A steady and slow rain fell as we drove along Wine Creek Road passing homes and wineries neatly tucked into the quiet corners of the Dry Creek valley. So often when we visit the Healdsburg area our time and hearts are occupied with wineries we have loved in the past. On this trip we were determined to plot a new course and try some new selections.
In the early afternoon we approached the Michel - Schlumberger winery excited to learn more about their wines and vineyards. I spotted the property and imagined how lovely it would be to live there and enjoy of glass wine on an evening walk through the vineyard.We were immediately enchanted at how this beautiful old estate incorporates a reverence for nature, the business of winemaking and a spirit of relaxation one rarely sees these days. We were also amazed to discover this old elegant estate was actually built in 1979. It was evident that Jean-Jacques Michel chose to share the flavor of his European roots with his guests,and we are grateful.
The centerpiece of the property is a long reflecting pond filled with lily pads and frogs that croak a robust greeting. Were they greeting us or insuring the future frog population? I like to think both are true. As we entered into the atrium surrounding the pond, the big open arms of the winery walls seemed to embrace us and welcome us home.
To us, our host Jim is the face and heart of Michel-Schlumberger wines. If you have ever met someone and felt an instant kinship you will understand how we felt upon meeting Jim. It is evident he loves people, enjoys talking about wine and feels proud to promote a company he feels passionate about.
We began our visit on the back terrace over looking the organic garden. We watched finches and bluebirds dance on and off their feeders while learning a bit of winery history. Seeing the barrel room and the production facility is always a fun prelude to a tasting and we welcomed the opportunity accompany Jim as he led a tour. The winery has the feel of an elegant country home, sophisticated yet very comfortable. Every area invites you to linger a while, take it all in and have a glass of wine.
It was time to begin our tasting and Jim could not have picked a better place for us to enjoy it than seated at the round table in the spacious yet cozy kitchen of the estate.To have friends gather in the kitchen sharing stories and sipping wine is one of life’s great joys. French doors allowed us to look out over the terrace and beautiful property as we relaxed and got reacquainted with the wines of Michel Schlumberger.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 07 La Brume Chardonnay with it’s crisp citrus and floral notes. I generally gravitate more to Sauvignon Blanc because I find many chardonnays are too heavily oaked and buttery for my taste The La Brume is not and therefore perfect for me. I’m a big fan of malbec and the dark berry richness of the Humanitas malbec did not disappoint. My favorite taste of the day was the 1991 Cabernet, which was even more delicious than you are imagining it was. This tasting will spoil you for the rushed impersonal crowded affairs that often pass for tastings. This is the way wine was meant to be enjoyed.
Imagine being invited to the country home of a dear friend. You are welcomed and given a tour; after which you share wine and good conversation. You leave smiling, having made new friends and having tasted some extraordinarily good wine made by a socially conscious producer. If this sounds like heaven to you make an appointment to pay a visit to Michel-Schlumberger and say hello to Jim for us.