Just off the edge of the Sonoma Plaza you'll find a small cottage tucked away from the street that is the home of Winery Sixteen 600. It's the kind of comfortable and eclectic spot that characterizes the old Sonoma vibe. Founded by Phil Coturri, a pioneer of Sonoma's sustainable viticulture movement and iconic Sonoma grape grower and winemaker, you'll get the feeling of what Sonoma was like in the early days of its wine renaissance.
You're greeted by a small porch that's a perfect outdoor tasting spot for two. Inside there are two tasting rooms and a large dining room that is also set up for tasting. Each party was in its own room, which made it comfortable both for conversation and for those concerned with being Covid careful. Throw back tunes are available in the tasting rooms with old vinyl collections and stereo systems you can use to create the perfect tasting ambiance. It is doggy friendly which made our tasting companion - Bindi - very happy.
We were there to taste some of their Grenache wines and they assembled a custom tasting for us that started with a Grenache Rosé North Coast. The fruit was sourced from Steel Plow Vineyards and Rossi Ranch. These are two noted vineyards near Kenwood and Rossi Ranch is spectacularly beautiful. I often cycle through the vineyards when coming down Lawndale and into Glenn Ellen. Pale Pink in color with strawberry and Grapefruit aromas, the wine showed off some mineral notes and gentle acidity.
We also tasted the 2017 Val Rossi Homage Blanc. It's a field blend - grapes fermented together - of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Marsanne from the Rossi Ranch. This was a group fav pick with green apple, kiiwi and hints of lychee and honey on the nose. A soft round entry offered up bosc pear and citrus flavors with a slight green almond on the finish.
We tasted three Grenache reds. Two varietals and one blend. The 2018 Muchas Piedras is a field blend with Grenache, Mourvedre and Alicante Bouche. An aromatic wine with cherry, blackberry and florals, there was also a slight vanilla aroma. For me, the wine was a little hot. The tannin was velvety and palate was full of ripe blackberry.
The two varietal Grenache wines included a single vineyard from Steel Plow and a blend of three vineyards - Steel Plow, Rossi Ranch and Oakville Ranch. All the reds were aged in neutral oak so we were getting the nuances of the different vineyards coming through. The Steel Plow was ripe with cherry, plum and cocoa. A gentle entry offered up dusty fruit and fine tannin. The 2018 North Coast showed more garrigue and baking spice with higher acidity and a slight tart cherry on the palate.
Winery Sixteen 600 is a reservations only tasting room. The winery focuses on Rhone varietals from the Sonoma Valley. They also have Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignon. Comparative tastings are $42 per person and they recommend setting aside 1 to 1.5 hours. It's a total chill experience you don't want to rush. https://www.winerysixteen600.com/tasting-house.html