Dawn Williamson, gracious hostess and owner of Williamson Wines, welcomed A Woman’s Palate Sonoma County Boot Camp into Williamson Wines Home Ranch for an elegant evening of food, wine, and conversation. From the first moment, this bubbling dynamo greeted us with her “Fizz” sparkling white wine and salmon canapés with crème fraîche caviar and dill we knew we were in for an evening of all the good life offers in Sonoma County Wine Country.
Outside the converted 150 year old barn, Reece Channell, our food and wine guide for the evening and educational director for Williamson Wines, served oysters poached in a rich buttery sauce and provided mini-tours showing interior decorations featuring original barn-wood in a leather-sofa lounge as well as dinning room, wine library, and chef’s kitchen. This vineyard setting near the end of West Dry Creek Road created a perfect backdrop for the warm June evening food and wine pairing.
Williamson Wines, while nestled in a valley famous for old vine Zinfandel, highlights a newer direction taken by local vintners into estate grown Bordeaux and Rhone wines unique to the soil and climate of Dry Creek Valley. To develop their vision of producing limited quantities of premium quality, iconic California wine recognized for their flavor and consistency, the Williamson’s began as growers. To achieve the desired grapes, they developed a vineyard management methodology focused on low-yield, high quality fruit utilizing vine stress and sustainable farming practices. It was interesting to see what these Australian-born individuals, using French wine-making methods were doing with California grapes. During the evening, Dawn opened her wine library to an impressive array of her wines including Amourette Chardonnay, Passion Pinot Noir, Allure Meritage, Heritage Shiraz, Seduce Cabernet Sauvignon, Caress Cuvée Blanc, and Elate Grange Cuvee.
Each of these wines was artfully paired with a five-course menu by resident Chef Tommy Stribling and Sous Chef Cat Zanoline highlighted for me by a mushroom risotto paired with the Passion Pinot Noir.
In the Healdsburg square tasting room of Williamson Wines you can always find an example of their philosophy that wine should taste good and it should help food express itself. They provide regular pairings of the cheeses and condiments offered through their club membership.
Our Sous Chef Cat works with Dawn on tasting and selecting the special cheeses that can optionally accompany the quarterly wine club offerings. Each one is chosen to pair with the wines shipped.
In addition to the Cheese Club, they offer a quarterly Spice Club that features “Herbie’s Spices” of which my personal favorite is the truffle salt.
If you are looking for a unique experience, the Williamson’s offer a variety of adventures including helicopter tasting tours and monthly dinners for their visiting wine club members.
If you are interested in additional information about Williamson Wines see their website or stop by their tasting room.
134 Matheson Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448