Porter Creek Winery, nestled in the cool inner corner of the Russian River Valley, has always been my favorite winery for a lazy afternoon visit. It’s a place both precious and timeless to share with visitors or with my staff when we have a moment to get out and smell the flowers.
The people of Porter Creek are direct and of the earth; practicing organic and Biodynamic farming since the late 90’s has imbued their ethos with an eye for the integrity in nature. The grapes are clean and organized, yet grass still grows between the vines; the property maintains minimal fencing allowing for the movement of wildlife and animals; gardens and fruit trees are interspersed throughout; and the oak-laden hills and old barns are maintained and cherished for future generations.
These traits are expressed with directness in the wine as well. The first Porter Creek wine I fell in love with was their George’s Hill Chardonnay. It had acid and balance and a bit of oak to round it out. And—most importantly—it has always had something subtle and alluring. I came to learn part of these subtleties were from the older vines, some of which had disease. Older vines carry with them scars and bruises from their years in the field, which invariably adds character to the wine in the bottle. In their chardonnay it brought out the best characteristics the grape had to offer: elegance and breadth with wild textures of sunlight and baked pear.
Beyond their timeless chardonnay, each visit to the winery surprises me with the flavors of a new vintage. Porter Creek’s winemaker Alex Davis seems to find joy in seeing his wines evolve as he grows in age. The vineyards mature, each growing season presenting new opportunities and his ever-evolving relationship to the land and himself is expressed anew with each passing vintage.
Stop by Lowell’s to see the photos Dawn Heumann took over the year at Porter Creek Winery.