it's been a little too long since i've cruised this favorite old strip, so when some novice winos asked, i happily guided. the weather was magnificent, and with the exception of some kind of bike ride event and the usual press at fc, traffic and crowds were comfortable, even on a saturday.
j swan is tucked a bit up in the hills south of river road, a few miles northwest of santa rosa. an old favorite of some hounds, it's a good starting point cuz it brings folks down to the bare basics of winemaking. basically, a friendly wine geek pours you the stuff he made in the garage where he made it. he talks about it too. at length. a true amateur, a craftsman, gripped long ago by the love of his craft.
watch out for security though. while he could barely be bothered to lift his head high enough off the ground to drop his lower jaw and let roll a yawnish bark at my arrival, he took a fierce disliking to someone in my party. good thing he only measured about halfway up her calf.
er, i'm reluctant to say much about the wine, cuz i think it was generally not in alignment with the expectations i had associated with the place. i attribute that at least in part to a certain distance across which my tastes have yet to evolve. while i may never reach the peaks beyond, they are in view, giving my hedonistic meandering some sense of direction.
anyway, the chard was nice, crisp, very lightly oaked. the 2 pinots were interesting, but i preferred the one that the chap thought less of. there was also a 100% bottling of one of the rhone blending varietals (sorry, can't remember), which i thought was unbalanced towards acid. but another in my party thought it very fine, and bought a bottle. the zin was good, not overblown, but the rustic setting was kicking my allergies into full throttle, and we had to press on.
next stop, across the old bridge over the russian river to westside rd.