The wine is robust, with tiny bubbles and a long elegant finish. It is virtually dry, with a very small dosage, but rich in texture providing a very sensual mouth feel. The blend of grapes for this unusual wine is Chardonnay, Mauzac, and Chenin Blanc in proportion to the yields of the harvest each year and the individual propensities of the wine. We only choose the very best of the wines each year for our Amplexus. It is our Tête de Cuvée! Go ahead, let it go to your head. You will be amused.
Toad Hollow Winery
Toad Hollow Vineyards began operation in 1994, with 3000 cases of 1993 Russian River Valley Chardonnay. Our Chardonnay is 100% Stainless Steel fermented, using no oak at all. Since then we have added additional wines, a Russian River Merlot (Richard McDowell Vineyard), a Russian River Pinot Noir (Goldies Vines) a Zinfandel from Paso Robles and a Rose of Pinot Noir from Carneros. In 1995 we started to import wines made by our French friends at Sieur D'Arques and now have two sparklings and three still wines in our portfolio. Our mission is to produce quality wines that are interesting at a reasonable price. Our labels are whimsical, supporting another element of our philosophy - we believe drinking wine should be FUN!
Toad Hollow is a collaboration of two old friends who, more or less, retired to an existence of peace and quiet in the Hollow, after a life of whirlwind world travel. Neither of these two gentlemen believed in self-denial, and over the years had probably wined and dined at every major eatery and watering hole in the universe. They began to discuss the fun times they had experienced over many years, remembering all the wonderful people they had met. During their conversation they decided they wanted to find a way to repay the warmth and friendship shown them along the way.
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about half as much wine as its northeasterly neighbor. Because of its vast size, however, Sonoma is able to achieve far more diversity within its borders, which include sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid-back and down-to-earth, but the wines are serious and well-made, ranging in style from subtle and elegant to rich and powerful. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.