A question I get a lot from people headed out to Napa or Sonoma is “what winery should I visit?” Ideally you want a place that is gorgeous, with wines that match, and Ferrari-Carano definitely fits the bill. TripAdvisor consistently mentions the gardens at Ferrari-Carano as one of the most beautiful in California wine country, and the winery itself as a “must visit.” You’ll almost feel like you’re visiting a Chateaux in Bordeaux! Almost.
But beyond scenery, the wines at Ferrari-Carano’s Dry Creek Valley winery in Sonoma are world class, and surprisingly affordable! This week’s feature, for example, is available for less than $20 everywhere, but is an excellent expression of Italian Sangiovese with a California twist.
The story of the Carano family makes me smile. Originally proprietors of the acclaimed Eldorado Hotel, Don and Rhonda Carano sought out quality Sonoma wines for their wine list, and fell in love with the area and its wines to such an extent that they began taking classes about enology and viticulture at U.C. Davis. Soon after, they made their first wines in a barn, bottled under the Carano Cellars label, which was given to friends and family, before eventually appearing on the wine lists at the Eldorado. But by then winemaking had taken its hold, and became the Carano’s fulltime career, and Ferrari-Carano Vineyards was born.
The 2016 Ferrari-Carano Siena is a blend of Sangiovese with Malbec, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon, a sumptuous mix of grapes providing cherry and raspberry flavors, blackberry, leather and vanilla aromas, and an oaky dark chocolate finish that contrasts perfectly with the fruit. I really like this wine! It’s deep and rich, nicely balanced, and got 90 points from Wine Spectator. You can also feel good about buying it, since Ferrari-Carano is a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard, protecting the fragile ecosystem and preserving the 1,400 vineyard acres for future generations.
On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, the 2016 Ferrari-Carano Siena gets 4 corks! You should be able to find it locally for around $19, and it’s worth every penny.
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Walt’s Hitching Post, 3300 Madison Pike, Fort Wright, KY! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!