Driving through the Dry Creek Valley for Zinfandel lovers like us is a heavenly experience. The breathtaking views, the gnarly looking vines and the vast number of great Zinfandel producers makes the valley the perfect place to Zin. We must confess, that in our most recent escapade to the area, our visit to Nalle Winery was one of the most Zinful experiences of the trip.
When we visited the winery, we showed up with no appointment and did not know what to expect. To our delight we were treated to a wonderful tasting and a detailed history lesson of the winery and the Nalle family. The winery is housed inside an above ground cave which is kept cool all year long by a living rosemary roof.
Nalle Winery was founded by Doug and Lee Nalle in 1984 on the Estate that the family has now sustainably farmed for 5 generations. The winery is presently ran and owned by their son Andrew and his wife April. Andrew is the Winemaker while April is the Viticulturalist. They are focused on continuing the tradition of crafting old school California style Zinfandels that are moderate in alcohol, fruit forward and pair well with food.
The easy-going personality and vibe of the winery is portrayed best by the winery’s faux family coat of arms which includes two squirrels. The reason for the squirrels on the coat of arms, instead of a fierce animal, is to let people know that they are serious about making great wines, but without the pretentiousness. The squirrels were not originally envisioned to remain on the label for long, but over three decades later the winery’s wine club is now called the Squirrel Club and the two nut lovers remain on the label.
Throughout our tasting, it was amazing to see how consistent their wines were regardless of the grape varietal. They were fruit forward, balanced and absolutely delicious. We could not have left without one of their wines and decided on their 2016 Estate Old Vine Zinfandel. Made from 91 year old vines, this Zin was elegant and showcased beautiful fresh fruit from beginning to end. Only 180 cases were produced.
We are not sure when our next trip to Sonoma County will be, but we already have penciled in on our list of must do’s another visit to Nalle Winery. Till then we will relive our awesome experience by opening our trip souvenir. Thanks Ned and Mike for the unforgettable hospitality!