When I first read Steve Heimoff’s “A Wine Journey Along the Russian River” a half-dozen years ago, I almost quit because he spent so much time at the outset talking about geology. The, er, fault, it turned out, was mine: I really didn’t know much about wine.
But even for someone who’s just starting to learn about wine as I was (and still am), this is a fascinating account of the places and people in an area that has since become much more widely known for its wide-ranging offerings.
This, by the way, is not just focused on the American Viticultural Area (AVA) known as the Russian River Valley, but also covers other areas that surround the river as it courses its way from the Alexander Valley to the Pacific Ocean.
That covers a lot of geography (and yes, geology), not to mention all manner of microclimates, conditions making the subregions and the grapes that thrive there more varied than longer and (for now) more famous rivers such as the Loire or Mosel.
At the center of it all, of course, are some amazing people, and veteran journalist Heimoff (left) deftly brings to life folks such as the since departed Jess Jackson, the umpteenth generation of Seghesios, little-known growers and justly renowned winemakers Bob Cabral and Merry Edwards.
In the end, this book provides a sense of place infused with the sensibilites of the people crafting wines there.
Now that I know a little more about wine, I think it’s about time to take this “Journey” again.