It's Raining, It's Pouring, Winemakers are Roaring!

The storm door is finally wedged open here in Northern California and you've never seen so many folks wandering around dripping wet with big smiles on their faces. The big storm that hit the L.A. area nearly blew us off a cliff into the Pacific while we were pouring at the recent World of Pinot Noir tasting, but not only were we glad for the rain, we also saw many familiar faces and met some wonderful new fellow Pinotphiles. Thanks to everyone who made it a great event.


Perhaps you saw the words that wine critic Robert Parker used when describing our 2010 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir: "savory, velvety-textured, opulent wine ... pure and sexy."

food and winein search of perfect pairings

For the past several months, we’ve been exploring recipes that pair well with our wines. We’re delighted to say that we’ve had many successes, thanks in part to the guidance we’ve received from our chef friends and the wonderful wine/food pairing books we’ve received from friends and Cartograph Circle members.

Why is it important to know what foods go well with which wines? So you don’t create a bad flavor profile that makes your wine taste flat or dull. For example, asparagus is a notoriously hard flavor to pair with wine—so don’t center a meal around asparagus and plan to serve a wine that you’ve held in the cellar for several years.

Our winter garden is yielding only lettuces and spinach these days, so we feel lucky that we froze so much garden produce last summer. We’ve used fresh spinach in combination with cannellini beans and tomatoes from the summer harvest to create some tasty pork, salmon and halibut dishes that work well with Pinot. With the winter rains, mushrooms have started to emerge in Sonoma County; we know that Pinot and mushroom dishes tend to pair delightfully, so we’re excited to find local mushrooms. As we continue to explore recipes, we’ll make them available in the tasting room and post them on our website so you can see what we’re playing with.

Do you have any recipes that you enjoy pairing with Cartograph wines? We’d love to hear about them. Email them to us or send us a link at

Pass the Pigs

pass the pigs olympics, 3/23

To celebrate the annual pork-and-Pinot bacchanalia that is Charlie Palmer's Pigs and Pinot event, we’ll be holding our first annual Pass the Pigs Olympics in our tasting room on Sunday, March 23, from noon to 3 p.m.

Pass the Pigs is a wonderfully wacky, easy-to-play pig dice (yes, pig dice) game. After the gluttony of Pigs and Pinot, we thought that a fun afternoon filled with laughter and Pinot would be a great way to wind down the weekend.

We’ll play a double-elimination tournament to determine the gold medalist, with silver and bronze medals awarded for the highest total points. Click here for registration information and the rules of the game. If you're already a Pass the Pigs fan and know that you want to sign up, send us a note at

Gold medalist wins Cartograph Circle wine club benefits for a year!

i heart wwh

wine walk for the heart, 4/5

On Saturday, April 5, we’ll be part of the I♥ Wine.Walk.Healdsburg to benefit our local chapter of the American Heart Association. From 11 a.m. to 4.p.m., you can spend the afternoon walking around Healdsburg and enjoying a special tasting of two wines at each of more than 35 participating tasting rooms. Buy pre-sale tickets ($15) here, or buy your tickets at our tasting room ($25; $15 for Cartograph Circle members). Click here for more information about the event.


2012 SangiovesePaddle, Paddle, Paddle

This late-winter part of the season is an interesting time for us. What you might think is a slow time—with the vineyards at rest and fewer people traveling—is in reality a little chaotic. Kind of like the frantic underwater paddling that keeps a placid-looking duck gliding upstream.

There are a lot of wine events this time of year that have us on the road; as I write this, I'm perched in a hotel room at World of Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara. In addition, our 2013 whites and rosé are heading into bottle soon. After getting all the design work done for new labels, plus the necessary approvals from our friendly federal officials, it's a fun game to get the bottles, labels, corks, screwcaps, foils, etc., all to land at the winery in a two-day window just before the bottling truck shows up. The Gewürztraminer and Rosé are right in sync with what we've made in the past: bright and bone-dry. Both of these wines will be ready for May release.

We’re also very excited to be introducing two new wines, both new grape varieties for us. We picked Sangiovese in 2012 from a small organic vineyard in the Redwood Valley, about an hour north of us. This fun, tart-cherry Sangio will be a special offering for our Cartograph Circle members. Also, after a five-year search, we finally found a Riesling vineyard that has a reputation for making great, age-worthy wines. We sourced two tons of Riesling from Greenwood Ridge in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. The wine is racy and incredibly vibrant, and, as you might expect, dry! I've had a lot of fun working with these new varieties and can't wait to share the wines with you.

You've all heard about the drought conditions here in California almost as much as we've heard about the winter that won't end in all points east of the Rockies, so I won't ratchet up anybody’s stress levels by bemoaning these things. But the sun is climbing higher in the sky, so relief is in sight for our friends to the east, and we're thankful for every drop of rain that in now falling here in the west.

Cheers, Alan


March 23: Pass the Pigs Olympics, Cartograph tasting room, 340 Center St., Healdsburg, CA

April 5: I ♥ Wine.Walk.Healdsburg, Healdsburg, CA

April 26: Pinot Days, Chicago, IL

May 3: Pinot & Paella, Cartograph tasting room, 340 Center St., Healdsburg

May 24–25: Passport to Pinot , Healdsburg, CA


SaVE THE DATE, May 3, 2014

Last but not least, for our May 3 spring release and club pickup party we're working with chef Fabiano Ramaci to create two different paellas to pair with our new releases. We'll send you an invitation to this event soon, but please save that date if you can. We're planning on noon to 3 p.m. —watch for details!


Alan, Winemaker/Owner, and Serena, Owner