Nathanial Garrod

Downtown Healdsburg: Portalupi Wine

After visiting Selby Winery on Black Friday, my friends and I decided to make another stop, from the recommendation of my pal Tyler, the Tasting Room Manager at Selby.

This stop was at Portalupi Winery, a couple blocks just off the downtown Healdsburg Plaza.

The tasting room is elegant and simple, with exposed wood panels on the east and west walls. The wine rack behind the tasting counter is made out of repurposed pallets. The reusing of pallets is incredibly popular in Europe, and gaining ground here in the states. Comfortable purple couches and a beautoful white Christmas tree greet visitors upon their entry – I am certain that on late spring and mid-summer days, this tasting room is filled with wine country tourists. The walls are covered with giant framed prints of the leaves from a number of grape varietals. There was even a TV set-up with an AppleTV slideshow of photos from their vineyards and wine-making process.


They feature a 3-wine and a 6-wine tasting option – of course I opted for the six wine option. The man pouring for us, Tim, was very kind and mostly quiet for the majority of our tasting.

The Portalupi Wine Catalog is largely reds which is great, because I felt less guilt for skipping over the whites. Noteable tastes I had were the Charbono, a great red with heavy overtones. The Charbono would be good for your next pasta dinner or a solid bottle to drink for #winewednesday. The Old Vine Zinfandel is a fun, fruity foray into delight – a strong contender for your next time at the grill. But the highlight here, the wine that was incredible outstanding was the Vaso di Marina.

IMG_1067The Vaso di Marina is like a unicorn, it is the thing you have been looking for and desiring for so long you cannot actually believe you found it. This wine comes in two sizes, small milk jug and large milk jug. The large size is 1.89 liters – specifically, not 1.9 because of alcohol regulations. And yes, they are both sold in milk jugs. It is a wonderous thing. The Vaso di Marina is a table wine, the sort of wine you would be totally okay having a few glasses of on a weeknight, versatile enough to be paired with almost anything, independent enough to be fine alone. The Vaso di Marina is a workhorse, powerful but well-trained. Yes, I bought the large milk jug.

It turned out Tim was the owner, an Italian man who believed strongly in provincial-style wines. Toward the end of our tasting, he talked us through his story and experiences, told us about his different styles of wine, his experiences smoking ribs and how he grew his business. He shared a bit about having the first Fiat in California – custom made and imported from Italy. A slide with his son flipped through the slideshow and he beamed with pride. A slide with his wife earned adoration and a very loving hand-wave combined with “whatever,” and a continuance of the story of his car.

Portalupi Wines was a solid choice and I am so glad we visited thee tasting room! Tim was absolutely the kindest, and the Vaso di Marina is just absolutely wonderful. Combined with a beautiful tasting room in a beautiful location, and this is a great place to go on your next wine tasting trip in Northern Sonoma County.

Outside the tasting room, there's an electric scooter!

Outside the tasting room, there’s an electric scooter!

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