Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate
Sonoma County Winery
4155 Wine Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
|Phone #||(707) 433-7427|
|Pricing||$ $ $ $ $|
|Rating||* * * * *|
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Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate Wine Tasting Tours, Hours & Prices:
Call for appointment for these Tours and Tastings:
The Estate Tasting - $10
Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate Wine Tasting Notes
Off West Dry Creek Road and and half mile further out on Wine Creek Road, this "magical place" is done up in California Mission style, complete with a bell tower. I entered through the gates into a peaceful courtyard with a quiet reflecting pool. At one end of the courtyard is the white face of the Mission style tank room building, and on the other some tables along a wall with a doorway leading into the tasting room and office area. Wow. Nice.
Officially, Michel-Schlumberger Winery requires folks to call ahead for an appointment, and Samantha, the tasting room host, assured me over the phone that I can come straight over and they'd take care of me.
As I entered the tasting room Samantha introduced herself and asked if I'd like to sit at one of the tables inside the "tasting salon", or outside in the courtyard. No-brainer. Courtyard. She poured me a glass of the 2009 La Bise Pinot Blanc and told me to go and sit outside and she'd be out with the next wine.
The photo below shows the tasting salon where you can sit comfortably at a table while you taste. I sat in the courtyard, but the salon was just as magical and relaxing.
The Pinot Blanc is made in stainless steel and had all the crispness you'd expect from a no-oak wine. Nice citrus and crisp acid. I drank it like it was a soft drink. Samantha told me that they call it the Gatorade of wine because it drinks so easy. I have to agree.
Next she brought out the 2007 La Brume Chardonnay, which is the complete opposite of the Pinot Blanc. While not as big and obnoxious as Napa Chards, this one does have a bit of the butter and oak tones, yet still quite nice. Not my favorite, (Chards rarely are).
Samantha and I were in that awesome courtyard shooting the shit about wine. Michel-Schlumberger is a pretty small operation, she told me, producing only 6-8 thousand cases a year.
Wine #4 was the Merlot, which was quite nice. Fruity, but balanced. Nice tannins, too.
Wine #5 was a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon with nice, soft tannins... not too big at all. Great example of the less bombastic Sonoma Cab, (when compared to Napa).
Later, Samantha graciously agreed to lead a quick tour of the grounds. This was great because when I initially called and asked if there were any more tours I was told there was not. Score!
Samantha started us up a path past the chicken coop and explained about the winery's organic and sustainable practices, (including using fresh eggs from the chickens). It is often lost in the commercialism of the wine biz that wineries are working farms run by folks working the land for a living. It shouldn't be surprising to see sheep, pigs, or chickens. Some wineries in the area, like Quivira Vineyards, have taken sustainability a step further by using biodynamic farming, planting organic vegetable gardens, and heading conservation projects to save local resources, like creeks and bees. But I digress...
Up past the chicken coop and around the bend we came to a patch overlooking a peaceful lake. And still further up, at the top of the hill, we were granted breathtaking views of the vineyards, surrounding valley, and distant mountains and hills. A truly magical spot, (as you can see from the photo).
I recommend getting the tour if you visit. The Estate Tour and Tasting ($20) is offered at 11 and 2 daily and only takes about 30 minutes, and is followed by a tasting of their current wine offerings. But there are other choices (appointment required):
The Estate Tasting (no tour) | $10 - A taste of four wines in the relaxed wine salon.
Vertical Library Tasting | $30 - A tasting of three older Library Cabernet Sauvignons from their "finest reserve vintages".
Wine & Cheese Pairing | $35 - Local cheeses paired with their wines!
The Green Tour | $50 - Thorough tour of the winery and it's many animals, with a special tasting up on the hill with the view (as described above).
This is a special place. Even if it looks a bit "off the map", it's just far enough off the road to put it in it's own world. A perfect spot for a picnic, too (see photo)! With Quivira Vineyards (a WT favorite) and the town of Healdsburg so close by, Michel-Schlumberger is a WinoTripping must-stop winery.
Special thanks to Jim, Samantha, and Deb for making my tour and tasting a wonderfully laid-back experience.
See our complete Review and Feature:
Michel-Schlumberger - The WT Review
Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate Wines
Ratings and tasting notes coming soon!