ZINfully Great Tasting Wines
Harvest Moon Estate and Winery is located at 2192 Olivet Road in Santa Rosa, California (in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County).
The Harvest Moon is the moon at and about the period of fullness that is nearest to the autumnal equinox.
Tasting Room Hours: Open Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tasting Fee: $10 per person and fees are waived with purchase. There is a patio area available too.
I did not get to meet Miss Charlotte Brown, aka “Brown Dog”, the Winery’s Chocolate Lab. Miss Brown must have been on gopher patrol instead of being on hand as the tasting room greeter.
I absolutely LOVED the tasting flight and actually got a few extra tastings too!
- Dry Sparkling Gewurztraminer – sweet, fruity and crisp with a dry finish.
- Russian River Pinot Noir – like a breath of fresh air in the glass with a stated elegance too! The color is beautiful and lighter in body while being lower in alcohol and higher in acidity. The Pinot Noir was spicy and floral with a berry juiciness. This wine is pressed directly into the barrel and is aged for 16 to 20 months in French barrels that are neutral, seasoned barrels. This wine can be opened now or cellared for 10 to 12 years.
“Zinfandel is notorious for ripening so unevenly
that it’s in my opinion, one of the more challenging varietals to grow.
Couple that with the fact Zin has zero tolerance for lack of cellar sanitation,
it’s nearly impossible to bottle flawless” – Winegrower Randy Pitts.
I loved the ZINS the BEST!!!
- Pitts Home Ranch Estate Zinfandel – their flagship Zin, which is grown, produced and bottled on the Estate. I would love to see Randy’s process with the Zinfandel vines and grapes because it is quite the process (i.e. fruit thinning, spring suckering, leaf pulling, cane positioning, shaving of the fruit, picking only the ripe bunches)! The wine is beautiful in the glass, has a great nose, feels good in the mouth, and has a great finish on the palate. Juicy, Spicy, Fruity! This wine can be opened now or cellared for 10 to 12 years.
- Russian River Valley Zinfandel Blend (100% Zin) – a blend of Zinfandel. Talk about the ultimate mystery for your taste buds and palate! This is a neighborhood blend of Zinfandel compiled from small Russian River Valley vineyards located within miles of the winery. Complex, Juicy, Fruity! This wine can be opened now or cellared for 8 years.
- RandyZin – Sonoma County Zinfandel Blend – let me count the varietals; Zinfandel, Syrah (Riebli) and Sangiovese (Alexander Valley). Tasty just Open and Enjoy!
- Late Harvest Estate Zinfandel – seriously Randy, your Late Harvest blew my taste buds! This wine has the right amount of sweetness that just adds balance to the wine and no alcohol forward nose in the glass. I cannot wait to share this with my greatest someones this Holiday season!
- Ice-Style Gewurztraminer – this wine is made by taking whole clusters of grapes to the freezer where the fruit sits for 9 days at -32 degrees. A dessert wine that is very sweet with notes of floral and fruit. This dessert wine has a good mouth feel with a good nose in the glass.
Randy makes a Dry Sparkling Zinfandel too! I will have to go back to taste it.
The Experience that is Harvest Moon
Harvest Moon is an adventure and an experience! Randy and his friendly wine tasting room staff are personal, engaging and knowledgeable. Randy has a gong behind the wine tasting bar and he knows how to USE IT!
There are few wineries that make me lose track of time and Harvest Moon has been added to that list! I was able to take my time to taste the various wines as well as explore the outside spaces of the winery. I just needed a comfy chair and a bottle of wine to watch the action going on!
Interview with Randy Pitts
Randy Pitts is grape grower and wine maker and likes a good challenge, especially when it comes to Zinfandel! Randy is down to earth, friendly and fun-loving. Enjoy my interview with him!
CA: What do you love about growing grapes and making wine?
RP: “Having been trained as a white-collar corporate dude, I am most thankful for being able to work outside with my dog in tow… When most of my buddies are taking their black boxes to their offices in the sky (SF), I’m working with my hands creating an actual product that some folks really enjoy.”
CA: Why are you so passionate about Zinfandel?
RP: “98% of zin on this planet is grown in CA, specifically NorCal, so I thought it’d be appropriate to focus on it… Having had my Father plant 5 acres in our backyard wasn’t a detractor either ; ) More over, I gravitated towards this wrangly, tough-to-grow varietal because it is so challenging to grow… Uneven ripening, thin skins, tight clusters and all grown in the cool climate of the RRV, makes for a hell of a challenge.”
CA: Why did you decide to make wines that are lower in sugars and alcohol?
RP: “Getting into wine in early 2000, I was exposed to the “sledgehammer” style CA reds and found myself not being able to knock back a bottle on a friday evening… No, not because of the actual higher-than-average alcohol, but because the wines were out of balance and the vicsious mouthfeel of these wines didn’t encourage me to take another sip (or glass)… I did my research prior to convincing my parents to allow me to pull $ out of the newly-paid-off property and start a winery. Napa in the ’70’s, France for hundreds of years and even going back to Roman winemaking (yes let’s go there!), the serious dry world-class reds were made in a lower alc style… In fact 12% alc was S.O.P…. This is not an emerging industry- Humans have beein crafting vino for thousands of years- if the lower alc less new oak style worked for them, why not me?”
CA: I actually love this because I am a foodie and a wino, so love a wine that balances well with food.
RP: “Yes- the term “food friendly” is tossed around often in WC, but these lower alc, higher natural acidic wines truely ARE food friendly… and age-worthy… and pair with a higher versitility of foods…”
CA: What are three things you would like to share with my readers about your winery and coming to the winery’s tasting room?
RP: “Lower alc, lighter body and less oak flavor does not mean less flavor or less aroma… it actually means MORE natural flavor from the vineyards. We are a small family run winery offering wines we grow, make, bottle and sell 100% direct from the source… Our backyard. The last thing I’d say is make an appointment with me… I’ll show up and you’ll be in for the most a-typical wine country experience out there… You might learn some stuff too!”
CA: What is the one thing you CRAVE in living your life?
RP: “My garden, my daughter, my wife… I know that’s three, but cravings are strong… strong like passion… one shouldn’t limit one’s passions.”