If you had a Nobel prize, would you stash it in the garage, next to the Coleman stove and the CD changer with a cracked display cover but which works pretty well, otherwise, and which you tried to sell on craigslist for $50 – seems fair – but nobody wants an old 400-CD changer anymore?
No, of course you wouldn’t. You’d display it front and center, on the fireplace mantle, perhaps, or, for modesty’s sake, a little to the side of that picture of Grandma.
West Wines owners Katarina Bonde and Bengt Akerlind are proud of showing off their 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was selected to be served at the 2010 Nobel awards banquet in Stockholm.
The Swedish king and queen and 1,200 guests were in attendance. It was the first time that an American wine was served here. At their small tasting room in Dry Creek Valley, West Wines invites you to “drink like a Nobel laureate.”
When friends invited them to a long weekend in wine country, said Bonde, “We were completely hooked.” After purchasing a hillside property on the west side of Dry Creek Valley, and this bottom land along Dry Creek Road, Bonde and Akerlind sought advice from their neighbors.
As outsiders, they were pleased to be welcomed into the community. “In the high tech industry that I come from,” said Bonde, “it is very competitive. Cutthroat. But here, you can’t afford to have a bad attitude, and not share.”
Connections in their native Sweden helped to get their wine distributed in Sweden’s government liquor stores, the fourth largest wine buyers in the world, and in Michelin-starred restaurants in Stockholm (whose sommeliers nominated them to the Nobel committee). On their website, you have the option of ordering their wines in Swedish. Can you guess what’s on the menu for West Wines’ holiday-themed Thanksgiving weekend? Hot Swedish “glug” and cookies is correct.
The small, “IKEA style” tasting room is fashioned like a narrow garage bay, classed up with a chandelier. Bonde is often on hand to give vineyard tours, taking turns with tasting room manager Star. They’ve got picnic tables in the shade, and a neatly kept-up rental house adjacent the tasting room available for longer stays.
The 2008 Viognier ($23) is high-toned, with dried apricot fruit and just a racy hint of volatile acidity. It’s got a nice, creamy mid-palate, like barrel-fermented Chardonnay but without overpowering oak.
Fans of tightly structured, Bordeaux blends may love the 2008 Crest Cuvée ($35), a Cab blend, perfumed with pretty plum and toasty, graham cracker aromas.
As for the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon ($45), it’s still on offer and it’s fine, of course – who are we to question the Nobel committee?
West Wines, 1000 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Open noon to 4pm Thursday and Friday, 11am to 4pm weekends. $5 fee. 707-433-2066.