Behind the Cork™ - Alexander Valley Vineyards Primitivo


2013 Alexander Valley Vineyards Primitivo ($45)

This week’s Behind the Cork™ feature is a special one. During my last visit to Alexander Valley Vineyards I had the pleasure of spending time in the tasting room with Denise Gill, their Tasting Room Manager. And, I got to taste a bunch of really great wines.

This Alexander School Reserve Primitivo was one of several that I brought home.

The grapes are from their Wetzel Family Estate, located on the property settled in the 1840’s by Alexander Valley’s namesake, Cyrus Alexander. And, the Alexander School Reserve wines focus on some of the best and most unique lots of grapes that they harvest each year.

If you know Primitivo, you know that its DNA analysis proved that Zinfandel and Primitivo are the same variety. But, at the Wetzel Family Estate, they grow both side by side in a tiny hillside vineyard planted high above the winery, and they claim that flavors of each are dramatically different.

They state that the Primitivo has “loads of black fruit with great acidity, while the Zinfandel has jammy raspberry flavors and lots of spice.” I have to strongly agree!

This is a special one. Next time you are in Alexander Valley, you must stop at Alexander Valley Vineyards. In addition to a great bunch of wines offered in their tasting room, they have extensive wine caves that can be toured upon special request.

This Primitivo was a real pleasure. Look for it. Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Robert Young Cabernet Franc


Robert Young Alexander Valley ‘Big Rock Block’ Cabernet Franc ($65)

This one’s a real treat. Alexander Valley is a favorite of mine and this Cabernet Franc from Robert Young Estate Winery is an exceptional example of the Alexander Valley wines.

I picked this one up during my 2018 visit to Alexander Valley. I was familiar with the wineries along the main road. But, for my final stop of the trip, I decided to go off the main road and check out Robert Young. I didn’t know anything about their wines so I went in with no expectations. Then, I was blown away.

Along with this delicious Cabernet Franc, I also tried their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Verdot. They were all outstanding and I brought home one of each!

This ‘Big Rock Block’ Cabernet Franc is rich and complex with wonderful dark fruit flavors and oak aging that makes for an amazing wine with low tannin and a long smooth finish.

While my “Behind the Cork™” features are often wines that are easily affordable and easily attainable, this Robert Young Cabernet Franc is a bit pricier and you’ll probably only find it at the winery, but it’s a tremendous find that will be featured in the “Great Wines” page of the website.

If you get the opportunity to be in Alexander Valley, take the short trip off the main road and visit Robert Young Estate. It’s well worth the visit! Cheers!