A few months ago, Siduri was bought by Jackson Family Wines. This group, home of the Kendall-Jackson brand, was a project of the late Jess Jackson. His partner, Brooke Gadke, has continued in his tradition while acquiring interesting wine properties. Of those we tasted, the Silver Palm and Stonestreet wines were new to us. Silver Palm wines are simpler and lower-priced, around $15. Stonestreet’s offerings are in the $35 range, a bargain if you like their style.
We are, of course, long-time members of the Hartford wine club. So when we saw that Jackson Family was pouring at Artisan Wine Depot, we eagerly accepted their invitation to attend.
It was a little surprising to discover that we actually liked the Siduri wines more than those offered by Hartford. We would like to think that Hartford is saving their best for club members. But we have no way of verifying that guess.
But First, Two Chardonnays
Silver Palm 2013 “North Coast” chardonnay ($15 through Artisan, not available on the winery website) is a bargain. Norma described this as “well-behaved.” Hints of citrus aromas followed by blood orange and pear on the palate. We bought four bottles. Possibly a better bargain, the 2014 vintage is on the winery website with a price of $15. Please let us know if you have tried it.
The Stonestreet 2013 Estate Alexander Valley chardonnay ($34 through Artisan, not yet available on the winery website) is not a bargain, but is still good enough to rate a review. Light citrus aromas lead to tropical fruit with a touch of tangerine, pineapple and white peach on the palate. A little overwhelming. We enjoyed it, but would have liked it even more at $25.
Stonestreet’s winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs is a kid. She graduated from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo in 2001. Watch out for her in the future. She knows her way around grapes.
And Four Pinots
There were two pinots each from Siduri and Hartford. We liked them in about the order we tasted them.
Siduri’s 2013 Russian River Valley pinot noir ($27 through Artisan, see note below) is “all too pleasant.” Butterscotch and caramel, leather and tobacco, and the essential Russian River Valley floor mingle marvelously in this one. Another bargain.
Adam and Dianna were among the first to discover the John Sebastiano vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. The 2012 edition ($40) is very nice. Intense red cherry and orange zest aromas followed by the classic “desert” flavors of dust and leather. Once again, an excellent rendition of the grapes from this newcomer.
While doing background research for this article, we noticed that Siduri is no longer selling their wines through their website. You need to sign up for their e-mail list or join one of their (two) wine clubs. I’m pretty sure we’re still on the e-mail list but will check to make sure.
Hartford Court offered their 2014 Russian River Valley blend ($35 through Artisan, not on the winery website). We found this a lighter interpretation of RRV wines. All the right elements are there, including Bing cherries, raspberries, and blueberries. But there didn’t seem to be enough “there” there. Interestingly, the Hartford website does not list this wine.
The second Hartford was the 2013 Land’s Edge Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($50 from the winery website, $35 at Artisan). Like all pinots from the original Sonoma Coast AVA, this is on the lighter side with earthy tones. Currants are the dominant theme, both red and black. Cherries and spring flowers round out a pleasant experience. But for whatever reason, the Siduris were more to our taste.