If you’re a winelover with a few hours to burn, Healdsburg is heaven. I found myself in this exact position a few weeks ago, after spending the morning touring and tasting I had a few hours before dinner at nearby MacMurray Ranch. The day had worn me down, but there was no way I was going to waste the afternoon napping. Healdsburg is such a walkable, friendly and downright charming town, I just had to get out.
There are no shortage of tasting rooms, wine bars, restaurants, shops – you could easily (and happily) drop plenty of money in a few hours. But considering the quality of the local Sonoma wines, it should be money well spent.
I stopped into Banshee’s tasting room because I’d heard good things about their wines and they comfy-looking tasting room was quiet and calm – a good place for me to sip some wines and contemplate things. I took the basic tasting of five wines, and my notes are posted below.
2014 Banshee Chardonnay - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Aromas of rich yellow apples, glazed pears but also some brightness and chalky notes. Plump but stays fresh, with juicy nectarine, yellow pears. Bold hazelnut, almond, honeycomb and buttercream flavors but a vibrant sense of chalk and minerals as well. I think this would appeal to all kinds of Chards lovers, and it’s a solid deal for $25 a bottle. Aged 11 months in 40% new French oak. (87 points)
2013 Banshee Pinot Noir - California, Sonoma County
Juicy red cherries, wild strawberries and raspberries on the nose along with some rose, leather and bay leaf notes. Bright and zesty approach on the palate but full of juicy raspberries and red apples. A lighter style, smooth but not weak. Notes of subtle spice, leather, wet leaves and cola. A great buy at $28 a bottle. (88 points)
2014 Banshee Pinot Noir El Pino - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
A funky kick on the nose, and some rhubarb accents the dark cherries and plums. Fuller-bodied, medium acid, a chewy texture. Deep plum fruit, black cherries, a good amount of tobacco, mushroom and smoky elements with a long, warm finish. (89 points)
2013 Banshee Mordecai - California
Nose of jammy blackberries, black cherries, rich caramel and blueberry pancake topping. Quite chewy, lower acid, full of jammy blackberries and blueberries, and I get notes of cola, mocha, cedar and vanilla bean. Forward and fun but enough structure to be interesting. A wide-ranging blend of 27% Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa, Sonoma), 24% Syrah (Sonoma), 24% Zinfandel (Dry Creek, Russian River), 5% Cabernet Franc (Sonoma), 5% Grenache (Sonoma), 5% Petite Sirah (Dry Creek), 4% Petit Verdot (Napa), 3% Merlot (Alexander Valley), and 3% Barbera (Sonoma). (86 points)
2013 Banshee Cabernet Sauvignon - California, Napa Valley
Dark and concentrated aromas: blackberry, dark plums, roasted figs, loam, cedar, sweet vanilla. Quite tight but shows hints of underlying silkiness. Tart but rich black currants mixed with charred cedar, mocha and scorched earth notes. Nice stuff, but time needed to let it settle. $40 isn't cheap, but for a Napa Cabernet, it delivers a lot for this price point. (88 points)