Three Sticks Indoor Tasting with Bites

Winery of the Week: Three Sticks Wines at the Adobe

Ever wonder the perfect wine to pair with shrimp corn dogs? Believe it or not, at Three Sticks Wines in Sonoma, you will not only get the answer, but taste a cornucopia of outside-of-the-box flavors like that with exquisite wines.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s talk about the brand itself, starting with the name.

Three Sticks got its name from founder William S. Price III, better known by some as Bill Price and by his surfing buddies and good friends as “Billy Three Sticks.” As you may have guessed, the “three sticks” is in reference to the three Roman numerals that follow his name. Price started down the road to winery ownership by first becoming a fan and collector of wines from Durell Vineyard. When the opportunity arose in 1998 to purchase the winery property from Ed Durell himself, Price leapt at the chance to continue its legacy. After a few years of development, Price opened the winery as Three Sticks in 2002.

In 2004, a whopper of a win came in for the winery and Price when Don Van Staaveren, the winemaker believed by many to be responsible for putting Chateau St. Jean and Sonoma wines in the critical limelight throughout the 1990s, joined the team. (He helped create Chateau St. Jean’s 1996 Cinq Cépages, which was chosen by Wine Spectator as the “No. 1 Wine in the World” in 1999 to give an idea.)

The wines the team made from there were lights out sensational. The brand thrived. In an embarrassment of riches, in 2015, Bob Cabral, former winemaker for Williams Selyem, and Ryan Prichard, former assistant winemaker for Medlock Ames, joined the Three Sticks Team. By then, Staaveren was ready to move on to the role of Winemaker Emeritus. Cabral and Prichard – eventually titled director of winemaker and winemaker, respectively – then got to work dreaming up some of the grooviest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay productions in all of Sonoma, while Van Staaveren continued to focus on the Cabernets. In 2020, Prichard was even chosen as the Rising Wine Star Winemaker of the Year by LuxeSF and Modern Luxury, publishers of San Francisco and Silicon Valley magazines.

Want a taste? When in Sonoma Valley, visit the team at The Adobe, which opened in 2014. Located about 100 steps from the famed Historic Sonoma Plaza in the Sonoma Valley AVA, The Adobe was first built in 1842 by Salvador Vallejo, brother to General Mariano Vallejo (the founder of Sonoma). A true historic landmark, Three Sticks painstakingly and lovingly restored the home inside and out, transforming it into a tasting and VIP space of the highest degree.

There are three primary tastings available at the Adobe: Taste of Three Sticks ($65), which is a guided flight of estate chardonnays and pinot noirs; Food & Wine Pairing ($95), a partnership with El Dorado Kitchen nearby that pairs seasonal small bites (like a shrimp corn dog, paired with an exceptional chardonnay) with five of the owner’s favorite personal wines; and Mariposa Private Luncheon ($200), which is limited to Mariposa-level wine members and features a three-course meal led by El Dorado executive chef Armando Navarro and five wine favorites.

Personally, the Food & Wine Pairing is the perfect afternoon treat. In addition to the food and drink, you also get your own personal, personable wine educator, which makes the experience exponentially more fun.

For those who prefer to just get a bottle or two on your own, we can help you there as well:

2020 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Chardonnay
A dreamy bottle with most foods, expect a little Meyer lemon on the nose here before hints of peach, hazelnut and just the smallest hint of seashell (in a good way!).

2020 Price Family Estates Pinot Noir
This beauty uses grapes from each of Three Sticks’ six estate vineyards across the county. The result is a nuanced sipper that opens with blueberry, violet and black tea before allowing notes of cocoa and cardamom shine through toward the end. $72

2019 Cuvée Eva Marie Pinot Noir
Named for Price’s wife, this graceful expression features the top-tier grapes from the organically farmed Sonoma Mountain property, One Sky. Toasted French Oak barrels, the result is a perfect balance of earth, fruit and spice. $95

For more information on Three Sticks, visit threestickswines.com.

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