The Meeker Vineyard
Northside San Francisco Magazine
Best Place to Get Outta Town-Wine Country
By Jeannine Sano
Best Getaway Places
I first fell in love with Napa and Sonoma during college. Back then, it was about trying to squeeze in as many free tastes of wine that you could and then heading back to the dorm for Domino’s Pizza, and Mustard’s Grill was one of the few known white tablecloth restaurants. My tastes have evolved quite a bit since then, and so has the Wine Country scene. Napa and Sonoma have become a destination spot not only for their wine, but for their restaurants unequalled in quality and stature. Of course, Thomas Keller’s French Laundry is legendary, but there are now innumerable amazing dining spots to choose from, ranging from tacquerias to bistros to fine dining. The bed and breakfasts have gotten so sophisticated that spas in residence have become de riguer, and the simple muffins and coffee have transformed into gourmet feasts with sparkling wine. Napa Valley Cabernets were my first love amoung wines, and they say there is nothing quite like your first love. As my wine addiction continues to grow, I find there is always something more to love in Napa and Sonoma.
Best Fun Wineries
“If you think wine is stuffy and overpriced, you have never been to Meeker. It’s always a party in the tasting room, and their well-priced wines are approachable and tasty.”
Food & Wine
By James Knight
Even with Battlestar Rancheria looming above, the town of Geyserville retains a rural Western character. Tractors chug down 128, past the men’s haberdashery and hardware store. If the local deli sells artisan truffle oil, they must be keeping it behind the counter. Here in the historic Bank of Geyserville building, you’ll find The Meeker Vineyard tasting room. Given a flexible chronology, you could easily picture Black Bart hanging out here, casing stagecoaches. In fact, it looks like Meeker has only lately traded places with green-visored clerks. To buy your wine, step up to the original teller window. Behind that is their jumbled office, and the wine of course, is in the vault.
You might expect Meeker to be more slicked-out, what with its big-time Hollywood origins (co-owner Charlie Meeker is a former movie executive). But that’s clearly not the case. Almost seems like the work of zonked-out, hoary ex-hippies. It formerly operated out of a tipi on what is now Bella Vineyards. The quirky labels feature images of for instance, John Lennon as a walrus playing billiards with, um, zombie Elvis from the crypt? No, it’s hound-dog Elvis. But make no mistake from these quips and nudges, we love The Meeker Vineyard.
Here’s why: the tasting was free, efficient and wry. We found the 2003 Mendocino County Syrah ($28) very agreeable, vanilla cola and a bite of fresh cherries. Not much like other California Cabs, the 2002 Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon is light, with a hint of sweet sherry. Drier, bigger, more Cab-like, the 2004 Winemaker’s Handprint Merlot ($36) has chewy fruit and a couple of goopy handprints. The 2002 Barberian is a dry super-Tuscan style built with Barbera and Zin. There’s an inoffensive Chardonnay ($11), and the silky 2004 FroZin dessert wine ($24), which leads one’s nose into the depths of a pungent, dark wine cellar.
The real treat was actually one of the starters, a wine so gorgeous it’s hard to believe it’s that cheap and easy (it’s topped with a screw cap). To echo the tasting sheet the liquid energy of the 2003 “Rack n` Roll” Zinfandel ($14) swirls in the glass like revelers in a rock-concert crowd. On acid. Whether it’s phenolic acid or volatile phenols that wildly broadcast heady aromas of jammy fruit, I couldn’t tell you. Call a fermentation scientist. The point is, untamed by oxyphobic acid squares, these are the seductive vinous scents that flirt with misadventure while promising paradise, and give you that million-kilowatt smile. You can take that to the bank.