Bricoleur

Winery of the Week: Bricoleur Vineyards

Bricoleur Vineyards’ signature varietal is called “Flying by the Seat of Our Pants.” The Brut sparkling wine, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a clear nose of citrus blossom and bubbly effervescence, is aptly named given the Sonoma Valley family-owned winery opened its expansive tasting room in 2020, just in time for the pandemic.

The moniker is also a perfect fit given “Bricoleur” is a French term for someone who starts building, cobbling together something special bit by bit despite having no clear path or plan. You know, making magic while flying by the seat of his, her or their pants.

Now thriving despite its early pandemic-related pressures, Bricoleur Vineyards is the brainchild of Santa Rosa native Mark Hanson and wife, Beth, whose great grandfather Pietro Carlo Rossi was the original oenologist at Sonoma County’s historic Italian Swiss Colony in the 1800s. Though the Hansons lived and worked in the Bay Area while raising their family, they spent much of their free time in Sonoma and dreamt of building a vineyard one day. The dream came true when the family came across what used to be a horse retirement sanctuary in the Russian River Valley. A region rich in wildlife, including ample deer, wild turkeys, foxes, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, river otters, rabbits, geese and ducks, the Hansons purchased the land and got to work using sustainable winemaking and building practices to build an award-winning product as well as bucket list-worthy wine country destination (and yes, there are still ample animal sightings, too).

The epic estate, complete with its own idyllic pond, is all about pairings thanks to its in-house culinary team and a certain celebrity chef by the name of Charlie Palmer.

Palmer, a Michelin-star winner more than a dozen times over and multi-year James Beard Award honoree, helped define Sonoma’s farm-to-fork – he calls it farm-over-factory – cuisine that is today beloved worldwide. Foodies are likely familiar with his Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, Aureole in Las Vegas or one of his Charlie Palmer Steak locations across Napa, Las Vegas, New York, Reno or Washington, D.C. Not all know about his relationship with Bricoleur Vineyards, however. Through it, Palmer collaborated with the vineyard’s in-house team to launch Rooted in 2022. Rooted, which is available for $95 per guest and does require reservations, seeks to connect guests to the land through sumptuous food and wine pairings. The menu changes seasonally, but features six courses plus surprises, each developed by Palmer and the team with local ingredients in mind. There are both ingredients that will comfort, including beets, mushrooms and free-range chicken, as well as those that will take guests on an exotic epicurean adventure, such as shiso leaf tempura, spelt and yuzu-infused béarnaise, across each eye-popping menu. The ample meal also gives the winemaking team the chance to shine with a laundry list of must-taste varietals.

And that is just the tip of the culinary iceberg at Bricoleur Vineyards. In addition, guests may now enjoy a full menu of experiences in addition to a traditional tasting or Rooted, including:

  • The Essentials Picnic, which comes in a customized red wagon and features local and estate items from which to sip and savor ($95 per person) at the winery’s massive Pavilion, under a trellis near the pond or even inside should there be inclement weather.
  • Rosé in the Roses, which is offered on the property’s bocce ball courts ($130 per person) and includes use of a branded bocce set and private court, plated picnic and chilled magnum of rosé.
  • The Seasons, a monthly four-course wine dinner series ($200 per person) that gives guests a unique evening experience on property.
Bricoleur Vineyards pavilion

Beyond all of this, Bricoleur Vineyards just completed its Vineyard Residence on the property as well. The four-bedroom home ($2,000 per night, with discounts for Wine Club members) features and open kitchen, indoor-outdoor entertainment space, a massive deck, game room and media room.

Certainly, a visit in person is the way to go if a first-timer to the brand. But, if a trip is not in the cards just yet, or if in need of some great wines for the home collection, these will do the trick:

Bricoleur 2021 Rosé of Grenache: In addition to the signature Brut, this varietal also bares the “Flying By the Seat of Our Pants” label. Crisp and bright, it bursts with orange blossom, ruby red grapefruit and summer melon in every sip. $32

Bricoleur 2020 Sauvignon Blanc: The pineapple, pear and lemongrass shine here, and the surprise of honeysuckle in the finish is a showstopper. $32

Bricoleur 2020 Founder’s Block Pinot Noir: Given the vineyard is in Russian River Valley, home to some of the most elegant Pinot Noirs in the world, this is a must. The tart cherry and cranberry are prominent, but there is a silky element and even some minerality that balances it out really well. $50

For more information, please visit www.bricoleurvineyards.com.

Photo credit: Paige Green Photography

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