A Winter Visit to Al King Wines 2018

We had purchased 2 cases of 2011 and 2012 Al King Zinfandel and we’re planning a trip up north. So we rented our favorite campervan and headed up to Al & Penny’s to pick up the wine, visit with them, and see the new cave Al just built. It was the first stop on our winter camping trip.

“Fine China”, the name of our Escape Campervan for the Winter 2019 camping trip
The path from Cloverdale to Al King Mountain is a bit twisty but beautiful.
First glimpses of the Al King vineyards.

Glamping at Al and Penny’s

While we were planning on some serious back to nature camping, sleeping in the van in Al land Penny’s driveway with the girls tucked in their own cozy bed in their house and getting fed a delicious dinner and breakfast was hardly roughing it.

We arrived just as the sun was setting and had a walk on the property. The fires last year took out several fields of vines, which was devastating. But Al and crew had replanted. And the fields were on their way again. Vineyards were on most of the hilltops we could see, with the mountains further in the backdrop. It is truly a beautiful spot in the world.

Sheep wandering the fields and very suspicious of us.

The new wine cave

From the vineyards, we walked down to the new cave that Al built. It is amazing – huge and well constructed. It really shows the scale of Al and Penny’s winemaking efforts and Al’s building skill. They do the crush at this facility now – which involves using a very small machine that is hand cranked to produce small batches. Many small batches. It is old fashioned which means the wines are truly hand crafted.

Al with Knuckles navigating
The new Al King wine cave – super impressive

Plan a visit to Al King Wines

I would encourage any of you who are in the neighborhood or looking for a weekend trip to stop by and visit. They are amazing hosts and will pour you some of their best. It is a special inside glimpse into the farming and winemaking efforts of some of the hardworking, very capable, big dreamers of northern California.

Wonderful Wine Dinner with Al & Penny

Al King Wine and Dinner

We had such a delicious and fun filled dinner in Piedmont, CA. Lots of good friends came to taste Al King Wines as well as sit down to enjoy a 4 course dinner. Penny and Ilene created each course to match Al King’s wines – starting with a Grenache, 2 Zinfandels, and finally the Cabernet. We discussed the challenges of natural farming, wine production, and the perseverance needed to make it all come together in each delicious and hearty bottle.

The menu was:

Appetizers — bruschetta, empanadas, cucumber/cream cheese/salmon bites

First course — 2012 Grenache (a French version, not like Garnacha of Spain)  served with a grilled peach salad with mozzarella and fresh greens from Penny’s garden. The Grenache is blended with Syrah and Mouvedre like a Southern Rhone. It’s Al King’s lightest wine and goes perfectly with salad.

Second course — 2011, 2012 and 2013 Zinfandels  accompanied with baked Italian penne with pork sausage. The Zins are all holding up well and were especially tasty paired with a tomato based pasta. Penny recently returned from a trip to Croatia, so she had stories to share about that vine’s homeland.

Third course — 2012 Al King Cabernet Sauvignon that was delicious and perfect served with grilled tri tip steak (thank you Eric!), mashed potatoes and green beans.

Post dinner break — Granita

Dessert — Raspberry Almond Tart with berries and fresh whipped cream. With dessert, we all explored our favorite, open bottle on the table.

Thanks to all who came. If you are interested in attending or even hosting one of these dinners in the future or ordering any of the wines that were served, please get in touch via email or give us a call at 707-888-3014.

Until the next time,
Al and Penny King