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Joseph Swan Vineyards

Joseph Swan Vineyards We are a small family owned winery located in the heart of Sonoma County, California's famed Russian River Valley. Although we specialize in vineyard designated pinot noir and old vine Zinfandel, we also produce small lots of other wines including Rhone style wine, pinot gris and chardonnay. Tasting and sales are offered Saturdays and Sundays from 11-4:30 as well as on Memorial Day and Labor Day. We are closed the last two weekends in January.

Directions from highway 101: Take the River Road exit north of Santa Rosa and head west. From the first stoplight it is 5 miles to a hill. At the bottom of the hill take a left (the first cross road since the stop light). Bear left and then left again. The winery will be about 250 yards ahead on your right. From Highway 116: Head East to Vine Hill Road. Make a left on Vine Hill. At the stop turn left onto Laguna. A short distance ahead there will be a two story red barn on your right. A short distance past the barn make a sharp right onto Trenton. The winery is about 250 yards ahead on your right.

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Address Web Social
2916 Laguna Road, Forestville, CA, US, 95436 Email:
Phone: 707-573-3747 Web:
Fax: 707-575-1605
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  Cabernet Sauvignon - Steiner Vineyard
The ’97 from this vineyard earned The Wine Spectator wine of the week on their web site. Unfortunately it was almost sold out by then, but those who have followed this vineyard over the years had their’s in their cellars. While ’98 was not considered a good year for cabernet, some vineyards fared quite well. Steiner was one of them. Deep ruby color with purple hues. Fairly intense nose of cassis, sweet herbs, tobacco and chocolate. The flavors echo the nose with a slight impression of sweet fruit, ripe supple tannins, good but balanced acidity and nice length. Quite full and rich, it is not a blockbuster but shows impeccable balance and should age nicely for some years. A worthy follow-up to the ’97. 123 cases produced
  Chardonnay - Trenton Estate
The alcohol is reasonable (13.5%), the acidity balanced, and the dominate fruit character is joined by the slightest hint of the Burgundy barrels in which it was fermented. Despite sur lies aging and a complete malo-lactic fermentation, the first and primary impression is of fruit--not over-ripe fruit but balanced, complex, cool climate fruits, along with Meyer lemon and maybe even a touch of lemon chiffon pie, with a good dose of minerals. In the mouth it is fairly full but restrained enough to make it an ideal compliment to food, which is usually quite an accomplishment for chardonnay.
Year in and year out this vineyard produces one of the most interesting wines that we make. An intriguing liquid black pepper aroma over ripe plums leads to complex flavors in the mouth, a hint of sweetness from the ripe fruit, soft tannins and a moderately long finish. While the wine seems to age quite nicely, it drinks so well young that there is little incentive to age it. For those who don’t know or have forgotten, mourvedre is a very important grape in the south of France, particularly in Provence. Not coinciditally it goes very well with Provencal cuisine. 49 cases bottled.
  Pinot Gris - Saralee’s Vineyard
THE WINE: The fruit flavors in Saralee’s pinot gris grapes are wonderful, with ripe tropical fruit intermingled with hints of hibiscus and other aromatic flowers. The wine reflects this as well. The 2000 vintage resulted in much of our fruit having high sugar levels when it reached maturity, and this wine is no exception. The resultant alcohol is 14%. I wish it were lower but I wanted to capture the wonderful fruit character that this vineyard is capable of. It should continue to round out and develop for at least another year. 144 cases bottled.
  Pinot Noir - Cuvée de Trois
This year’s C3 is a bit less opulent and more structured than the ’99. The nose is quite complex, exhibiting cranberry, cherry, and wild strawberry with hints of wood spice and forest floor. In the mouth it is quite fruity, with the flavors echoing the aromas. Crisp acidity and a bit of tannin provide excellent structure. Many restaurateurs told us that last year’s was by far and away the best value in pinot noir for the year. We feel that this wine will be equally well received. 552 cases produced.
  Pinot Noir - Steiner Vineyard
The color is lighter than usual for Steiner but color has never been my number one measure of the quality of pinot (nor my number two, nor number three….). In any event the color is deceptive because it is loaded with flavor. Aromas of Queen Anne cherries, cardamom, wild mushroom and raspberries with a slight hint of menthol. In the mouth it exhibits flavors of fresh fruit compote, is lush and full and soft, with little tannin. Although the Steiner pinot noirs tend to do quite well with moderate bottle age, I have a feeling that this one will all be drunk before its time. 242 cases bottled.
  Pinot Noir - Trenton Estate
Ruby red color, slight haziness (it was neither fined nor filtered). Raspberry, nutmeg, dried rose petal, and cherry aromas. In the mouth the flavors follow the nose with a hint of orange peel, wood spice, and sweet berries. Rich and full in the mouth with a long finish and soft, supple tannins. Much more forward than the 1998. Total production 143 cases.
  Saralee's Vineyard Pinot Noir
Floral and red fruit, ranging from wild strawberry, raspberry and cherry aromas with hints of forest floor. In the mouth it is quite rich, almost sweet, with good balancing acidity. Medium bodied with excellent flavor persistence. Drinking beautifully now it should show further development over the next couple of years and continue to drink well for at least the next 7-8. A total of 780 cases were bottled in August of 2003.
  Sonoma County Zinfandel, Sonoma County
  Zinfandel - Mancini Ranch
I thought it would be very difficult to follow up the 1998 Mancini, a wine that definitely wasn’t for wimps. (Doesn’t another winery market their wines that way? Or was it “no wimpy wines”?). While this wine isn’t the least bit wimpy, the vineyard has learned a few manners. The crop size was similar to that in 1998 but since the spring weather was much more cooperative, we didn’t have to do as much thinning to remove un-ripe fruit. Black purple color. Nose of black currants, black raspberry, pepper and flowers. In the mouth it is quite expansive with flavors of a potpourri of black berries. Quite youthful, it is definitely showing
  Zinfandel - Mancini Ranch
  Zinfandel - Stellwagen Vineyard
Although all of our zinfandel vineyards produce different expressions of the varietal, the Stellwagen, coming as it does from the slightly warmer Sonoma Valley, is the most unusual. Over the years we have developed quite a following for this vineyard that produces the “pinot noir” of zinfandels. Usual descriptors run to deep red fruit and white pepper in contrast to the Russian River Valley’s more black berry/black pepper. The 1998 while having the Stellwagen “signature”, shows more dark character and structure than usual. A recent review by Robert Parker referred to, among other things, “kinky, leather notes”! I have never smelled kinky leather, but to be fair he reviewed the wines after only about 3 weeks in bottle. Dan Berger in his Vintage Wine Experience said, “Exceptional. Fairly concentrated aroma of blackberry and spices like basil and thyme, with hints of black pepper and raspberry in the aftertaste. A weighty wine with more than 14% alcohol, but perfectly structured”. It sounds like one heck of a wine—and it is! 356 cases bottled.
  Zinfandel - Stellwagen Vineyard
This ancient vineyard consistently produces one of, it not the, most complex zins of the vintage. The nose is reminiscent of berry compote with a hint of mint or perhaps wintergreen. It also comes through in the mouth. There aren’t any Eucalyptus trees bordering the vineyard so the source of the mint is a mystery. The fruit is bright with no hint of its 15.3% alcohol. I usually refer to the Stellwagen as the “pinot noir” of zinfandels. This year it seems to have a bit of Tuscany as well. The tannins kick in on the finish when you notice that your mouth is suddenly coated with them. Should develop for several years. A complex and compelling wine. 363 cases bottled.
  Zinfandel Lone Redwood Ranch
Medium deep ruby. Nose of crushed, ripe blackberries. More pure and less over-the-top than the ’97. In the mouth similar flavors of predominately ripe berries. Moderately sweet ripe tannins, good acidity, good concentration, long finish. A classic zinfandel.
  Zinfandel Zeigler Vineyards
Another small crop in 1999 resulted in unusual ripeness and concentration for this vineyard. Its usual bright blackberry fruit with black pepper overtones is replaced by deep black plum, roast beef, spice and mocha with only a hint of black pepper. In the mouth it is a quite rich, its alcohol balanced by excellent acidity. The tannins are ripe, round, and mouth coating. The finish is very, very long. It is a very alluring wine. Unfortunately we only bottled 129 cases.


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