For our next tour, we go to J. Rickards Vineyards. this is my favorite vineyard that we have visited, and of course, I forget my camera. So I apologize for these horrible shots that are from my camera phone, which was for some reason set to "tungsten" setting. Who knew...
Well, Mr. Rickards is quite a character. He is self taught and WAY ahead of the curve in many areas such as sustainability, water conservation, using solar panels, integrated pest management and water capacity monitoring. But first let me tell you a little about the vineyard itself...
This area of Sonoma county was settled in the 1800's by a few Italian families and named "Italian-Swiss Colony." The vineyards planted here contain many vines over 100 years old, and many clones from the old world. Mostly Zinfandel, these vineyards were planted with a specific blend in mind. There might be 75% Zin, 5% Alicante Bouschet, 10% Carignane, 10% Mourvedre. The vineyards were harvested at one time and the grapes were co-fermented to produce a specific taste profile. Mr. Rickards is passionate baout learning the histories and collecting anecdotes of the families who lived here. He has gathered bud wood to preserve the many unusual clones that were grown here.
On his own land, he has to contend with 5 different types of soil on his 45 acres, some of which are extremely high in magnesium. He grows zinfandel, syrah, petite syrah, carignane, semillon, alicante bouschet, malbec and cabernet sauvignon. He has planted a very special block, his own field blend, in an attempt to re-create the wines of the Italian Swiss Colony's past.
I highly recommend a visit to this vineyard. Call to make an appointment to hear tales and taste his wonderful wines.
J. Rickards Winery
24505 Chianti Road
Cloverdale, CA 95425