Minutes before I sat down to research this article I was conversing via text with a dear friend who was about to embark on a service opportunity that would challenge her on many levels. My response of encouragement to her was “I’m guessing when it’s over and you look back you will feel you received more than you gave. There is something about doing for others that feeds our souls.” Our conversation ended, I opened Google and searched Sutro Wine Company. Instead of clicking on the winery link I first clicked on the Alexander Valley Winegrowers profile of Sutro, I could not believe what I read…
The AVW overview was nothing more than a brief paragraph explaining the wines Sutro makes, owner, brief history, but then it shared something that illuminates the environment and attitude at work at Warnecke Ranch, the property from which Sutro Wine Company emerged. The Chalk Hill Artists Residency was founded in 2010 in support of contemporary artists, even those with disabilities, and Warnecke Ranch is its home. As the AVW explains, “Warnecke Ranch is a lively community of family, friends, local residents, artists, agriculturalists, environmental enthusiasts, and wildlife… to this rich tapestry, the thread of winemaking has been added.” Sutro Wine Company is not a winery that welcomes the community; rather, it is part of a family tradition and community that includes winemaking, understanding firsthand that by giving we receive.
The Warnecke Ranch has been in the family since 1911, and has seen many incarnations over time, including sheep farm, fishing retreat, and satellite office of founder and famed architect John Warnecke. Alice Rousseau Warnecke Sutro, granddaughter of John, is a former artist in a more traditional sense, who today practices her art expertise as wine producer, after being assistant vineyard manager for six years. She is also the founder and former director of the Chalk Hill Artist Residency. Alice’s husband Eliot Edmonston Sutro is an architect by day and winemaker by night. As a self-taught winemaker he has a relentless pursuit of perfection. Eliot’s ultimate goal: “that the winemaker will fade away fade away and leave the wine to tell the story of the land.” I am dying to taste these wines!
“Sutro Wines are a refined, small production, and diligently crafted product made from estate-grown sustainably-farmed vineyards in Alexander Valley, Sonoma County.”
Sutro Wine Company is a boutique wine producing crafting artisanal Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from grapes grown at Warnecke Ranch. The Cabernet grapes are sourced from a 45 year old, dry-farmed, low yielding vines that are completely hand worked. Warnecke Ranch is located on Chalk Hill Road, an intersection of Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, and Russian River Valley AVAs, one of Sonoma’s most premier wine-growing areas. The vineyards are Certified Sustainable under the strict Lodi Rules certification, as well as meeting the Fish Friendly standards. Warnecke Ranch is home to Alice and Eliot. Finally, it’s time to taste some wine!
2013 Sutro Warnecke Ranch Merlot Alexander Valley USA ($35): 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon; deep ruby in the glass; pronounced aromas of black cherries, blackberries, cranberries, roses, baking spices, dried herbs, smoke, leather, black pepper, and vanilla; this wine has endless depth on the palate, layered and complex in a way most Merlots are not, medium+ acidity balanced with medium+ tannins that are integrated created a silky mouth-feel and a long, juicy fruit, earthy finish; I found this Merlot dazzling, feeling a longing for more once the bottle was empty; only 75 cases produced; click here to buy this wine.
2013 Sutro Warnecke Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley USA ($50): 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot; deep ruby with purple hues in the glass; medium aromas of plums, blackberries, cherries, currants, dried violets and herbs, sweet baking spice, fresh tobacco, damp underbrush, cedar, and vanilla; incredible silkiness on the palate balanced grippy tannins that are pronounced, medium+ acidity, rich and robust, another dazzler that will age properly for years, great to sip and enjoy or pair with a hearty meal; click here to buy this wine
At these prices these wines are a steal. Both taste way beyond their price points. Buy a few to drink now and more to cellar. To learn more about Sutro Wine Company, see their list of events, and order some wine visit their web site.
*Disclaimer: These wines were media samples; all thoughts and opinions are my own.
My Song Selection: Yes the video is cheesy and the song is dated but this is one of my all time favorite songs. Each time I hear it on the classic rock station in my car you can be assured the radio is turned up and I am jammin out. That’s how I feel about these wines. They are an instant classic that will have you jammin for years to come.
Get your own bottle of Sutro wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!
3 responses to “Sutro Wine Company: Embracing Community and Wine”
recent meeting with Alice Sutro in gauging Cabernet Sauvignon pick date https://www.flickr.com/photos/richreader/30163736237/in/datetaken-public/
Nice. Thanks for sharing Rich.
I love when we share with each other what we’ve learned from the viticulturists and oenologists.