Melanie Hoffman

Just north of Healdsburg is the quiet little town of Geyserville, a one stop sign sort of place. Right at this stop sign is Locals Wine Shop located in an historic building that was originally home to masons, that dates back to the early 1900s. Locals offers a different style of tasting. Pouring over 50 wines from eight wineries daily in flight tasting format.

Diane Lieberman and Sharon Ray were tending the shop and they started me with the Other Whites Flight. These ladies are super welcoming and know how to enjoy wine country. Diane and Sharon offer folks that stop in to Locals a “party for their palate”. And boy howdy the party is started! In front of me I have wine glasses with an array of white varieties from their assorted winery portfolio; each different, each delicious.

Portalupi, 2007 Bianco, California | 46% Sauvignon Blanc, 47% Chardonnay, 7% Muscat Alexandra ~ $16.00 ~ Bright citrus nose offers Myer lemon and gooseberry aromas, added floral notes of jasmine and honeysuckle with trailing hints of Genoa fig. Nicely balanced wine, refreshing and crisp. Gooseberry continues on the palate with added clove and cedar spice notes. Finish is long and lingering with blood orange that lasts.

Hawley, 2007 Viognier, Sierra Foothills | Barrel Fermented ~ $22.00 ~ Bouquet opens with orange blossoms and vanilla bean, added blueberry and blackberry aromas round out the nose. Juicy, jammy palate offers a lot of red fruit flavors for a white wine. Fresh picked raspberries, hint of red licorice and a long lingering blood orange finish; a complex wine.

Ramazzotti, 2007 Zin-Giovese Rosé, Dry Creek Valley ~ $16.00 ~ Bright exciting nose offers creamy raspberry tart aromas with a hint of bay leaves. Added cranberry scent in the end of the bouquet. Elegant palate, delicate fruit flavors; rose petals and strawberry jam that lasts all the way through to the finish. Delicious!

Next was the Pinot Noir flight.

Eric Ross Winery, 2006 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley ~ $30.00 ~ Blueberry jam bouquet, a very floral nose, added leather and smoke with notes of anise and vanilla. Rich palate offers abundant red raspberry fruit upfront. More smoke, toasty oak and vanilla. Round mouthfeel, balanced and smooth. Nice acid to fruit balance, elegant tannin structure. Fig bar flavors in the finish.

Hawley, 2006 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley | Oehlman Vineyard ~ $32.00 ~ Cherry and caramel on the nose with added vanilla oak, cocoa powder, coffee bean and black licorice. Palate features cherry all the way through. Added espresso flavors with a mid-palate of ripe plums. Rich mouthfeel, nice tannins. Cherry blossoms and vanilla in the long finish.

Portalupi, 2006 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley ~ $45.00 ~ Apple Crisp nose, strawberry rhubarb and cranberries, a real holiday bouquet in the aromas, added nutmeg and vanilla bean at the end of the aromas. Easy, clean, gentle sipper. Bright fruits and lots of it! Strawberries and cherry upfront and through to the mid-palate with a cranberry compote finish.

Then I tried some Zinfandels and Zin blends.

Hawley, 2006 Zinfandel, Sonoma County | Ponzo Vineyard ~ $25.00 ~ Black licorice nose, ripe plums with added notes of dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and brown sugar. Smooth, smooth, smooth palate with excellent structure. Boysenberry flavors upfront, with more anise mid-palate. Finish of basil and bergamot.

Portalupi, 2006 Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley ~ $28.00 ~ Fresh blackberry nose; huge bouquet, lots of fruit. Added milk chocolate rounds out the aromas. I could sit and smell this wine all night. Palate mirrors nose; huge blackberry fruit, like you are standing next to a blackberry bush and feeding handfuls of berries into your mouth. Amazing!

And lastly the Ramazzotti Super Tuscan, which wowed me!

Ramazzotti, 2005 Super Tuscan, Sonoma County | 60% Sangiovese and 40% Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Syrah ~ $30.00 ~ Smoky, tobacco leaves and horse saddle leather upfront in the bouquet. Added vanilla, cedar and nutmeg. Lots of black fruit; blackberry, mulberry, blueberry jam. Deep dark and macabre. Upon first sip I said out loud, “Oh Yeah! This is a Wow wine.” Palate follows bouquet, rich, robust berry jammy flavors. Excellent tannin structure, this wine will last. Lingering plums in the finish.

For more information or to order wine visit Locals Website at or call/Email them at 707-857-4900 / Email: | Locals Wine Shop is located in Downtown Geyserville at the corner of Geyserville Ave & Hwy 128. Their Tasting Room is Open Everyday 11am – 6pm.