Annadel State Park is known to thousands of bikers, hikers and equestrians, some of whom may have heard the story about how the area was named after an early property owner’s daughter: Annie’s Dell. Fewer still know that a stone winery was built here in the 1880s by Henry Bolle, and named for the area: Annadel Winery. But the really big secret is that a new family is restoring the property and resurrecting the winery name. After 120 years, Annadel Winery is open for business again.
It’s a telling detail. Gamely leading a tour on a recent afternoon, daughter propped in one arm, Zimmerman emphasizes that all they want to do is offer this seldom-seen, oak-shaded dell to the public, hinting that their tasting permit (granted May 17) was hard-won. The atmospheric winery ruins are only open for 10 weddings per year, while wines are made, for now, at nearby Deerfield Ranch. Relaxed, shoot-the-breeze tastings are held on the porch of the 1886 ranch house, rebuilt using salvaged wood from the property, with cribbing damage done to the railing by horses tied up there in decades past still evident.
Bordigioni claims no credit for the vineyard, planted at the turn of this century by one of the previous owners. Notably, this special mix of Bordeaux varietals—rumored to be of the same stuff as one of Napa’s most famed Franco-American wine collaborations, though it cannot be named—has a Pinot Noir vineyard for a neighbor. Unlike Napa, the Sonoma Valley cools off a bit at its northern reach. But first we cool off with a 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay ($34) that’s supple and well-rounded, with candy apple aromas. The 2009 Anni’s Blend Sonoma Valley ($36) is a finessed Cab-based blend with vanilla, dried berry and patent leather notes, and a fine finish—nearly as fine as just drinking in the view from the porch, hidden in plain sight near Oakmont Drive, backdropped by the conifers of the park’s blue-green north slope.
Annadel Estate Winery, 6687 Sonoma Hwy., Santa Rosa. History and vineyard tour with tasting, by appointment only. $25. 707.537.8007.