When traveling to a new wine region, you can quickly cut to the top of the line just by asking around for the locally famous winemakers. In a town like Murphys, winemakers like Rich Gilpin are known by name. He is the man behind the magic of several wineries known for their quality wines. He also mentors other winemakers and consults for several other wineries. One of his secrets is staying up on the latest and greatest equipment to squeeze the most succulent flavor out of his grapes.
Lavender Ridge is where you can taste his craft for Rhone varietals like Grenache, Viognier, and Roussanne, the answer to anything-but-Chardonnay. His Roussanne has that lovely rich lemon curd and crème brulee thickness you can only get from time spent in one of those cool concrete eggs. This is a white with the hearty tannins of a red. Their Viognier has a slight hint of that floral fragrance that is typical of this grape yet it is balanced by flavors of apricot and slightly green banana. The bright red Grenache smells like a sweet bucket of cherries yet is balanced by many layers and flavors like tart red plum, earthy mushrooms, and herbs de provence. Simply magical!