A Cabernet Queen

Tara Bella Winery
Santa Rosa, California

Tara Bella Winery is at the top of the list of places to visit for Cabernet Sauvignon lovers touring Sonoma County's Russian River Valley. This little winery, with a total of eight acres, produces some of Sonoma's finest Cabernet Sauvignon. The proof is in the medals. They have won 13 Gold Medals in their first nine years of production. Visitors to Tara Bella receive a warm welcome from the employees--who are also the owners and winemakers--Tara and Rich Minnick.

Rich brings his 25 years of viticulture experience to nurture their vineyard. Tara brings her expertise to the cellar in determining when the grapes are to be picked. There is no blending here. Every bottle is 100 percent Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon. Each bottle is hand numbered and hand waxed, demonstrating that Tara Bella wines are true labors of love.

Rich and Tara's most recent release is their 2006 Sonoma Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It was released in November 2008 in a total quantity of 425 cases. Savvy connoisseurs join the winery's exclusive wine club early, knowing that 95 percent of total production of Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is sold through the wine club and they sell out every year. Members may choose to receive six or twelve bottles once a year.

A CNN feature on Tara Bella Winery can be viewed on the winery's website, giving a feeling for the warmth and dedication Rich and Tara Minnick bring to winemaking.

What to Buy:
'06; Estate Reserve Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon Deep color. Rich, ripe bouquet of cherry, blackberry, black raspberry, and spice repeated on the palate with a velvet finish. Total production: 425 cases. Retail price: $65; Club price: $53

Contact:
877.698.9463
www.tarabellawinery.com
3701 Viking Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Getting There:
Private tastings and tours can be arranged by contacting the winery by phone or email.

This story originally appeared on Touring and Tasting