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Just Over the Hill in Wine Country; Raymond Burr Vineyards and Winery

Raymond Burr Vineyards
Raymond Burr Vineyards
Linda Foxworth

“...probably one of the most important things in a vineyard are the footprints of the grower between the rows...' -Raymond Burr

Raymond Burr Vineyards began in 1976, when Robert Benevides, Raymond Burr's life-long friend and business partner purchased farmland in the Dry Creek region of Sonoma. Originally intending to name the vineyard 'A Quinta Dos Dois Amigos' which translates to 'The Farm of Two Friends' in Portuguese, Raymond Burr only lived a few years after the first harvest. As a tribute to his friend, Robert Benevides named the vineyard Raymond Burr Vineyards.

The vineyard is located off the beaten path, on a back road several miles south of Healdsburg. The tasting room is modest and unassuming. The vineyards are tucked between stands of trees and neighboring farms. Met with a large Portuguese flag on the front porch, the visitor is none too subtly let in on the winery's claim to fame. Raymond Burr Vineyards is one of the few in Sonoma that grows the traditional port grapes, Tinta Cao, Tinta Madeira, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional.

Under the direction of wine maker, Phyllis Zouzounis, and made with traditional port grapes the estate Port is aged in French oak and fortified with Cognac. With flavors of raisins and carmel smoothly wrapped together in a rich finish, this Port is not inexpensive, but it is a lovely example of how well Portuguese grapes can do in the Dry Creek climate.

Raymond Burr Vineyards and Winery also makes the more traditional Dry Creek wines such as a soft, citrus Chardonnay that is aged in American oak. The Cabernet Franc has aromas of coffee, crisp black cherries and violets with just a hint of cinnamon. The Cabernet Sauvignon is quite meaty with aromas of dark berries, oak and chocolate.

The tasting room is open from 11am to 5pm Thursday through Monday. They are located at 8339 West Dry Creek Road, in Healdsburg.

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