I’ve always appreciated quality, integrity, and a “sense of place” of the wines of Hartford Court. Almost all of their offerings come from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. They specialize on three varietals – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. Rightfully so, these grapes thrive in the fertile valleys and cool nights of this part of northern California.
Hartford Court wines can be a little confusing in the marketplace though. Their mainstay is really good quality appellation wide “Russian River” labels from the 3 varietals. But also, produce dozens of small bottlings of single vineyard, personality driven, quality Chardonnay, Pinot and old vine Zinfandel. They can be some of the best wines in California.
The winery is family-owned and founded in 1994 by Don and Jenny Hartford. The winery is beautiful and worth a visit in the quaint town of Forestville. It’s definitely off the beaten path, and feels like what a 1950 northern California farming village was like.
Four Hearts Chardonnay 2015 Russian River – The word that keeps coming to mind is “purity”. Layered, gorgeous, with complex fruit of pear, sweet oak, and honeysuckle. This vintage scored a “96” from tough wine critic Robert Parker. $40
Russian River Pinot Noir 2014
This is their entry level or “basic” pinot, it is hardly that. Slightly earthy & spicy, with flavors of raspberry and black cherry. What a great everyday pinot. $25
Fog Dance Pinot Noir 2014 Green Valley
Green Valley is a small appellation within the greater Russian River. Wonderful alluring pinot nuances of allspice, rose petal, and cinnamon. $45
Zinfandel “Old Vine” 2014 Russian River
People who tell me they don’t like zinfandel should try this wine. Very impressive effort. Layers and layers of jammy berried fruit. This zin was voted Wine Spectator’s Top Ten Wines in the World of 2016. $30