Cindy Rynning, me and Jennifer Higgins, Lambert Bridge Winemaker
It’s amazing how the world and your intentions can change quickly. Cindy Rynning and I started planning our trip to Sonoma prior to the 2017 Wine Blogger’s Conference with the intent of visiting some boutique wineries, telling their stories and trying out some new social media skills. Little did we (and the wineries know) that we’d be part of a much more important task – informing our readers and communities that one month after the fires in wine country, these regions were open for business. And, that you can support them by visiting now, and just as importantly, buy wine. You can see our first Facebook live story here.
So what started as a collaboration between two friends, turned into a let’s tell the world Sonoma is still open for business wine tour. I first became familiar with Lambert Bridge Winery when my friend Robert Larsen, PR person extraordinaire and now winemaker for the Larsen Project, told me I absolutely had to go and visit them during my last trip to Sonoma in May 2016. I am so glad that he did. We had an amazing trip.
Cindy and I returned to Lambert Bridge Winery, which is located just West of Dry Creek in a very picturesque setting. This time we were asked to stay at their beautiful guest house located on the grounds, which could have been right out of a Houzz photoshoot. The refrigerator was stocked and there were two lovely wines waiting for us at our arrival. It killed to leave one behind.
Lambert Bridge is located west of Dry Creek near its namesake bridge. Ironically the C.L. Lambert family settled on this property a century ago. And 60 years later, Jerry Lambert, who is not related, decided in 1975 that this was an amazing site to make wine. Fast forward to 1993 and Ray and Patti Chambers fell in love with the property. They had a dream to make boutique wines in a place that combined food, hospitality and friendship.
From the moment you walk in, you never meet a stranger. The welcome that we received from General Manager Bill Smart, Winemaker Jennifer Higgins and Wine Educator Patti Chambers was incredible. We had a private tasting in the library.
While it had been 18 months since my last visit, things had not changed in terms of the hospitality mentioned above or the outstanding wines. Jennifer is in control of every aspect of the farming and winemaking process and it shows. Each cluster is farmed individually and sorted. The winery continues to make wine for passionate wine drinkers.
We had a wine and cheese flight for six wines and then Patti brought out an extra bottle just so we could try the Zinfandel. Full disclosure: this is one of the few wine clubs that I am a member of because I love their wines so much.
2014 Lambert Bridge Chardonnay, Chambers Vineyard paired with Highway 1, Valley Ford Cheese Company – full of tropical fruit, apricot, spice, citrus and orange peel. This was my kind of elegant, Old World Chardonnay. It was delicious.
2014 Lambert Bridge Cabernet Franc, Sonoma Country and St. George, Matos Cheese Company – notes of blackberry, pepper, spice, red cherry, mocha and cigar box, this has long been one of my favorite California cabernet franc wines. It was perfect with the cheese.
2013 Lambert Bridge Malbec, Chambers Vineyard and Mt. Tam, Cowgirl Creamery – notes of berry, spice flowers and blueberry. Never in a million years would I have put these two together, but they were a great match.
2013 Lambert Bridge Crane Creek Cuvee, Sonoma County and Dry Jack Special Reserve, Vella Cheese Company – this is Lambert Bridge’s Bordeaux blend and is a gorgeous wine. Plum, spice, blueberry, earth and elegance all wrapped up in one sexy, elegant package. The cheese was beautiful with it, but it needed nothing.
2012 Lambert Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Fiscalini Cheddar, Fiscalini Cheese Company – more elegance in a glass with red cherry, pepper, spice, mocha and chocolate with an almost velvet finish. Excellent with the cheese pairing.
2013 Petit Verdot and San Andreas, Bellwether Farms – Boysenberry, cherry cola, mocha and spice continue to make this another favorite wine of mine. Also worked very well with the cheese.
2015 Lambert Bridge Meyers Zinfandel – notes of cranberry, pomegranate and white pepper. It was a well-balanced and lovely Zinfandel.
Bill Smart, Lambert Bridge GM, and Dustin Valette, Owner and Executive Chef of Valette, the two most hospitable men in the business
We journeyed that evening with Bill Smart to Valette, which is one of my favorite Sonoma restaurants since discovering it with Lisa Mattson several years ago, where we met a dear friend, Marcy Gordon. Dustin Valette, the Owner and Executive Chef, rolled out the red carpet for us with one delicious treat after another until we could no longer eat another wonderful thing he put in front of us.