a luxury travel club, which opens up Comstock’s rental house and winery to a whole other group of travelers looking for wonderful experiences.

If you are looking for a wonderful wine experience, please be sure to check out Comstock Wines the next time you are in the Dry Creek area. Their wines and hospitality are always exceptional.

Comstock Wines

1290 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Michael and Karen Perlis have been pursuing their passion for wine for more than 30 years. They have had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show them the way and after a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as they possibly could, they had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Michael and Karen do their best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers.