Many of the newer wineries I have visited have a common back story. The owner worked for years and years in a lucrative profession, amassed millions of dollars and then started a winery. While it is nice to hear that hard work does pay off, for most of us who aren’t exactly on the path to a retirement account with $10+ million at a minimum, it sends a message that starting a winery is only an option for those lucky few. Scribe is a refreshing change to that formula by showing wine lovers that young people with passion and a dream can make great wine, and can do so in a prestigious California wine region.
I first heard about Scribe several years ago when Food & Wine featured an article about the winery, and ever since it has been on my short list of Sonoma wineries to visit. My last few trips to California, however, have to regions south of Napa and Sonoma so it was not until recently that I was able to visit. It was worth the wait.
It was raining the afternoon that I recently visited Scribe so I did not get to enjoy the great outdoor space at the winery. Regardless, the team leading the tastings found a place for us to sample the current releases down in the wine cellar. The house that currently serves as a tasting room has been very thoughtfully decorated, with cool hipster type decor that was purchased over time by someone with an eye for style. This most definitely is not a multi-million dollar Napa winery, and that is what makes it so great. The team at Scribe, including the winemakers, are all under the age of 35 and are building this great winery with limited resources. And they are proof that you don’t need VC funding to make great wine in this day and age.
I sampled five different wines on my visit, and all of them honor the grapes used and the region in which they were grown. The prior owners of the land, who were from Germany, arrived in the 1850s and grew Riesling and Sylvaner on the current Scribe estate. Scribe has continued to produce wine from those varietals with much success. They also have a Chardonnay which is made in the pure style that allows the real flavors to shine through (no malolactic fermentation or oak barrels are used to make the wine).
The two wines that I loved most were the reds that I tasted. The 07 Cabernet from Atlas Peak ($66) had a nose that I could have savored all day. This is the kind of Cab that I love; smooth, earthy and decadent. The 09 Syrah ($48) was also something special with its rich, spicy and smooth tannins. Both of those reds are wines I will savor when it comes time to open the bottles that I brought home.
Like many newer wineries in this area, you need an appointment to visit, but do not let that deter you. This is a great winery making some very delicious wines, and in a setting that is relaxing, inspiring and downright fun.
Rating: 4 out of 4 – highly recommend