By Kori ~ November 5th, 2008.
During the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma County, California, Dad (John) and I had the pleasure of taking a vineyard walk at Michel-Schlumberger (pronounced â€œmi-shellâ€™ shloomâ€™-bear-zhayâ€). We hopped into vans and headed up to the Dry Creek Valley in the northern part of Sonoma County.
After driving along winding, wine country roads, we arrived at Michel-Schlumberger which is located off the beaten path in Wine Creek Canyon. Led by winemaker Mike Brunson and general manager Judd Wallenbrock, our walk started near the top of Bradford Mountain. As we enjoyed a walk in the morning sun and took in the picturesque surroundings, Mike and Judd shared with us some of the wineryâ€™s history, vineyard practices, and philosophy of winemaking.
Founded in 1979 as Domaine Michel, Michel-Schlumberger came to be in 1993 when Jacques Schlumberger became majority partner and president. Michel-Schlumberger utilizes sustainable farming techniques and is in the process of pursuing an organic farming certification. In fact, all of the Dry Creek Valley is moving towards following organic principles. In keeping with these organic principles, Michel-Schlumberger has sheep that help with mowing around the vines and chickens that assist with controlling bugs in the vineyards. Under the direction of winemaker Mike Brunson, they produce hand-crafted small lot wines and specialize in Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Lucky for us, most of our walk was downhill, winding along Wine Creek from Bradford Mountain down the hillside to the valley vineyards near the winery. About three-quarters of the way through our walk, we stopped at a beautiful spot overlooking the vineyards to enjoy some barrel samples of Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. Then we continued down to the valley vineyards, past the chicken coop, and were led to a long table set for us on the lawn next to the winery for a family style lunch catered by Liza Hinman of Santi and paired with Michel-Schlumbergerâ€™s 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2005 Coteaux Sauvages. Fabulous food, good wines, the company of new friends, and a gorgeous wine country day made this a truly memorable experience.
If you are ever in the Sonoma County area, I highly encourage you to make an appointment to visit Michel-Schlumberger. They offer a wide variety of tours and tastings; all of which promise to be very memorable experiences. And if a vineyard walk like this appeals to you, you might want to consider one of the Sonoma Vineyard Walks offered by Zephyr Wine Adventures for your next vacation.
Filed under: American Wine, California Wine, Vineyards, Wine Activities/Events, Wine Travel